Monday, March 31, 2014

Happy Ugadi/Saunsaar Paadvo/Gudi Padva

"Wishing the readers, followers and guest contributors of Kudpiraj's Garam Tawa A Very Happy Ugadi"

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sona's Kodial - Home Away from Home for Mangaloreans in Bengaluru

With inputs from: Sona's archives

Bengaluru is a traveller's paradise especially when it comes to food and drink. The mega city has restaurants, cafes and fast food outlets serving global food at reasonable prices. While prowling through the streets of Bengaluru hunting traditional Mangalorean GSB cuisine, My attention was drawn towards an entrepreneur from Mangalore who has settled in Bengaluru over the last 25 years, catering not just GSB style of food but also local Bengalorean stuff. Here's Ganesh Nayak, a man in his early Fifties running Sona's Kodial Restaurant and Sona Caterers with his family with the assistance of a few like minded Mangaloreans.

I met Sona Ganesh Nayak at the Khadi Fashion Show in Town Hall Mangalore on March 13, where he was one of the sponsors and he said "Kudpiraj, Sona' Caterers is celebrating 25 years of service this year. Besides, we will be shifting to a new premises in Seshadripuram on the 16th of March. You must visit my place, taste our food and also write a review on our restaurant." Though my job is not restaurant review but honest reporting about the taste and variety of traditional food available in various places, I agreed to visit Sona's Kodial during my next Bengaluru visit that was scheduled during March 22-24.

Contemporary Konkanis call Mangalore as 'Kodial', and Ganesh Nayak hailing from Mangalore decided to name his restaurant as Sona's Kodial. The name Sona's Kodial is not new to me. I had heard about it, read reviews about their food and also had a chance to taste their food at my niece's wedding held some years ago at the Dwarakanath Bhavan, Bengaluru. I was then surprised to see fried curd chillies and sandige as part of the treat along with many condiments and salads. Their fruit and vegetable decoration had also attracted me then.

First Look:
My friend Harish Mallya was in touch with me and he is also a regular visitor at Sona's Kodial on weekends. He said "Kudpiraj, let's meet at Sona's Kodial on Sunday the 23rd and have lunch together. I felt lucky to have him and his wife Mamatha for company and I agreed to meet them on Sunday the 23rd afternoon at Sona's Kodial on Risaldar Street, Seshadripuram Bengaluru. This busy street is between Platform Road and Old Kino Talkies(Now demolished). I reached Risaldar Street via Platform Road and found Shelteron Hotel on my left where Sona's Kodial is situated. Harish and Mamatha greeted me, we went inside and occupied our seats.

The ambiance is pleasant with a big bronze Ganesha statue and an Akki Mudi(Traditional Mangalorean Rice Bundle crafted with straw) on the cash counter, onion bunches hung by the window and pictures of Tourist attractions in Mangalore and surrounds including temples and traditions showcased all over. There is seating arrangement for over 48 people at a time and they have one more dining hall and banquet room where there is ample space to accommodate bigger groups. The food counter had a wide variety of Mangalorean snacks and dishes. Customers were seen buying curries by the Gms. Harish told me that he and his wife take away curries home from Sona's every weekend, since they both work for IT companies and prefer to relax on Sundays with homely GSB food! When an elderly man came to take our order, Harish and Mamatha preferred Mangalorean meals and I ordered Shevai(Shyaavige/Semiye) with Daalithove. At that moment, we were surprised to see Dayanand Kamath, another friend from Karkala who had come for dining there for the first time! Dayanand also joined us and he ordered plate meals with GSB curries again.

They gave us liberty of choosing curries from a wide list and that's unique service by Sona's! They served us Daalithove, Chana Jack fruit ghashi, Chana Jackfruit sukha, Tomato rasam, Pepper rasam, Gulla Drumstick and Potato Sambar, Curds, Buttermilk, Paapad, Chapati, Lemon pickle and Dates payasam. There was a choice of boiled red rice and white rice. They also served us Manni(Duddali) and Pathrode which were specialties for the weekend.
Food is good, tasty and homely. They maintain hygiene and keep all the items well covered and maintain them hot. I also had a glance through the various snack items made and served. The range seemed exhaustive with Khottige, Buns, Biscuit Rotti, Moode, Chattambade, Neeru Dosa, Neerulli Baje, Gujje Kebab and Shyaavige among traditional Mangalorean snacks. apart from Mangalorean food, they also had many popular local items like Idli Vada, Chow chow bhaat, Vegetable pulav, Menasinakaayi bajji, Masala Dosa, Poori saagu and Maddur Vada.

A group of college students from Puttur along with their lecturers swarmed the place to have snacks. They all were seen happily gorging on the food of their choice and appreciated the quality and taste of the food served by Sona's Kodial. Ganesh Nayak and his family were seen personally attending to the new customers, asking their choices.

History and future plans:
Sona Ganesh Nayak has been running Sona Caterers since last 24 years and Sona's Kodial Restaurant since last 12 years in Malleshwaram. Very recently they shifted to Shelteron Hotel Complex on Risaldar Street Seshadripuram. Ganesh Nayak's wife Saroja, Sons Shravan and Arjun, Daughter in Law Amritha manage the show with the help of assistants Ashok,  Krishna Nayak and Srinivas Shenoy. Sona Caterers have been the official caterers for the Konkani Conventions held in Ontario Canada(2006) and San Francisco USA(2008). They have been acclaimed as the best GSB caterers by Film personalities, writers, scholars, politicians and sports persons. Ganesh Nayak's Sona Organic Farms in Magadi meets some of the vegetable needs for traditional cooking.

Among the visitors to Sona's Kodial Restaurant are Stage and Film personality Girish Karnad, Former World Badminton Champion Prakash Padukone, Philanthropists Dr. P Dayananda Pai of Century Builders and M Jagannath Shenoy of Mangalore Ganesh Beedies, Financial Expert KV Kamath, Prakash Shetty of Banjara Gold Finch Group, Ex CMs BS Yeddiyurappa and Sadananda Gowda, MLA Ashwatha Narayana and Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao. 

Ganesh Nayak spoke to Kudpiraj's Garam Tawa and explained their future plans. He said they will be starting Sona Hospitality Services under which they will not only provide catering service but also rooms at reasonable tariff for groups, pick up and drop facility from Railway Station, Air Port and Bus Station, Banquet hall for parties and  functions, traditional Mangalorean Non-veg food and also arrange group picnics and sight seeing in and around Bengaluru. He explained that the Hotel has 75 well appointed rooms suitable for middle class family crowd. He is positive about tourists from not only Mangalore but from all over Karnataka and from the North being benefited by their hospitality services. He also added that he started his business with an intention to bring little bit of Mangalore into Bengalorean way of life but today Sona's means a whole lot of Mangalore to Mangaloreans staying in Bengaluru!
I personally feel that this kind of restaurant will certainly have a bright future in a place like Bengaluru which is flooded with Mangaloreans. I remember my younger days in the Eighties when I went hunting for authentic Mangalorean food on the busy streets of JC Road, Gandhinagar and Richmund Road. According to my experience, visit to Sona's Kodial for having breakfast, lunch and dinner is worth every rupee.
Clean tasty and homely food served with personal attention, concern and affection shown by the owners and the assistants makes Sona's Kodial a 'Home Away from Home.'
#29, Risaldar Street, 2nd Main
Seshadripuram, Bengaluru - 560020

Ganesh Nayak - 98440 71663, 90080 01663
Arjun G Nayak - 96112 38002
Shravan G Nayak - 97399 13623, 98863 22504



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