The Colonial Era has always been something magical for me. It takes me back to that age in my life where I was curled up with classics like Little Women, Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights along with historical romance novels. Such a lovely time in your life where you don’t have a care in the world – the stress of studying, getting a good job or managing a family is non-existent. I would imagine being back in the Colonial/Victorian period, wondered what it would be like to be dressed in corsets and be a part of the ‘Debutante Balls’, eating all the food that was described: pies, hot chocolate, toast with honey along with tea! Luckily for me, I actually had the chance to visit a place that has been so wonderfully restored and maintained to give me just that feeling and let the wonderful memories from my books wash over me.
S, his family and I took a trip to the beautiful town of Wellington, India this Diwali. I had been to Ooty when I was very young and apparently had been to Wellington, but I had no recollection of the place. The Wellington Gymkahana Club is steeped in a different kind of history – a mix of British and Army culture. The food is typical club food with great eggs, sandwiches and South Indian food but does tend to get a little boring, especially if you plan on staying there for 5 days. The 2nd Day, we decided to walk down and explore what was close to us. Wellington is a little way away from the Conoor market and there really isn’t much in close proximity. After a short 20 minute walk, we came across McIver Resort.
What a view! It overlooks the valley and you can seen the colorful houses that cover the Nilgiri mountains. They have the most lovely, colorful flowers planted in the property and that definitely puts you in a sunny disposition. We entered through their dining area and I felt like we were transported back to some other era. The dining area is all wooden, with accents of French decor and has a lovely fireplace. The windows are long and give you an unobstructed view of the valley, the tables are wooden and the chairs are simple yet elegant. We were the only ones in the restaurant and were happy to take up a table that would give us the best view.
The menu has cuisine options of French, European, Thai, Lebanese, Indian and Italian. A very mixed menu usually makes me nervous because the food is always a mish mash of the different spices. Nevertheless, I was quite sure I would enjoy what they had to offer because I had heard such great reviews about the place. We began with a French Onion Soup. As someone who has started eating onions just about a year and a half ago, this was my first French Onion Soup. It was a thin broth, flavored with the sweet taste of Caramelized onions with croutons that were topped with eggs. I personally enjoyed the flavors because it wasn’t very heavy on the onions.
Next we ordered some ‘bruschetta’ which was actually bread, with a layer of basil pesto and some lovely melted mozzarella cheese. The bread was delicious, freshly-baked, home bread! In the cool air, the aroma of hot, fresh bread awakened by senses. The basil pesto piqued my interest – I don’t know if it was just my imagination, but I swear I could taste a hint of tea as an end note. The hot, melted mozzarella cheese was a little much in my opinion, but it was piping hot which made it better. The bread came after the soup and the lovely weather just made everything go together heavenly.
For mains, we decided to get a simple Veggie pizza. This was the only disappointing part of our lunch. We ordered one with olives, and they were charging a good Rs. 75 more for just the olives, and the pizza came with only onions and tomatoes. We did talk to the server who said they would not charge us for the original pizza and just for a simple pizza, but it was a bit of damper. The pizza was a square shaped one, with the dough tasting nice and yeasty. The pizza was not overloaded with cheese, which is something we prefer. The tomato sauce was simple and tasted fresh. All in all, we really did enjoy that piping hot pizza while looking out at the beautiful valley and feeling the clouds enveloping us every once in a while. All I missed was a nice glass of a Cabernet Sauvignon.
By this time we were both so full but when we heard that the dessert of the day was ‘Apple Pie’ there was no way we could say no. Their version of an apple pie was completely unlike any I have eaten before. The pastry tasted very buttery, a tad salty and I think they did use yeast in the pie pastry. The apple filling consisted of apple slices that were sprinkled with a little bit of cinnamon and they had some absolutely plain, unflavored cream on the side. I personally feel the cream could have been sweetened a little bit, but after such a heavy meal, I was happy to avoid it completely.
McIvers Resort has some beautiful, restored rooms that really make you feel like a part of history. There are old style fireplaces, beds with canopies, old style tables, corridors that are decorated with French-style painted plates and fresh, clean air that really takes you back in time. I loved the place and would love to stay here for a night or two whenever I go back to Conoor.
More information can be found about McIvers Resort here.
After all that delicious food, we needed to stretch our legs and walked around the property. Here are some pictures of the resort.
Next up, I’ll be posting about where we stayed – Wellington Gymkhana.