Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Coastal Mama Bengaluru - Haven for Mangalorean Seafood Delicacies





When someone having born and brought up with all the comforts in life decides to start an enterprise where he has to sacrifice most of his sleep and worldly pleasures, it is normal for his parents to discourage him and divert him to follow their footsteps. Quite contrary to such stereotype families, we have one in Bangalore where the parents not only encouraged their son to follow his passion and open a seafood restaurant, but they also are supportive by means of helping him out during their free time, taking care of customers and formulating traditional Konkani GSB recipes for his recently opened restaurant on 100 Feet Road in JP Nagar 5th Phase called ‘Coastal Mama’.

This is not a story from any Hindi movie or TV serial. This is a true story. The enterprising youngster is Sanjay P Mallya and his parents are Prabhakar Mallya and Jyoti Mallya, owners of Mallya Enterprises, a Plastic Injection Moulding factory that has successfully completed over 4 decades in MM Industrial Area, KR Road, Bengaluru.

Sanjay, a science graduate in his early Forties, was partner in his father’s firm, looking after the operations along with his elder brother Sunil. Then one day, he sensed the need of Mangaloreans settled in South Bengaluru, and he had a deep urge to start a coastal seafood restaurant serving mainly Konkani GSB style specialties. He discussed the matter with his parents, both foodies and expert cooks themselves. Prabhakar Mallya’s favourite hobby is cooking, himself being a pure vegetarian is a perfectionist in vegetarian cooking, while he also prepares nonveg and seafood for his family occasionally and that’s by any standard marvelous, as certified by his family members!

As I am given to understand, Mr Mallya’s family owns an age old GSB style pure vegetarian restaurant in Fort Mumbai started by his father by name ‘Gopalashram’, and he has the experience of looking after that business during his hey days. Sanjay’s mother Jyoti Mallya is an expert in making Mangalorean nonveg and GSB style seafood preparations, ‘Fish Phannaupkari’ being one of her prized recipes which Coastal Mama has adapted. Perhaps Coastal Mama is dedicated to his expert mama Jyoti Mallya by Sanjay!

Though the Mallyas are closely related to my childhood friends Dr Vishwanath, Taranath and Premnath Shenoy, I never had a chance to meet them personally and look into their activities in Bengaluru. Meena was more close to them because she met them always at Premnath and Uma’s home when they visited Mangaluru. I had shared the pictures and contact address of Coastal Mama on Garam Tawa Facebook page as soon as they opened the restaurant in July last year, but I never had a chance to visit there personally. I had also highlighted the excellent ‘Avare Kaalu Hurigaalu’ made by Prabhakar Mallya, which I had a chance to taste every year during the season. Three months ago Prabhakar Mallya saw my activities on Facebook and he befriended me. There started exchange of thoughts on food and living. Mr Mallya heartily invited me to visit Coastal Mama and his home in Bengaluru and I too had an urge to visit there and check out what all they serve and taste that too.

The urge to taste Coastal mama food was increasing inside me, as some of my friends in Bengaluru kept on talking about it! I was fairly free during the third week of January and I also had plans to visit my cousin Premakar in Bengaluru after a gap of 2 years. So I planned my trip and landed in Bengaluru on January 16, which was a Saturday. On Sunday the 17th I was invited for lunch at Coastal Mama along with my nephew Darshan Pai by Prabhakar Mallya on behalf of his son Sanjay. Mr Mallya also said “A common friend of ours is also coming, and that’s a surprise for you!” The surprise was indeed pleasant one when I actually reached Coastal Mama that afternoon with Darshan, and our friend Dr KP Mallya a physician at Sairam Hospital, arrived with a broad smile on his face!
Prabhakar Mallya with his friends
Coastal Mama is a cozy setup on 2nd floor roof garden of a building in JP Nagar 5th Phase on 100 feet Road. Café Coffee Day Lounge exists in the ground floor of the same building. Starbucks has an outlet nearby. Karnataka ex-minister PGR Sindhya’s house is right opposite to Coastal mama across the road. There is ample parking on side roads and walking up the two flights of stairs leads you to a different ambiance that reminds one of the seas, probably because the flooring has sea waves designed on it and a boat stands in a corner, which attracts kids and their parents equally. Goan style wooden seats with cushioning are comfortable to seat 48 people for hours, and cool music is played on a good sound system. Minute detail is given careful attention, such as water flowing through a real conch shell in the wash room! Ever alert Manager Dinesh and his assistants attend to the guests guests with humility. Sanjay personally looks into it, that their orders have been followed up. On weekends, Sanjay’s parents stay and they keep rapport with the customers.

