Welcome to another post from Grubitizer and this time it is going to be about my FAM trip to one of the most exotic destinations in Coorg! A couple of weeks back I was invited to The Tamara Coorg, this multiple awards winning resort offers a bouquet of tranquility and luxurious experiences that has enough and more in it to let you enjoy nature amidst coffee and spice plantation estates, rugged terrains, misty trails, lush green canopies and plenty of streams and waterfalls. Read on to know about this experiential retreat and you shall too fall in love with this place, just the way I did during my visit.
The word Tamara means Lotus flower in the three prominent dialects of Southern India and in Sanskrit, it means Spice, Tamara is referred as Goddess of Rivers and Lakes in Celtic European Languages and in Arabic, it means Date Palm tree! So now if I would want to combine all of this, Tamara stands for purity and pristineness that is associated with everything that revolves around nature.
The Tamara Coorg is located on the Eastern slopes of Kabbinakad and is spread over a generous landscape of 180 Acres. It is roughly 270 KM from Bangalore and comes in Virajpet side of Kodagu District. I like how they have ensured that none of the natural landscaping is affected by the construction of this beautiful resort. You will find estate trails, buggy paths (Yes, that’s how you travel here!), stone steps, timber bridges and a lot of uphill and downhill paths to walk on. The cottages are built on the sides of the valley and are balanced on the edge, this offers you a view that is nothing short of sheer bliss.
This property is one of the few places in the world that is built inside a functional coffee plantation. The journey from Bangalore was a good 7 hours’ drive, thanks to our cab guy who was overly cautious of making that every overtaking move, he was a rare gem! A couple of pit stops were made before reaching the destination at around 2 PM. We proceeded to have our first meal here, lunch at ‘The Falls’.
Now that we have spoken about lunch, allow me to cover the dining options available here, let us begin with ‘The Falls’. This place is built on a bridge and above a gushing waterfall, one section of this place is made from see-through glass flooring and you get a bird’s eye view of this mesmerizing sight. This restaurant offers dishes inspired by a fusion of good old traditional cooking and modern gastronomic delights, you can get your hands on Chinese, Continental, Regional and various other International cuisines.
‘The Deck’ is their luxury lounge bar, a great collection of whiskey and wines along with light eats is sure to set the perfect evening mood at The Tamara Coorg.
‘Verandah’ is the go-to place if you want to learn about Coffee, this place also doubles up as their gift boutique. This rustic coffee lounge has a typical Kodava house structure and gives you nice and calm vibes while you are sipping on your favourite cup of coffee.
Coming back to lunch, we had the pleasure of conversing with Chef Abhijit Saha, the founding Director and Chef of Avant Grade Hospitality. We started off with an assortment of Chicken Tom Kha Soup, Prawns Aglio Olio, some really good Chicken Dum Biryani and a lot of Spaghetti AOP. I loved the Chicken Ravioli with Grilled Vegetables and Creamy Herb Sauce. Dessert was a soothing delight in itself, we had the Coorg Coffee Dark Chocolate Tart and the Coorg Honey and Ricotta Cheese Cake, super delicious and the essence of local elements gave these delicacies a different feeling altogether, we knew we were in for a treat for the next couple of days!
We then called for a buggy and it usually takes 5-10 minutes to arrive, the most exciting journey began now, the journey to our cottages! Before coming here I had researched a lot about the kind of stay options available here and when you do so, you too will be equally excited. So they have four kinds of cottage options, we stayed in the Luxury Cottage, this contributes a major chunk of the total available cottages here, 41 out of 56 to be precise. This spans across 608 square feet and offers a spectacular view of the surrounding greenery. The interiors are nicely done with wooden finish all over, placement of bed on an elevated platform and an east facing private sundeck gives your living room a spacious look. After checking out the cottage inside out quickly and freshening up, we proceeded to the Verandah where we got to experience what Coorg is best known for, the Coffee!
The evening session on Coffee is called ‘Blossom to Brew’, it is a finely crafted coffee experience that gives you an opportunity to understand the process of coffee making, right from coffee cultivation, through harvesting and then finally seeing that final outcome in your coffee mug! This is really good for people who take their coffee seriously and are looking to know more about the properties and taste profiles that change the characteristics of coffee based on the grade, kind of roasting that has gone into and finally the blending process.
Next up was the Barbeque Dinner at the Falls where Chef Saha and his team prepped up the theme with live grills. While we were munching on hummus with Lavash and sipping on some fine single malt, the assortment of grills kept coming in, I loved the Coffee rubbed pork sausages and rosemary garlic marinated lamb chops. The vegetarian folks on our table enjoyed their grilled Mushroom and Broccoli, stuffed cottage cheese steam and baby corn in soy garlic sauce.
