Saturday, May 3, 2008

Rainmaker's --- Colors Of The Rainbow

Our friends Mathew and Dhanya own this awesome shack in a small hill-town called Lonavala. Mathew was a video-film maker by profession but the grime and grind of Mumbai made him take an existential leap and start a barbecue shack in this beautiful, sleepy little town. The shack is called The Rainmaker’s, though it reminds me of a rainbow. They have built the place and decorated it themselves. It is such a burst of colors, and my husband and I just love going there on a weekend.



I think that words can’t really do justice to the way the shack looks. So, I am just putting up some pictures. It has three sections; the kitchen, the seating area where the food is served and a small private area where Mathew’s friends hang out and smoke a sheesha, or just listen to music. My favorite part, of course, is the kitchen. That’s where Dhanya conjures up her magical cuisine; Indian tribal food menu, Khati Rolls, Frankies, Tribal Prawn Curry, Herbed Brown Rice, Jungle Chicken Curry, Kerala Parantas, Iced Tea, Lime Peppa Soda, and Cold Coffee! She does most of the cooking herself, assisted only by one local, who helps serve the guests too. The most important feature of Dhanya’s cooking is the way she experiments with classic recipes, giving them a modern, local twist. The ingredients are always incredibly fresh and of the best quality. Which is perhaps why a lot of tourists and ex-pats have made Rainmaker’s their favorite haunt in Lonavala. To watch her in action is just amazing. She is effortless and relaxed, adding a dash of powdered herbs here, checking the gravy there. The results, of course, are deliciously divine.



Dhanya in her kitchen

Next comes the Dining area. Boy, you’ve never seen so much color in your life! And the view can only be experienced, not written about. Though the shack is breathtaking around the year, the best time to visit is during the monsoon months. I love the knick-knacks that the couple has brought in from across the country and used as decorations in the shack. From the moment you step in, the ambience works as a mood enhancer, energizing and relaxing you at the same time. The music is always good and suits the place. And for those who don’t want to go back ever, there are board-games to pass time between repeat orders. Mathew loves photography and his love for it is quite visible in the shack. Framed pictures adorn the walls and add to the eccentric character of the place.



Mathew and Dhanya, and now her brother Francy attend to the guests personally. In between all the chopping and the cooking, Dhanya manages to take out time to chat, making sure that every meal has been made to cater perfectly to the individual tastes of her guests. And the list of Rainmaker’s loyalists keeps on growing. From movie stars, to bikers, Dhanya’s cooking has everyone coming back for more.



Color everywhere!

No matter how many times we visit, we can never really tire of the shack. Because Dhanya will always have something new on the menu. In fact, I did a stint as a guest chef at the shack and really loved it. More on that later.

20 comments:

Sanam Karunakar said...

wow this place sounds yummie ;)
where exactly in lonavala is it? would love to go there sometime :)

Sunset Goddess said...

So this the famous "barbecue shack", we have heard so much about!!!! It's awesome, Prati!!!
I need to go to India......SOON!!!

Pratishtha Durga said...

Sanam: The shack is indeed yummylicious! It's very close to Bushi dam. In fact, a couple of weeks back, i was telling Dhanya about you, Magic and Laika... Mathaew and dan too have a black lab, Boygo....

Goddess: Yup, that's the one. Oh, yes, you MUST come down. In fact, I do think that India would have been an ideal place for the "retreat".

Vain and Vapid said...

Sounds like a lovely place as does the food. Quaint family run places hidden away can be so much fun...

The Clothes Horse said...

That places looks and sounds great. Hawaii (I lived there for three years) had similar weather, not as hot but it just was warm and then warm and wet.
Getting carded, is slang it just means they asked to see my i.d. card before they would let me purchase a movie ticket. You have to be 17 to see R rated films, so apparently the boy thought I looked 16 or younger...

Pratishtha Durga said...

Vain and Vapid: Oh yes, Mumbai has lots of places like this. Well, not as colorful, but just as great!

Clothes Horse: Oh then, I am right on target. I guessed that correctly! Do you know that I did a stint as a guest chef at this awesome place? Did some nice chicken dishes there :)

Sunset Goddess said...

That can still happen!!!and I am sure it would be a hit....

Caroline said...

that sounds so fun! id love to open a place like that.

Pratishtha Durga said...

Yeah Caroline :) Me Too!!!

Anonymous said...

the way you have written sounds like you read our minds!
keep it goin pratz...and hey come around rainmaker's shack is just getting better!

mathew said...

the way you have written sounds like you read our minds!
keep it goin pratz...and hey come around rainmaker's shack is just getting better!

Monisha said...

sounds cool.. will be takin a weekend off soon.. now i know where im heading... thanks a mil!!
P.S. this is my first ever comment on any blog.. cheers!

Hemant said...

Hi Guyz...i know u wud be surprised to hear this but this couple has becum famouse in Lonavla as a cheater couple who were living on rent in my Bungalow for almost two years and i had to file a police complaint to get my bungalow vacated. So beware and be carefull of these people as they r very sweet in talking but their intentions are creepy.

payal said...

hay moon and dhanya it was a best b'day gift that I have given to Gautam by visiting ur cool and welcoming rainmaker as he was very happy after eating the yummy grilled sandwiches and my little one was happy to.Thks a lot and all the very best to u will soon meet up with more friends with us.

thakkudu said...

Dhanya..THIS SOUNDS REALLY GREAT.Smart girl...I really want to know more about your restaurant.Every thing arranged in a perfect manner.You are far away from that College girl in St.Teresa's.You looks more pretty now.

bhupesh said...

hello , m bhupesh kothari from santacruz mumbai , i visited on 1st of july 2008 with my frnds, it was dam good , sexy place and atmosphere was awesome , it will be a definate comeback for me and my friends , we liked the service of mathew , dhania and the other guy who was serving , dnt remeber his name ....
bye , bhupesh

ψ 84735 said...

Namaste !

:)

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Anonymous said...

One of the worst experiences we had in recent times. The food taste is absolutely pathetic, the pasta was cold.. I never knew that pastas are eaten cold in this part of the world! The whole place had a weird stink of the loo next door & when we tried to bring this to the owners notice, he snubbed his nose & said that this is what it is, take it or leave it. This guy is in the wrong business of hospitality & probably all the blogs about the shack are written by him under all the different ids coz thats was he was doing on the laptop the whole time we were there ( indulging in cheap self promotions on the blog) instead of attending the guests. As it is there were no other guests as only we 4 were the only guests. Probably people have realised that the place is no more happening & have started giving it a miss. I certainly wouldn’t recommend this place to even my enemies….

Raj said...

ne of the worst experiences we had in recent times. The food taste is absolutely pathetic, the pasta was cold.. I never knew that pastas are eaten cold in this part of the world! The whole place had a weird stink of the loo next door & when we tried to bring this to the owners notice, he snubbed his nose & said that this is what it is, take it or leave it. This guy is in the wrong business of hospitality & probably all the blogs about the shack are written by him under all the different ids coz thats was he was doing on the laptop the whole time we were there ( indulging in cheap self promotions on the blog) instead of attending the guests. As it is there were no other guests as only we 4 were the only guests. Probably people have realised that the place is no more happening & have started giving it a miss. I certainly wouldn’t recommend this place to even my enemies….