As you pass by the by-lanes of the HMT Layout in Nagasandra, you will see a board of “Kariveppila” which in Malayalam means curry leaves, a key ingredient in Malayali cuisine. It is no wonder then that Ms Amala, the owner who offers few words but great tasty food, chose this as the name for her restaurant that specializes in Kerala meals and delicacies. It opened around 6 months ago and is now a hit amongst not just the Malayali students but also others from the nearby colleges. The food is served in banana leaves here, which is as authentic as it can get. What is indeed special is that Amala herself cooks and serves some of the dishes like fish fry to the customers, giving a very homely vibe.

Customers relishing the meal at Kariveppila

A former announcer in AIR in Kerala, Amala’s family relocated to Bengaluru due to her husband’s job. With free time at hand, she decided to do something of her own. “Initially the idea was to open a cafe. But when we saw this location, there were already too many cafes so we felt that we should start something that was not here. A lot of Malayali students in the nearby colleges craved good, authentic Kerala food. Being a Keralite, I know the taste and how to cook the cuisine, so then we changed the idea and decided to open a Kerala cuisine restaurant”, she said.

But not all journeys are easy. Ask her about the challenges she faces in running a restaurant and she says, “Everything was challenging for a person like me who was new to the business, but now it’s getting better as I’m learning the ways step-by-step. But in this industry specifically, it is very difficult to find staff.” She makes sure that no matter how many workers come and go, they should adapt to the recipes as the authentic taste cannot be compromised. Also being a parent at the same time is tough but she believes she is setting a great example to her daughter.

And what are the lessons that she has learnt in her short stint so far as a restaurateur? “Nothing is permanent. Everything keeps changing so we have to adjust. You have to keep in mind that not all days will be the same. Adaptation is the key.” Amala says that she has not given much thought to her plans in the industry as she has just started and is currently occupied with her work on Kariveppila.

Amala’s father serving the customers

She has a lot to accomplish in her current position before thinking about expanding. However, she hasn’t ruled out the possibility of exploring bigger opportunities in the future. Her biggest support system is her husband and her father, who helps her in the restaurant. But it’s a new experience for the whole family as nobody has been in this business before.

As per Amala, she is not a foodie, but the feeling of seeing her customers clean the leaf on which the food is served is indeed satisfying. “When I see the food served to the customers and see them enjoy every bite of it, it keeps me going despite all the challenges.”

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