Restaurant Decor: Authentic Tulu food in a rustic Tulunad setting

At our last visit back home to Mangalore, our family was treated to a meal at Guthu Hospitality. The meal was excellent yes, and the ambiance definitely made the taste buds work at their best! There's something about tasting a cuisine in its hometown, cooked with authentic local ingredients, and eaten in an authentic setting, that makes the culinary experience extremely delightful!

Promoted by Sandeep Shetty, and managed by Sylvester Rai, Guthu Hospitality is all about eating an authentic Bunt** meal, in an authentic setting. The restaurant actually has 3 levels – the “Atta” (the Tulu word for attic) level which is made with a thatched roof and other locally available material, the “Panchayat” level, on which this post is all about, and a more modern level which is like a regular well done-up restaurant.

"The Panchayat” caught my fancy because of the rustic setting. The use of everyday things in the décor make it oh so ogle-full! If you visit the village home of any “old and moneyed” family in and around Mangalore, you are sure to see all these things, some of them in the garden, some of them in the shed, and some inside the main house itself. I’ll point them out in the photographs* as we go along :)

That's actually a local fishing boat hanging from the roof. When I clicked this picture at mid-day,
the hotel staff were busy 'sturdy'ing
up the decor, and generally readying
the place for their dinner guests.
Mangalore has the sea and lots of rivers,
so in the villages it
is not unusual for a family to own a boat like this.

Rattan chairs, copper vessels and cutlery - such a simple table
arrangement, yet so perfect!

Quite a center piece there - furniture, kitchen implements and brass heirloom lamps. Let me
know if you need help recognizing these items.

Bunts are traditionally an agricultural community. It is very common to
see bullocks ploughing their fields, and bullock carts were an absolute necessity

especially when it was time to take produce to the market.

The water well, the lifeline of every rural community. Don't miss the 'kodapana'
or the copper pot used to draw water.

I couldn't identify what these were, but Padmavani was kind enough to email me
and let me know that,"the table is padimancha, a threshing table, the stick on the right looks like
a pounding stick called ujjre. The two on the extreme left are the cattle yolks
for ploughing called Nuga."

This is a 'gurke' more commonly known as 'mande'- often seen in bathing areas and kitchens.
It consists of a big pot affixed to
a cemented or stone structure.
Usually, there is an opening on the outer wall
through which a fire is lit,
to heat up the water in the vessel. Hot water for everyone, through the day!

These "ari mudis" are common sights in village homes during the harvest season.

A picture of a Yakshagana' artiste. Yakshagana is a popular dance-drama
art form in Mangalore's coastal belt.

On the wall here, are the rope and lashes used in
the "Kambla" or buffalo race - which is a
popular and ancient local
sport in this part of the country.

These are called 'korumbu' and their uses are many. Working in the fields under the
blazing sun, workers use them
as caps to protect themselves. They are also
used as makeshift
utensils. Out in the villages I have seen locals pick up
berries and fruit and carry them home in these, and here
they are, making
such an interesting statement on the wall!

(Ignore the member of my family walking down the stairs)

These flat decorations on the wooden frame are called 'kudupu' or 'thatti kudupu' and they are used
as lids on vessels. The wooden frame is usually used as a
clothes horse. Here, the frame acts
as a room divider, and visually
separates the eating area from the washrooms
in the restaurant. The 'kudupus'
are made out of wild
creepers and they make an interesting decor statement here.

Notice the unpainted laterite brick walls, the red oxide floor, bamboo roof, and the areca trellises hanging on the pillars. Very rustic, very charming!

*Thanks to for willingly sharing the pictures of Guthu with me. Only the last two pictures are mine. Some of the interior work was still in progress during my visit at Guthu, and when I found their pictures more 'complete', Roshan was very co-operative, and gave me instant permission! Many thanks, Roshan!

Thanks also to Padmavani Karkera and to my dad for supplying the Tulu words for the descriptions in the pictures, and for chipping in with some editing suggestions on this piece.

**FYI, the enterprising Bunt community is responsible not only for the famous Udupi and Kundapur restaurants all over the world, but also for its contribution to India's Celebrity A list - Aishwarya Rai, Suniel Shetty and Shilpa Shetty!

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