On a weekend and Sunday, the usual crowd is mostly Mangalorean but many locals also come for relishing coastal seafood here. Spacious kitchen is bustling with activities under the lead of able Chef Madhav, who has many years of experience in preparing multi cuisine restaurants and clubs. His specialty is Kundapur style seafood and chicken preparations because he hails from Kundapur. Other assistants are adept at making the spongy idlis called ‘Sannas’, string hoppers or ‘Sevian’, ‘Aapam’ and desserts.

Prabhakar Mallya
Jyoti Mallya
Dr KP Mallya
Darshan Pai
Dinesh - Manager of Coastal Mama
A quick glance through the regular and the special menu revealed an exotic array of seafood specialties highlighted. Of course the ever popular items like Biryani and Kebab are also found here. Highlighted are Seafood Soup, Masala Fried, Rava Fried, Tawa Fried and Ghee Roast for lovers of Mangalorean Bunt style seafood, Kori Rotti, Pulimunchi, Kundapur Chicken and Chicken Ghee Roast among coastal chicken delicacies, Fish Phannaupkari, Prawn Hinga Udak, Aalle Piyavu Ghashi, Batate Humman, Batate Song, Upkari, Dalithoi, Ghashi, Aambat and Koddel among GSB specialties and many more. People come from far away places in search of fresh seafood preparations at reasonable prices. I saw brisk business with many takeaway orders that are delivered to door within a radius of 6 Kms without delivery charge since the day Sanjay opened the restaurant on July 12, 2015, but he says, they charge for packing and may also charge nominal fee soon for home delivery, as they have to depend on outsourcing agencies for delivery and the agencies keep hiking their rates. One can also place order for food online through Swiggy and Zomato.

We occupied a table near the cash counter and the Mallyas ordered choicest delicacies for us. Prabhakar Mallya is a good host, and he said, “Kudpi Raj, try our Kokum Kadi. It is perhaps the best in this part of the world!” I had no doubt about that, as I took one sip of the drink consisting of kokum extract enriched with coconut milk and mildly spiced with garlic, chillies, and some other ingredients. It was too delicious for words!

Next on the table was seafood soup, as recommended by Sanjay. It was full of shrimp and crab meat, sweetish with little tang and full of flavours. Full marks go to that.
Kokum Kadi
Baby Corn Crispy Rava Fried
Anjal Fish Masala Fried
Squid Rings Crispy Rava Fried
Kaane Fish Tawa Fried
Chicken Ghee Roast
Neeru Dosa
“Let the starters come one by one….” announced Mr Mallya. So there were starters like Baby Corn Crispy Fried, Crispy Squid Rings(Rava Fried), Dr. Mallya’s choice Kaane Fish Tawa Fried, Anjal Masala fried and of course the inimitable Chicken Ghee Roast which went well with silky smooth Neeru Dosa! While the former three dishes were just right, I felt that masala fried and ghee roast were spicier than what we get in Mangaluru. Sanjay says his customers prefer seafood and chicken dishes very spicy and hence they upgraded pungency of the masala two steps higher than normal. He added that if the customers prefer it medium hot or mildly spiced, they make it accordingly. I could very well see people relishing the spicy dishes without feeling hot. Perhaps the cool Bengaluru weather can accommodate that extra spice!


For main course, Aapam with Prawn Hinga Udak, Sevian with Potato Humman, and Kori Rotti were served. Hinga Udak/Humman is a spicy tangy GSB style curry with added hing and fresh coconut oil for that divine aroma. GSB curries are simple with any one kind of seasoning in them. Basic masala is coconut tamarind and red chilli based one. Prabhakar Mallya explained me how simple our GSB curries are, but how difficult it is to get the right flavour if we overlook some finer points.

Quite impressive, I thought. No wonder Coastal Mama has very good chefs and helpers in the kitchen. The Mallyas motivate them to cook according to the demands of Mangaloreans settled in Bengaluru. Chef Madhav personally came to our table to ask if the dishes were made according to Mangalorean standards. I approved his cooking expertise.

Jyoti Mallya has her own experience to share. She said Fish Phannaupkari and Prawn Hinga Udak/Humman made by Coastal Mama are her signature dishes. She used to make the masala paste for the curries initially but now the chefs manage to make it as per the recipe passed on to her by her mother 5 decades ago. Mrs Mallya feels happy, that her ambition to introduce those two Mangalorean Konkani GSB dishes in Bengaluru has been fulfilled by Coastal Mama!

Dr KP Mallya resides nearby, has dined at Coastal Mama many times and he says, their recipes are consistent and he is happy that he gets all the Mangalorean GSB style preparations so close to his place of living. My nephew Darshan tasted their food for the first time and he was in consensus with me when we both agreed that each item is better than the other!
Raagi Manni - Dessert
Mini Gadbad - Ice Cream Sundae
With Sanjay P Mallya - Proprietor
Then the desserts arrived. First it was Raagi Mani or finger millet pudding made by a kitchen assistant, which not only looked lovely, but it just melted in the mouth, releasing subtle flavour of jaggery with a hint of cardamom and a cherry garnished over it, adding to beauty. Then arrived the ‘Mini Gadbad’, an ice cream sundae formulated by the same young chap. Dr Mallya said, it was on par or better than Ideal’s in Mangaluru.

