Last weekend, we happened to go to Anjappar, and the food left us disappointed. From experience, I’ve learned that the only way to purge the memories of such occurrences is to overlay it with better ones. And that’s how we ended up at Naati Manae, which promises to “Tingle your taste buds of our Native cuisine”. The non-vegetarian wins over the grammarian easily. The good news is that we didn’t have to go to Gandhinagar/Rajajinagar or any of the Pet places that house eateries which serve this cuisine, Koramangala scores again!! Naati Manae is off the one way that goes from the Intermediate Ring Road to Jyoti Nivas College. Take the right immediately after Coconut Grove/William Penn, and then take the first left. You’ll see Naati Manae on your right. If you’re familiar with Koramangala, you could approach it from the other one way too – the one that has Oye Amritsar, China Pearl etc. Here’s a map of the area. Parking isn’t too much of a problem.
We arrived at 7.30 and easily found a table. But from the experience later, perhaps we were early. The decor remains true to the ‘Naati’ theme, lots of paintings and a matching version of the spices glass topped table decor. There’s a general area which is non-AC and a ‘family room’ with AC, that’ll cost you 10% extra! The idea, I think, is to replicate the general feel of the restaurants of this genre and add to it a little bit of refinement so it appeals to the different audience. In that sense, it works. Its clean, has a no-frills ambiance, the seating is comfortable, and there’s a uniqueness that sets it apart.
The menu is kept pretty simple too (click to enlarge), with specials during the weekend. Vegetarians, as you can note, the rest of the post might be a waste of time for you. Sorry about the ‘flashy’ mutton, still getting used to menu photography (After pepper fry, there’s fry, liver fry, kheema fry, thale mamsa, chops, saru and masala) We wanted to try the day’s special ‘Mutton Shukka’ but were told it’d take at least 20 minutes. So we asked for a Mutton Pepper Dry and were given the same answer. So finally, we asked for a Thale Mamsa which we’d wanted for the main course. Its Thale, and not ‘pure’ brain, so in addition to the meat, there’s a lot of bone and hair too. A combination of thick-headedness and hunger meant that I missed taking a snap! The dish is definitely unique, with a slightly spicy flavor, and worth a try, but at Rs.75, I’d vote for Imperial/Chandu’s version of brain.
Next up, we asked for a plate of coin parathas and a Guntur Chicken. Oh yes, a ragi ball too. The ragi was quite good, and exorcised previous demons of chewing gum like consistency! The gravy that came along helped. Now, we’d read the Bangalore Mirror review and the description definitely didn’t match the dish that came to us. We checked, and it wasn’t! Christobelle Joseph, I owe you one. So we waited, with rapidly cooling parathas while the impersonator was replaced.
Thankfully, the Guntur Chicken was worth the wait. Very spicy, especially if you also happen to consume the red chillies in the masala, and goes extremely well with the coin parathas. It’d been more than half an hour since we’d asked for the Mutton dishes, and judging by the 20 minute explanation, we thought we could try a Shukka with the Donne Chicken Biriyani.
But unfortunately, it wasn’t. I really couldn’t understand the logic of having a special for the day, advertising dinner from 7 pm on, and then not having the dish ready by 8pm. Nattitude sucks! Anyway we were told the Mutton Pepper Fry was a good option. A few minutes later, the biriyani arrived along with the explanation that the Mutton Pepper Fry was over. I stopped trying to seek explanations. The mutton fry was rumoured to be available. Once again, we waited, this time with a cooling biriyani. Thankfully, it didn’t take long.
The donne biriyani was easily the best among the dishes, and truly value for money. The leaf bowl really does add to the taste, exactly like I’ve heard. Highly recommended. The mutton fry was quite ordinary, and the meat seemed to exist in a confused state – cooked or uncooked.
The service was quite pathetic. Whenever we asked for the day’s special, we were told to go for the Mutton Fry! Serving wrong dishes and recommending something not available made me wonder if I had unknowingly made Naati etiquette mistakes. Wearing shorts are not okay?
What is surprising is that though the total cost came to only Rs.395 and we were quite stuffed, I’d hardly call it value for money if I took each of the dish separately. Maybe it was the profusion of bones or the general irritation brought about by the service. But despite all that, it’s still worth a visit for a unique menu (in these parts) and the biriyani. Oh, for the record Natti Manae, you aren’t by any means the first place that serves the Donne Biriyani in Koramangala. 1st Main Road, 1st Block Koramangala, opposite Rolls United, check it out!
Naati Manae, #334, 17th C Main, KHB Colony, 5th Block, Koramangala Ph: 40986160/1
Menu at Zomato