In all my travels (the few i have had) the one thing that has always left a bad taste has been the food. But, for once i was able to experience heaven. The huge expanse of the Arabian sea, the sand and good food that did not burn a hole in my pocket. While in Gokarna, there were only three food joints which i tried and while one of them was nothing to write home about, the other two were enough to give me endless sleepless night yearning for cold coffee and yummy food.
The first of these two joints is the Shree Shakti restaurant. Not much of a restaurant, this tiny shop serves south indian and continental food. Wary of my past experiences, i played it safe and ordered a masala dosa and a cold coffee (they call it ‘coffee milk shake’). But things changed monumentally as i took what was my first sip of the one in many ‘coffee milk shakes’ that were to come next. I could write poetry about it. Not often you come across cold coffee that is milky yet keeps the flavor of the coffee intact. It was perfectly sweetened, neither too less or too much, a formula most restaurants have not managed to crack till now. The milkshake has coffee (a strong filter coffee flavour), vanilla, ice cream and milk. There is no ice to dilute it and it is served to you chilled and ready to devour. The shake is not frothy and overly creamy and thick. The consistency is just right and if my description doesn’t have to day dreaming about Gokarna still, then i must applaud you for your strength. The restaurant also offers very good tea for the tea lovers and other milk shakes are also worth their penny.
The south indian food is well made but something that especially caught my attention was the home made cheese and tomato sauce they served. The cheese (used in continental food and sandwiches) is given to you separately and is made in the shop itself. Its fresh and not too sour and is definitely worth a try. The tomato sauce is made from fresh tomatoes and doesn’t have the ‘ketchup’ taste but gets full marks for originality. Try out the sandwiches or just a plain butter toast, which is served to you with a big bowl of fresh white butter. The aroma is enough to make me go mad. The cafe is on the road to the Gokarna beach and can be easily located through locals. The owner is always present and is very friendly making the experience even better. Did i mention the throwaway prices at which the food is sold? Well, it is….God! i am hungry.
So, I thought i had it all when i entered Shree Shakti, but life had other things planned for me. Prema restaurant, which is at the main Gokarna beach is heaven for food lovers. With an extensive menu that includes 20 types of lassis, pancakes, north indian food, south indian food, homemade ice-creams, continental meals etc, it has something for everyone’s taste. But beach bums beware. People with wet clothes are not allowed inside and i had to visit again with a fresh set of clothes to get an entry.
Something that is really hard to get down south is good north indian food. While every restaurant has a section devoted in the menu, the food hardly lives upto any expectations at all. But i had to change my opinion once i entered this small beach side shack. I ordered a plate of chana masala with butter roti and garlic roti and the first bite i had made me wish that my bus was one day later so that i could spend an entire day eating over there. The chana was well cooked and the gravy was just purrfect!!! It was not overly spicy and well made and was just yum. I can’t explain it further. The butter rotis were super buttery and i thought i was in heaven when the garlic rotis arrived to make me take even one step further up. The restaurant also served some fantastic home made ice cream. I tried out some coconut ice cream made out of fresh coconut and very creamy milk. Try out at least one flavour. It is a must for everyone who ever plans to visit the place. While i didn’t get the time to try out the continental menu beyond the ‘baked beans with toast’, it was well made and served in generous quantity to make me have a good feeling about the rest of the menu items. I desperately want to see of the pancakes are any good so if anyone tries them out, let me know.