Bangalore restaurant reviews Celebrating with Food

Onam Sadya at Rangashankara

Monday, August 23, 2010Me! In words

I am a Roman Catholic married to Konkani Brahmin, who was born and brought up in Kerala. We have three distinct cultures in the family and as far as possible we make it a point to observe all of the festivals that come our way, especially for Anoushka's sake. And so it just had to be that we made it to an Onam Sadya or the feast for Onam celebrations. A number of places were having it this year and we zeroed in on the Rangashankara Cafe with Anju Sudarshan at helm. And boy! we were not disappointed at all. 

The place was done up nicely with the traditional Pookalam at the entrance and the customary banana leaf offering. Anju's father hails from Kerala and made it a point that the family got together for the Onam Sadya. Anju began the tradition at the Rangashankara Cafe for friends and family to begin with. Over the years it has turned into a meeting ground for people who share the same culture or appreciate it.

Pookalam at the entrance of the cafe

The tables were laid, the people seated and all of us were just waiting for the "buffet is open" announcement to be made. Banana leaf lined plates in hand, the first table had an assortment of accompaniments. There was Puli-inji, a chutney of tamarind and ginger, Chakkavaruthathu (jackfruit chips), Chakkaraperati (jaggery coated banana chips), Thenga Chutney (Coconut chutney), Chukkuvellam (dry ginger water), Mango pickle, and papad. There was also Avil a sweet concoction of banana, jaggery, beaten rice and coconut shavings. For the end of the meal, bananas were laid out as were betel leaves and arecanut. 

The chutneys and other accompaniments in the pictures above and below

For the main courses there was a choice of raw rice as well as the traditional red boiled rice. This was to be had with Parippu, a smooth mash of cooked moong dal. It had the consistency of thick payasam. There was a vegetable sambhar where each ladle full came with an unbelievable number of vegetables. What's more, each time, the buffet tray was refilled, the density of the vegetables remained the same. No scrimping and scrounging here. There was also Olan - a pumpkin and coconut gravy that was delish....

Rice and Sambhar in this photo above
Beans and cabbage below
Avial, Coconut chutneys and Olan below

There was also spicy string beans and the unbeatable avial, shredded cabbage tempered with mustard and to round it all of pepper rasam. You could choose to have it in a glass or with a final round of rice. There was also spiced buttermilk served straight from a matka

One heavily loaded plate

There were two payasams. No point in trying to choose between them. One was the Ada Pradhaman and the other Parippu Pradhman. One made of jaggery, rice and coconut milk and the other a rice payasam. One thing to be said about the food was that it was like eating a truly home cooked meal. There was no holding back on the ingredients and I guess that is what made the meal a super success. The lines waiting to be fed only stand testimony to the fact that Anju's work each year gets a whole load of appreciation. And for Rs 160 a head, this Onam Sadya was a steal. Next Onam, I know where we are headed. 

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