Discovering Linger Leisure and Balur Estate in 2012 is perhaps one of my biggest achievements in life. We fell in love with Balur & the Linger Leisure hospitality the first time we visited the coffee plantation. We had driven away at the end of an idyllic two day trip with promises to return soon…little did we know that we would keep returning each year, sometimes twice.
Balur, over the years, has been witness to many special moments. Arya’s first road trip and vacation with us. The much needed break that healed us when we were on the verge of burnout. A celebration of our journey as a couple. Tranquil moments with friends and family who have accompanied us on a few of our trips.
If you had to ask me what I love the most about Balur, I would be hard pressed to choose one aspect. That absolutely magnificent view of the hills? The unpretentious, yet luxurious rooms, especially the Cardamom suites? The easy hospitality of Rakesh, the caretaker who has been there since 2012? The long walks in the plantation hearing nothing but the wind rustling through the trees, the birds chirping, the streams gurgling down the valley, and the sound of our own voices. Or the meals cooked by Pramila?
Over the years, we’ve visited other places, and while they’ve offered us similar accommodation and views, nothing has come close to the simple, but absolutely delicious meals we’ve had at Balur. A veritable spread awaits us at each meal. The dishes prepared by Pramila using locally sourced ingredients stick true to the region, offering outsiders like us an insight into the cuisine of the region, and we’ve had many wonderful meals over the years, while soaking in the view of the Western Ghats.
Mealtimes at Balur have always meant a discovery of the simple and beautiful flavours of the local cuisine with vegetables I wouldn’t normally cook at home. Some of my most memorable meals include the beans poriyal and the jackfruit (growing on the Estate) and chickpea preparation that we had last year, served with puran polis and hot-off-the-stove rice flour rotis.
And then there are the souvenirs of lazy afternoons, and evenings by the bonfire with endless cups of coffee and onion bhajiyas on the loop!
My favourite meal at Balur, however, is breakfast. I look forward to the incredible spread, and wonder if Pramila will serve sannas, set dosas, neer dosas, appe or the sweet banana and jaggery puris. Balur is also one of the only places where I have the sambaar, and serve chutney like it’s a main dish!
And as if all this food isn’t enough, I also have to have at least two or three slices of bread with those utterly cute, thin omelettes that’s a staple at every breakfast at Balur…since we leave for the city right after breakfast, the meal is also a perfect send-off.