Take the foodie in you on a road trip to Ooty!
Think Ooty and the first things that come to your mind are the botanical gardens, hill tops, lake sides and train rides,. The hilly paradise sure has much to offer, but definitely a big NO-NO on any of the long weekends if your basic idea is to get away from the crowd. Instead, plan a culinary getaway to Ooty for your next long weekend the way we did and devour all the amazing food that this place has on offer. Heres how :
If you are from Bangalore, you already know this by now – set out no later than 6AM from Bangalore. We set out at 5.30 AM and it worked out perfect. We reached Mysore on time for breakfast. Set your GPS or Google Maps to “Hotel Mylari Hotel Original“ before reaching the Columbia hospital junction which is on the outskirts of Mysore, and head straight to this hole-in-the-wall joint. Its called Old Original Mylari and is a tiny little no frills joint tucked in one of the small lanes of Mysore called Nazarbad. This was the third time we were visiting this place and each time we have left in awe of their perfect fluffy dosas. It’s not the usual dosas that you would have eaten at the Darshinis – this ones different. You have to try it to fall in love with it. The dosas are absolutely light on the stomach and you can have about two or three of it at a go. Perfect before you drive through the hair pin curves to Ooty. There are a few more dosa joints by the same name, so below is a pic for reference of the “Original Mylari“.
Somewhere after you cross the Madumalai forest checkpoint and when you are about to start the uphill drive to Ooty, you will spot this Mirchi Bhajji guy. You can’t miss the stall anyways because the crowd at his stall will catch your attention. Do take a quick stop to taste the mirchi and raw banana bhajjis (fritters)
If you started early from Bangalore, you are sure to reach Ooty by lunch. One of the must try places for lunch at Ooty is Earl’s Secret (This was earlier called King’s Cliff). It’s a quaint heritage mansion converted into a restaurant. You can either choose to sit in the glass house (strongly recommended) or if you are yet to acclimatize to the Ooty chill, you can pick the one of cozy dining rooms inside .
We were quiet happy with what we ordered – Roasted mushroom soup, Lamb roast (takes the top spot) and Chicken roulade (takes our love and praise) – definitely recommended. They even made the perfect chicken noodles for the kids as per our specifications. Caramel custard for desert was OK. Their Indian food too is supposedly very good. Skip Italian and mostly go with what the chef recommends. Be warned, the service is slow, but who cares when you are on a holiday!
After this hearty meal and the long drive, we checked in to our guesthouse at Lovedale and there was no scope for anything but a siesta. Woke up to nice hot coffee and post freshening up, we decided to spend the evening playing cards and sipping wine. We had carried the play tent and some toys along, so the kids were busy. For dinner we had simple home cooked chicken and roti at the guesthouse.
Since we didn’t really have anything on our agenda besides lazying and eating we decided to just take a long drive to Coonoor and back. On the way to Coonoor –somewhere half way through the scenic drive between the valleys, perched on a bend, we found this eatery named Culinarium.
We stopped here for a cup of tea but couldn’t stop ourselves from ordering the heavenly looking cakes, dreamy fresh breads, eclairs, butter croissants and macaroons! The little pot of Nilgiri tea too tasted just right in that picture perfect place and we stayed back a little longer to enjoy our afternoon tea party. We didn’t have lunch here but have heard that their Pot Pies are to die for. Also attached to the restaurant is the cutesy handicraft shop of Pony Industries which stocks everything a person who is into knitting or thread craft will ever need.
If in Coonoor, do stop by at Bakers Junction , they have the best stock of cheese made by Acres Wild.
We were back in Ooty right on time for lunch and took a good half an hour deciding on which place to go next. We were looking for a place that allowed us to bring in alcohol, had lot of place to keep kids entertained and of course, served good food. The perfect find – Sherlock Homes! It was everything we were looking for and much more. Firstly what worked in our favor was that all the in-house residents had stepped out to tour Ooty and we had the entire place almost to ourselves and the weather was just perfect. They have this beautiful sprawling garden adorned with colorful flowers of all kinds and our little girls spent almost 3 hours just picking up all the flowers fallen in the garden.
The place is done up in a Sherlock Holmes theme and has comfy cozy corners all around with beautiful Victorian era furniture that added warmth to the place.
We had Chinese for lunch and the staff set up our table in the lawn and it was all just perfect. We couldn’t keep our eyes from shutting after the heavy meal and each of us shamelessly took up one couch in every corner for quick power nap! The staff were sweet enough to not wake us up. After a cup of Coffee, we left the place all determined to come back and stay at this place during our next trip.
We decided to stroll Charring cross street in the evening for a lil bit of shopping and also to digest the lunch before dinner time. Do check out our post on what to shop in Ooty and from where.
We were not really in the mood for dinner. But we had to try this restaurant called ‘Place to Bee’ recommended by one our friends and glad we visited it. The restaurant has a very laid back and comfy set up with lots of books to read. We ordered Pizza and pasta and cheesecake for desert. The food was definitely worth recommending. They also have a small shop attached selling Organic products and also a bee museum.
Today we craved for good South Indian breakfast and headed to Gardens restaurant which is located inside the Nahar’s Residency hotel. We got greedy and ordered almost everything that was on the menu – paper dosa, masala dosa, rawa dosa, vada, uttappam and managed to finish it all! While all of it was good, their Rawa dosa was just outstanding. The filter kaapi too was just right.
For lunch we stopped by at Fishland on the highway enroute Mysore to Bangalore. We ordered Manglorean food and it was really good and worth a try. Definitely the best option if you need to stop for a non-veg lunch meal on the way back.
So there! Who ever thought a trip to Ooty can turn out to be such a gastronimical delight. Get packing and take the foodie in you on a road trip to Ooty and make that belly happy. Happy Driving and Happy eating !