I was in Bengaluru last weekend. I was based at the ITC Gardenia at Residency Road.
I looked for options to eat in at Residency Road and a couple of folks on twitter suggested Wild Spice. ‘Hole of a place but great pork’ were just the words of enticement that I needed.
So I checked in to the lovely room at the Gardenia on Friday and then headed out immediately in search of the Wild Spice as it was close to 2 pm. While helping me with directions the concierge offered to look up the best Coorg places for me, then looked up from his comp and said “Wild Spice seems to be the best sir”.
I headed off in a rickshaw. Fifty rupees flat, no meter. Well at least he agreed to go unlike later in the evening when I had a tough time getting one to go to MTR. The weather was much hotter than what I normally associate with Bengaluru.
We reached Wild Spice soon and I went inside. The moment I stepped I felt that I was in a place where time stood still. It was 2.30 pm and the mood very languorous. The restaurant is pretty basic. One large room. No aircon and a few table fans groaning at having to work at siesta time. There were a couple of tables occupied with folks eating busily.
The waiter gave me the menu and I saw there was a la carte dishes and thalis. I decided to go for the pork fry thali as I could try out a range of dishes versus if I tried a la carte.
My food was brought in fairly quickly except the steaming seviya dessert which joined a bit later.
Well Wild Spice is a Coorg place and pork is the hero here. The rajma and the daal were interesting but I quickly went through them to reach the pork. These were served with steaming hot rice akki rotis.
The portion of pork looked small which was perfect as I didn’t want the larger portion that would come in a la carte. This way you could taste the dish and not jolt up the heart too much. The little bowl was packed with pork though so it was not really that little a portion as I discovered.
The pork was some of the best pork that I have had. Soft as the cliche'd baby’s bum. A mix of cuts ranging from belly with fat to other cubed pieces. All lovingly tender. The spice mix, coriander heavy as I learnt later, and with black pepper was quite intense and hit you just as you settled over the soft and juicy meat. An interesting contrast of pliant soft sleepy meat and fiery spices that jolted your senses in a nice way.
The Coorg pork fry combined very well with the akki roti and Wild Spice once again showed to me that the Bengaluru is a city that knows how to eat well.
At the end I took a poon of the seviya pudding and then finished the bowl. The steaming Coorg bowl of thick seviya cooked in milk reminded my of my grandmother’s Bengali shemoiyer payesh. How cool is that?
On the way out I met the tall and lanky Mr Deviah who started Wild Spice six years back.
When I complimented him on the food he said it was all his mother’s recipes.
When I asked him whether his mother lived in Bengaluru or Coorg, he said “she has actually changed her address and has moved upstairs”.
Well, thank you aunty for the great food and your son is doing a great job of carrying on your legacy.
The thali cost Rs 170