Thus my first dining experience at Coastal Mama almost came to an end, but a train of thoughts ran in my mind as to how meticulously the family enterprise is running smoothly in spite of recurrent labour problems, rising costs and fluctuating seafood prices in the local market.

Sanjay manages to smile all the time and says “It is my brainchild and I have to nourish it, support it and make it stand firm and gallop. I am not after mass appeal but we do have very good regular customers who come in search of good food. I am ready to work round the clock to see that things are alright and there are no complaints whatsoever. Both my parents have been very supportive, they are the pillars of strength for Coastal Mama, and I thank them for allowing me to follow my passion and being with me always. We had teething problems initially like in any other business enterprise, but my loving elder brother Sunil, and my beloved wife Shefalie have instilled their full support and encouragement in me, and are always my well wishers. What else do I need to run the show?”

I have every reason to believe him, as I have seen how patiently and meticulously he manages the show and how his family people support him.



When I asked Sanjay about the popular and fast moving dishes in Coastal Mama, he said “Seafood Soup, Chicken Ghee Roast, Squid Ghee Roast, Prawn Phannaupkari and Prawn Masala Fry, Anjal tawa Fried, Squid Rava Fried, Clams Sukkha to name a few.”

He also spoke about his future plans and said “We would like to introduce Goan and Konkan cuisine on our menu. We are not into catering as such, but we would certainly give it a positive thought in the not too distant future. We have been in this business for little over Six months now. Right now our priority is to continue with quality cuisine, good service and pleasant ambiance that we have created. If we succeed in maintaining the same standards or even improve on that, we can think about opening a branch or branches.”

“I live nearby and I have been a fan of Coastal Mama from day one. Their preparations are lip smacking; their phannaupkari is the best I have ever tasted.  My wife Shilpa and my two kids simply love the food here. We take food parcel regularly on weekends and also dine here as and when we find free time. Sanjay and his parents keep personal touch and make us feel at home always”, opines my young friend Nithin Bhandary a resident of JP Nagar who is working for a multinational company.
Sanjay with his family members
With Chef Madhav
Chef Madhav presents Chicken Kubera
Chicken Kubera - My signature dish
With Chef Madhav and Mallya Family
With Coastal Mama proprietor and crew
Sanjay says "Bye, come again!"
After dark, the night ambiance with shimmering candle light on every table, lit up romantic mood, taking us into a dream world!

“We are dining here for the second time, and we liked the preparations very much. Seafood is homely and we felt like in Mangaluru when we eat here”, said Shubhangi and Satish Kabad while their two young daughters smiled approvingly.

Prabhakar Mallya didn’t fail to greet them all, and get their feedback. Jyoti Mallya was talking to Dinesh the manager and asking him about quality control.


I also entered the kitchen to see how things are moving under the lead of Chef Madhav. Chef Madhav told me that some of the Kundapur dishes he introduced are liked by all, and the Kori Ghassi, Pulimunchi and Sukkha are very much sought after by even Bangalorean locals.  I complemented him for making the best Crispy Babycorn and Squid I have ever eaten in my life so far, which were better than they make in star hotels! Then I asked him which special dish he is going to demonstrate that evening, and his simple but firm answer was surprising!

He said “What else Sir! I am going to make your own signature dish Chicken Kubera!” I was overjoyed and the time spent with him in the kitchen watching him prepare Chicken Kubera with ease, was truly heartening. He made it perfectly, as per my recipe passed on by Sanjay to him before hand. I could make out by the flavout itself that Chicken Kubera by Chef Madhav was a superhit at its first edition! All those who tasted it gave a high five and said that it was by all standards, star dish of the day!

With a satisfied feeling of having visited one of the finest restaurants in South Bengaluru that has many Mangalorean GSB and Coastal Karnataka delicacies on the list, I wished luck to Sanjay, the Mallyas, 
Manager Dinesh, Chef Madhav and their team before leaving the place.

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Contact Info:

Address:
No.312, 2nd Floor,
Above Café Coffee day Lounge,
15th Cross, 100 Feet Road,
JP Nagar 5th Phase, Bengaluru 560078

Phone:
080 41723334, 41733334

Timings:
12:00 to 3:30pm,
7:00 to 11:00pm.

Weekly Holiday:
Monday



Home Delivery:
Free delivery within 6 Km radius
*Minimum order value Rs.400/-
*Packing charges apply

You can also order through Zomato or Swiggy

Find us @:
http://coastalmama.in/
https://www.facebook.com/coastalmamarestaurant/?fref=t

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