Sree Annapoorna reinvents itself with a business hotel and a gourmet restaurant, with jasmine cake and ânannariâ negronis. Here is a first glimpse
Lucknowi’s Galaouti Skewers fuel our conversation with Jegan S Damodaraswamy, Executive Director of Sree Annapoorna Coimbatore, at the group’s recently opened Kove: their first foray into fine dining. The group, best known for their unassuming and highly regarded outlets specializing in ghee dosas, rose milk and fast, friendly service, have been an integral part of the city for decades. The founder of the Sree Annapoorna Sree Gowrishankar group, Damodaraswamy Naidu, changed the face of catering in Coimbatore with his first restaurant in 1968.
Now his grandson has relaunched a 50,000 square foot property at RS Puram in Coimbatore, with a renovated Sree Annapoorna restaurant on the first floor, Kove on the second floor and IKON by Annapoorna – a 52-room business hotel – a new player in the business hotel segment. The rooms at the IKON by Annapoorna are divided into two segments – executive and suite, and three rooms to accommodate receptions and business meetings.
- Located at 75, E Arokiasamy Rd, Opp. Annapoorna Hotel, RS Puram, Coimbatore. A car park where 100 cars can be parked will soon be available. To reserve your table, call: 98422-46780
An engineer with a Masters in Food Science, Jegan has traveled extensively and is constantly thinking about new ways to refresh the family business, while staying true to its roots. âI wanted to recreate favorite dishes, such as galouti kebab, for vegetarians in a gastronomic atmosphere. That’s how Kove was formed, âhe says, addingâ I wanted to stick to our strengths. Other than milk, no animal derivatives are used on the menu, including eggs. It’s 100% vegetarian from the start.
Take on the challenge
He admits, however, that gastronomy is a whole new challenge. âWhen I took over Sree Annapoorna, I just had to innovate an existing working model. For this one, I had to work very hard, âhe laughs. âWe have personalized our cutlery with a copper finish and our Swiss water carafes come with an intact lid to limit contamination when filling the glasses. It has been two years of trial and error, great learning and a lot of fun. Jegan stops to order his favorite dishes from the menu. In a few minutes, you can taste smoked yam galouti skewers served on saffron naan squares.
Kove’s dÃ©cor features designs inspired by the engineering and textile industries the region is known for. Copper-clad balustrades glow, and above, a vibrant ceiling displays fabrics of different textures, prints and colors. Handmade ethnic tile patterns make up the flooring.
A 25-member team led by Chef Murugesan V from Sri Lanka oversees the kitchen. The hardest part was the menu, Jegan admits. âTo avoid price comparisons, we’ve kept our Annapoorna staples out of the way. At Kove, they also pay for the experience. We call it progressive cooking and that will be our USP.
His travel experiences inspired him to merge global ideas with traditional favorites. For example, Kove’s curd arancini is a South Indian variation on the Sicilian staple where the rice balls are stuffed, coated in breadcrumbs and fried. Entries include vazhaippoo kola urundai served with curry leaf mayonnaise. There are the dim sum: stuffed with spinach, corn and paneer, as well as the crystal dim sum with shitake, oyster mushrooms and oyster mushrooms.
A place called home
Breaking with tradition, they are accompanied by four dips – exo (dried garlic and chilli dip), Korean peppers, spring onions in olive oil and a Sri Lankan dip.. Highlighting the attention to detail here, the dim sum also includes a handcrafted, caviar-like filling made from balsamic vinegar and agar agar.
Jegan talks about another favorite: rendang, an Indonesian specialty made with beef or duck. “We replaced it with kari pala (breadfruit) and amazed by the taste and texture. And the best way to enjoy it is with a bowl of steamed jasmine rice. The menu also offers Neapolitan wood-fired pizzas with a crisp, airy base and homemade tortellini. There is also a fusion in the dessert menu, red beet halwa with cranberry cream and Irish panna cotta with blueberry consomme, tiramisu and coffee caviar. âFor the jasmine cheesecake, we distill fresh jasmine flowers to infuse the flavors.
Yes, there is an attached bar. And the local flavors have been infused into the cocktails. Try it blood poo infusion or nannari Negroni. What does Kove represent? âA new fusion of Kovai and love,â Jegan said, adding âWhat other better name to show our love for the city we owe everything to?â