Priya Rajagopal is the only person you need to know in Koramangala. She’s a kindly Malayali aunty who has opened her patio and kitchen to hungry chetas and chechis, quickly building a faithful school of local residents who routinely swim upstream for her fish masala.
Mrs Rajagopal or “Aunty”, who has been in the catering business for two decades, cleared the furniture out of her living room this year, set up a few tables and started God’s Own Café. Under big, bright signage and behind twinkling lights, God’s Own Café is one coconut away from Kerala. Here you’ll hear the happy cackling of Malayalam and smell the happier aroma of coconut oil, while Aunty sends out a spiced buttermilk and the day’s menu.
She puts together a combination of popular Kallu Shaapu (toddy shop) dishes and more traditional food from the state, like fish and vegetarian meals, chicken stew, masala prawns and puttus.
Under big, bright signage and behind twinkling lights, God’s Own Café is one coconut away from Kerala.
Poppadum and Dumber
We don’t spot aunty on our first visit, and just as we are about to inquire after her, she hurries out of the kitchen to apologise for the long wait. “Sorry ma, I’m making everything fresh, you see,” she informs us as she darts back in to pour more appams.
The reward for our patience is a single piece of seer fish: smeared and cooked with a hot ground mixture of coconut and spices. One more round, please. Fried bangda is crisp, almost too crisp and saved only by a generous hit of lime. The next communication from the kitchen continues in the same vein; sea attached. A glistening thali filled with home-cooked treats, including cabbage fry, bottle gourd, stunning scarlet mackerel fish curry, poppadum, a mound of rice and a piece of Kerala halwa.
It’s a humble, hearty meal and every element on the plate gets along with the others. For variety, we also order a portion of hot chicken stew, sweetened by coconut milk and chaperoned by gorgeously fluffy appams, the kind that can keep Bangalore’s sun out. For now.
We sit around for a bit, feasting on extra helpings of sticky sweet halwa (sourced from Kerala), as aunty finishes her orders for the day. She steps out of the kitchen and takes off her apron with an air of accomplishment. Aunty tells us it gets chaotic sometimes, especially during lunch, but she insists on doing everything herself. “This is my house, so I like to manage my own kitchen,” aunty says, adding that she thought of opening up her home now because “seafood is so expensive in this area”.
At we get up to leave, Aunty asks us what we want to eat during our next visit and in a matronly fashion, instructs us to get home safe. Thanks Ma, we almost say, holding back a hug.
Getting there: 72, 1st Main, 4th Cross, 7th Block, Koramangala, call 9980739700. A meal for two costs Rs 565. Aunty’s weekly off is Monday. Parking is generally available on the street in front of the café.
Accessibility: One step up to enter the café and three steps leading to the seating area.
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