Continuing with my account of our short holiday at Club Mahindra’s (CM) resort at Pondicherry, thanks to my sister-in-law…
The plan for the day was to head for the Gingee Fort some 60 kms + away from the resort.
Running late we made haste to the restaurant for our breakfast. A chalk-board informed us Shri Srinivasan was our chef. The spread was good as always to cater to different palates. While some may have felt it suffered in comparison to other CM resorts – was it really so or the hall was just smaller? – looking at the gustatory delights laid out before me, I felt more like a sultan at a loss to know where to begin in his harem. After a sumptuous meal we headed for the coffee counter. And there he was in his throne! A gaunt gentleman in full regalia of a chef standing ram-rod straight.
Ye world, abandon your vain pursuits forthwith and head here; for, this is where the magic potion is made that will transport you to heights of sensual decadence you never imagined! Well, there I got carried away a little – but that’s what Srini’s concoction does to anyone. Coffee that he lovingly mixes right before you in a steel tumbler and a davara – utensils ubiquitous in any Tamil house serving the same purpose as cup and saucer. When he hands out the frothy in a tumbler held inside the davara for catching the spill-over, don’t ever use the davara to cool the coffee in his presence – sends him into spasms. You’re supposed to take it straight from the tumbler as it cools. Let me give you a tip of my own: Coffee tastes best when it is poured against the back of your mouth using the lip of the tumbler. Yes, no sipping.
Srini is a one-man brand that CM will do well to shout about from roof-tops. And he could be one reason for CM members to flock to this resort.
I had two suggestions to make: a) use of brass tumbler and davara would lend authenticity to the ritual and b) CM could offer for sale an entire coffee-making and dispensing kit including pouches of coffee powder; and Srini would demonstrate the use of this kit to produce the magic he does. A good source of additional billing for CM.
Incidentally my proclivity for making suggestions like the above here and elsewhere earned me the sobriquet of ’Karutthu Kandaswamy’ from my wife. A character played by Vivek in some Tamil movie wherein he throws around suggestions like confetti wherever he goes. So much so people rushed for underground bunkers on mere sight of him at a distance. Hasn’t happened to me yet!
A fall-out of becoming Srini’s acolyte was: I was generously treated to more coffee whenever the counter was open. Though it wasn’t too often owing to my health issues. A pity – so near yet so far.
Srini is by no means a one-trick pony. The ladies still talk about his cheese dosa, puttu and vattha kuzhambu. Am sure his deck has more aces than 4!
More about the restaurant and the resort in the posts to follow. For now, onward to Gingee fort…
(To be continued)