Dessert was Duet of Macaroons, Mini Tiramisu and the crowd favourite Mango Entremets! The overall setup was done very well and we could see other guests in the restaurant appreciating the way this barbeque dinner was executed.
Next day after breakfast we all set out for the most interesting thing, the plantation and garden walk where Chef Saha and his team took us around the entire property where we got to explore the presence of biodiversity in its best form.
We picked up some Lime, Lilies, Spices, and Pomelo etc. that was to be used by Chef for Master Class that was scheduled to take place after the walk.
We again realized why it is worth staying in Tamara, the kind of feeling you get by being so close to nature is something that has enough in it to soothe your mind, we could see different streams of waterfall, cottages built on the cliff and abundance of fauna all over, something that we have been missing by staying in the urban jungles.
The Tamara Coorg also houses a full-fledged swimming pool, Tennis, Badminton and Basketball courts. Elevation Spa at The Tamara Coorg makes sure that your need for attaining inner silence and revitalization of outer gleam is restored by offering you world-class spa facilities. Their line of products, treatments and therapies offer the ultimate way to relax, rejuvenate and detoxify your inner self.
There are a ton of options to indulge yourselves by visiting the Recreational Centre that features games ranging from those played in ancient times to the modern world chess and carrom! You also get a space where you can relax by peacefully carving out your imagination on an empty canvas, i.e. painting 😀
It was time for lunch now and it was no ordinary lunch, Chef Saha and his team had planned a Master Class where they used ingredients that were picked up by us during the garden walk. First up was Grilled Shrimp and Orange Salad with Wild Passion Fruit and Honey Dressing, it was fun to watch Mr Hinduja and Debolina accompany Chef Saha in preparing this masterpiece. We used Pomelo and lilies that were picked up by us!!
Then we saw the preparation of Jackfruit Kebab with Wild Finger Lime Relish, I remember having Jackfruit Kebab elsewhere and it was really good, so I was all excited to taste the version that was supposed to be prepared here. Sanghamitra, Seema and Swapna joined Chef Saha and the dish was ready in about 20 mins, how was it? Amazing, we swept off entire contents in seconds and then proceeded to the last dish that was to be prepared here, the Grilled Chicken and Vegetable Skewers with Coorg Pepper and Estate Rub! Folks here nominated me to join Chef Pallavi and we started off with preparing the marinade and then getting the skewers right. A bit of cooking over the pan and we had the dish ready, a really good one!
Dinner that day was an exclusive wine and dine kinda affair, we could choose anything from the a la carte menu and the appetizers to accompany the wines were sent over, it was all really good and we loved the Coorg Pork Fry that came along. Chandon and Two Oceans’s Sauvignon Blanc gave us a good company that night and then it was bedtime!
Next day morning, as usual, I got up early and decided to make some tea, the view outside begged me to click a pic with this mind-blowing backdrop, breathtaking indeed. The placement of cottages at The Tamara Coorg is done with utmost care to make sure that every sit-out offers a view that makes you feel so much closer to nature. We were here during the monsoons and each year this time, The Tamara Coorg comes alive with sounds of gushing water and cold sprays of mist start forming in the valleys.
Tapash and I had planned to take up the Yoga session the previous night and we successfully managed to make it through! I am not much of a Yoga person, but this session here was exhaustive, the talented Yoga trainer understood our expertise level and accordingly guided us through the session, this is something that definitely cannot be missed when you are here.
Breakfast that day was a simple and humble portion of Mysore Masala Dosa and a nice hot cup of the famous Coorg Jaggery Coffee. You also get an option of going for the full-fledged breakfast buffet that lists items from regional as well as other cuisines.
So it was time we packed our bags as we had to check out after lunch, but wait, this lunch session was something we were looking forward to from the beginning. It was the Coorg cuisine demo with a lady who’s native to Coorg. On the menu was Pandi Curry with Akki Roti, Coorg Tarakari Curry with Kadambuttu and the super amazing Coorg Dal Payasam. The outcome of every dish was simply out of the world, even though I am from Coorg but at home we make most of the Coorg dishes at home only on special occasion, but I am familiar with how and what most of the dishes here are supposed to look like, and to me what we had was easily one of the best versions of Kodava cuisine!
It was the last leg of our trip and time to bid goodbye to The Tamara Coorg. We spotted an elephant on our way back, trust me it is a sight that gets every traveller excited on this stretch. He was gracefully eating away the grass on the side of the road and majestic is the word to describe him!
It was a good seven hours’ drive and I was engrossed in recalling the moments spent in The Tamara Coorg, everything here from the sounds of bird songs and water rush to the sweet smell of coffee blossoms makes your visit so much special, in short a visit to this luxury resort is more than just an experience, it is a celebration of life!