A bite of Bannur mutton

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Impresario Handmade Restaurant Launches Its Event Series of Local Culinary Heroes with Carnivore Kitchen Collaboration

The pandemic has helped turn the culinary arts inward, with home cooks experimenting with Dalgona coffee and artistic focus. The most pleasing trend to emerge out of the continuing lockdown is the popularity of the home catering business. Across cities, home cooks provide fresh, local dishes that bring relief to families. Impresario Handmade Restaurant, which runs popular chains like Smoke House Deli, Salt Water Cafe and Social, is celebrating Home Chef with its new initiative Local Heroes.

The first installment runs till September 28 across all Bengaluru social locations, with Home Chef Kalyan Gopalakrishna of Carnivore Kitchen in collaboration with City Chef Saurabh Arora of Social.

Gopalakrishna specializes in nati (country/domestic) cuisine, native to Karnataka, with a focus on his non-vegetarian offerings. The emergence of Carnivore Kitchen in April 2020 was an act of providence, when Chef Kalyan was forced to shut down his Balanced Plate Cafe in Bengaluru, with over eight kilograms of meat sitting in his freezer. He started with a simple menu offering local cuisine, cooking over 30 kilograms a week. Now he offers a smorgasbord of local meaty dishes celebrating lamb, chicken and pork.

“I have taken the local delicacies from Mysore and Bangalore, following in the footsteps of my mother. I don’t use any oil, and only cook with fat derived from meat. The spice mix we use in our dishes is packed with more black pepper (from Malnad) and whole garam masala (from Delhi). I focus on Bannur mutton: a local breed of sheep that is rich in fat and flavour.”

The dishes offered at SOCIAL are Bannur Mutton Chops Fry, Bannur Mutton Palava, Bannur Mutton Pepper Roast, Carnivore Chili Chicken and Chili Pork, and Pork Belly Fry. The chops are fall-off-the-bone tender, marinated with a pepper-forward wet rub and then cooked on the stove top. Bannur Mutton Palava consists of short grain rice that absorbs the fat from the mutton, and the masala builds up with every bite.

a piece of bannur mutton

“The Bannur sheep are reared with a rich diet of milk bread, green gram and cereals, and at six months they weigh three times that of regular lambs,” explains the chef.

Thanks to the month-long collaboration with SOCIAL, all the natti chicken, pork and lamb are sourced from the same butchers used by the home chef, and all the spice blends have been prepared by Chef Kalyan.

A curated cocktail menu by SOCIAL complements the spicy meat offerings with citrusy-sweet notes and local ingredients. ‘Don’t Mango Yourself’ is an extra dry martini made with raw mango flavored vodka. Chili Pork packs quite the punch, leaving you looking to the Gin Fizz Cocktail for relief. The drink consists of a panaka of jaggery, black pepper, cardamom, saffron, dry ginger and lime juice.

City Chef Saurabh Arora says that the drink and food pairing has worked well. They trained with Chef Kalyan for three weeks to achieve a similar taste at six locations, “We also helped chefs standardize their dishes,” says Chef Arora. Carnivore Kitchens is the first of several collaborations in both Bengaluru and social venues by Ranveer Sabani, Business Head – South, Impresario Handmade Restaurants. “It is a litmus test for us and our next offering in Bengaluru will be Bohri Cuisine.”

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