Luxury resorts inherently overwhelm you with the look and feel of their place but only a few of them manage to dish out what actually tickles a foodie’s taste buds. Evolve Back at Coorg doesn’t just charm you with lavish interiors and impressive amenities, it delivers on its promise of bringing you the “Spirit of the Land”. They complement the exclusive experience of staying with them by bringing you food that is authentic and chefs who understand what your palate is craving.

They say first impressions matter the most and the welcome drink at Evolve Back certainly makes that adage hold water. A frozen coffee cube dipped in coconut milk is subtle and one swig is enough to refresh you after a tiring drive to the Chikkana Halli Estate.

The lush 300-acre estate contributes fresh produce to the Evolve Back kitchens—spices like pepper, cloves, cardamon and kokum among others add the dash of flavour that the chef’s preparations need. The paddy fields, jackfruits trees and other fruits from the backyard are used regularly to create seasonal specials. However, it is coffee—the intoxicating aroma of fine Arabicas and Robustas from the plantations—that has earned Coorg the moniker ‘Coffee Cup of India’ adds to the luxurious ambience.

Evolve Back at Coorg has Granary, an all-day coffee shop, Peppercorn, which traces the spice route from India to Europe and is knowns for its grills and sizzlers, and if you would rather sample an all-vegetarian feast, there are North Indian and South Indian thalis available at the Plantain Leaf.

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Chef with his team – Photograph: Gautham Gopi

 

And the three restaurants at Evolve Back, Coorg, obviously means that the Executive Chef has his hands full. A typical day for Chef Kannan involves approving ingredients for all three kitchens, checking the portions that have to be cooked every day and meeting with the three head chefs to discuss the meals. However, the chef considers interacting with the guests his most important task of the day. At breakfast every day, he meets them to gather their feedback and to check on their preferences. 

While the Pandi Curry—a Coorgi style spicy pork curry—is the local favourite, when Chef Kannan realised I wasn’t going to taste it, he proposed a seafood feast he knew I would savour as a Bengali. I was served a spread that was impossible to resist—the Sizzling Prawns were juicy and the spices gave the dish a burst of flavours, the Rawa-fried Pomfret with a crunchy crust was subtle, and the Tawa-fried Seer fish was delectably seasoned. And lest I forget, on the side I had crispy Squid Rings.

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Fried Fish – Photograph: Gautham Gopi 

 

After I finished lunch, Chef Kannan walked up to me to tell me that I must have the dessert, Pearl of Coorg, when I head for dinner at the Peppercorn at night. I was sure that after an elaborate meal like this one, I wouldn’t be able to eat my dinner, but like most Indians, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to refuse good food.

I knew it was sheer gluttony that made me indulge again at dinner but as I said, there was no other option but to yield to temptation. Chef Kannan told me during our chat, “Wherever you go, you’ll get good food but we believe in giving our guests a personal touch.”

It is the small things that make a good vacation remarkable.