Heading over for a vacation is one of the best getaway things to do these days. And best is when you just pack your bags and leave impromptu, not plan so far ahead. Usually we do a lot of research on the food places before we plan our vacation around it. But Kodaikanal was never planned.
Kodaikanal was supposed to be a getaway. A vacation where I only intended to stretch my legs, read a book on the balcony of my hotel room while look over the horizon at the beautiful clouds. I was glad that I booked the Kodai Resort Hotel near Coaker’s Walk while on my trip to Kodaikanal. There is not much to do in Kodai other than relax and that’s what an ideal vacation is meant to be at times. I actually sat up looking at the clear night sky till 4 AM in the morning while listening to the calming sounds of the waterfall in the distance.
Since not having planned on what and where to eat during my visit to Kodaikanal, I ended up just winging it. Dropping by wherever I felt like whenever hungry. But the best part about not having expectations is that you can be surprised when you seldom know it. Being a beautiful hill station, the ingredients and vegetables are fresh and that makes a lot of difference to the food. Fresh carrots taste so much better than buying it off of a supermarket shelf. Organic produce feels lighter and refreshing to have when most of the herbs are grown in a hotel’s or homestay’s backyard. Also during travel we make it a point to have different kinds of food on offer. Hence this post will not feature the famous Astoria Restaurant which is famous for it’s Thalis or Tava Veg Hotel (Well coz it’s vegetarian).
So here below we take a comprehensive look at the places to eat at when at Kodai.
1. Tibetan Brothers Hotel: The lovely Tibetan folks have settled in many parts of India and I’m thankful to them for bringing their cuisine closer to home from the mountains. The Thukpa at Tibetan Brothers Hotel is nothing short of amazing. A bowl of Thukpa was enough for a complete meal for two of us. Another quick drop-by for their momos and we skipped the traditional steamed ones with the Fried Momos. Tibetan Brothers Hotel is a must try when in Kodaikanal for the simplistic food they offer in a warm dining place.
2. Cloud Street: A walk down PT Road and you’ll be amazed by the quaint little cafes it houses. From Indian, Tibetan to Continental, all kinds line this small street in Kodaikanal. Cloud Street deserves special mention for the fact that they make use of fresh ingredients to whip up some brilliant continental dishes. After a trek to the Dolphin’s Nose (which had me thinking to get back on the treadmill once again) we dropped by Cloud Street. A simple Pesto Pasta felt so good and flavorful that I don’t remember the last time I had so freshly used ingredients in my food. The Chicken Pot Pie was absolutely delicious too.
3. Royal Tibet : Another famous Tibetan establishment in Kodaikanal which we had a chance to drop in. Maybe it was an off day on their end but the food was disastrous. There are many who swear by Royal Tibet but I personally couldn’t even stand the strong smell that emanated in the hotel. A little bite of the Thukpa and Momos that we’d ordered had me pushing away the plate to a distance. The smell of uncooked meat had lingered long enough for me not to continue further. I should have just stuck to Tibetan Brother Hotel.
4. Café Cariappa and Pot Luck Café : Café Cariappa is famous for it’s coffee and shakes that it whips up. The entire weekend we were there at Kodaikanal, they didn’t seem to want to open shop at all. Pot Luck Café on the other hand opened shop but served as and when it pleased. 10 minutes before that I had seen the café open and took a walk to come back to sit down and they would have already downed the shutter and closed for the day.
5. Pastry Corner: If need for any baked stuff there is only stop shop in Kodaikanal and it’s Pastry Corner. They make really drool-worthy Rum Balls but be there early as they run out fast. The place opens at 10 AM and closes shop by 5:30 PM.
6. This is a special mention to go vegetarian in Kodaikanal and you won’t regret it. The babycorns were so tender making everything we had taste so much better. Pull (or buy) baby carrots along the journey and savor them. Trust me, if you don’t, you’ll regret it later on. Also there are few shops which have a huge variety of Homemade Cheese. Kodai Cheese is famous and the variety of flavors of cheese they produce will have you wanting to take back a lot of them back home.
Kodaikanal is a beautiful hill-station and there is no denying that. Sure it has become crowded a lot and drowned with tourists of late. But take an early morning walk in the cold, tread an off-beat path and fall back in love with nature once again.