In its fight with Ooty and Kodaikanal for a bigger chunk of the hill station tourist pie in Tamil Nadu, Yercaud capitulated a long time ago. And rightfully so. This tiny hill station has very little to offer in terms of sightseeing and whatever little there is, can be covered in an afternoon’s rickshaw ride. With other leisure activities like boating and the botanical gardens on a pause due to Covid restrictions the amusement options are fewer.
While we were in Yercaud just to stretch our cramped lockdown spirits, by the third day we were looking for something stimulating and pounced on the opportunity to visit Sweet Rascal a by appointment only restaurant. The appointment has to be made in person so you can be vetted for admittance. Entry only for lovely and nice people. Drunkards, hooligans, politicians, rogues, scoundrels and blaggards keep away, says his board.
Besides the Indian, Italian and continental cuisine on offer what makes this restaurant truly special is the ebullient, and accomplished owner Dr. Vishu Kaliappa.
Dr. Vishu is a real raconteur and I can honestly say I haven’t had such an effortless conversation with a stranger in a long time.
Other than his obvious culinary skills, he is a hard-core biker. One of his rides originated in Ulan Bator and culminated in Singapore. Among his long list of achievements is his ongoing deal to design bespoke suits for a leading European fashion house. Vishu also loves animals and birds. He breeds many show dogs which are part of competitions all over Europe.
Your order is taken in longhand that borders on calligraphy and you are encouraged to socialize with the dogs and check out the premises while it is being prepared.
Most of the space is devoted to alfresco dining and the atmosphere is very tropical, complete with exotic plants, a few macaws and talking cockatoos. Every available blank space, from walls to table surfaces, pillars and skirtings spout wisdom and humour. Keeps you amused while waiting for your order to arrive.
We ordered an egg dosa, a plate of fried salmon, batter fried prawns and an octopus curry. The meal was lip smacking and the portions generous. Along with the modest tab we were presented with a customer rating score card stating we were not black listed and the super friendly sorts.
Thanks for the memorable meal, Dr. Vishu!