Disclaimer- This article is especially for the Officers of Defence Services Staff College,Wellington. However, Anyone visiting the Nilgiris should give it a read to know the amazing food joints in and around the area.
Hey guys first and foremost let me congratulate you all for making it to the Salubrious climes. Believe you me this is going to be the best year of your life, though the pace of the course will be so fast that before the feeling sinks in, it will almost be over! That’s the reason I am here, so that I can share my experiences to help you all make the most of your stay in the Nilgiris. More so for the ladies, let your husband study, he doesn’t have a choice but you surely do.
Velvety and perfectly manicured tea estates, rolling hills, floating clouds, friendly locals, dense forests, old world charm, colonialism in the air, salubrious climes and glossy lakes. Isn’t this all dreamy? Well, that’s how Wellington looks like and hold on, I’m not talking about New Zealand. It’s Wellington, a little hilly town nestled in the lap of the Nilgiris near Ooty in Tamil Nadu. A place which sees people from the Tri-Services every year moving in for about a year and calling it Home. We’ve had an amazing tenure and got to explore so many places which I thought to pen down.
And as they say there’s no sincerer love than the love of food so I’ve complied some of the best places to eat and hang out in and around Wellington. Yes, what better than to start your day with some coffee at the cool cafes, stroll around the beautiful town and gorge on some heavenly food in chilly weather. I can’t believe I was on a laid back vacation for almost a year!! Ahh so before I get lost in that dreamy world of memories, here is the list of some interesting hotspots for you guys.
1. McIver 180
This century old heritage bungalow is no less than a paradise. Even the Bollywood couldn’t resist the charm of shooting here, the famous flick Kapoor and Sons was shot at this place. The property is massive with a coffee shop at the entrance, sprawling lawn and living up to it’s name by offering stunning 180 degrees view of the hills, tea gardens and Coonoor town. And you guys can also plan your course socials, Birthday parties here.
Their “La Belle Vie” restaurant is multi cuisine serving fresh organic food. The service however is slow and the food is just about ok. But still it never stopped us from visiting the place every now and then because of its overall ambience. Do try their Lamb Chops and Steak (You may take your Gin along with). Sitting outside in the garden and relishing food while enjoying the view will take your experience to a whole new level.
Phone- 90476 33022
Address- Mciver villa, 39/59 Thanthai Periyar Nagar, Coonoor, 643101
2. Cafe Diem
A beautiful little vegetarian cafe with the views to break the Instagram. It serves a mix of Mediterranean, Italian and French cuisine. The cafe is in the owners house so the entry is common, the whole setup of the house is a sight in itself. You must try their goat cheese fig pizza, veg platters, pumpkin soup and tarts. Do make the reservation before going there. It’s shut on Wednesdays and the timings otherwise are from 11am-7pm, however I’d recommend you to go before 5pm to have a good dose of the view.
Phone- 98450 01111
Address- Inside Camelot Heights 2a Kotagiri Road Bandi Sholai, Coonoor
3. The Culinarium
You’ll find this gem on Ooty- Coonoor road in Ketti valley offering fantastic view of the lavender fields and gorgeous enough to make you forget the world. The fine dining restaurant, patisserie and bar serves a mix of European, American and English food. Their pot pies are not to be missed. The patisserie section offers endless options to choose from, made to perfection and absolutely delectable. Everything here is deliciously sinful. You can come here for high-tea with your girl gang.
Phone- 0423 251 7293
Address- 75 Bicketty, Ketti Valley, Coonoor
4. Earls secret (King’s Cliff)
This was the first place I checked out when arrived in Wellington. It’s one of the most sought after heritage hotels, situated on a ledge with hills and forest just behind the property. The Victorian style lawns and decor will surely leave you mesmerised. Their continental food is too yum! Do try their pasta primavera and chicken supreme fillet. And since restaurants here don’t offer liquor so you can get your own and have a good time. This place doesn’t have a view though.
Phone- 0433 245 2888
Address- Police Quarters, Pudumund, Ooty
It’s a heritage themed hotel, a haven for relaxation away from the maddening crowd with some awesome views. The dog parents would be delighted to know that you can take your furry kid with you(Only in the lawn area though). I loved their food and the colonial ambience. It’s about 2.5 km from Ooty, this stretch is really bad. But that shouldn’t discourage you to visit this gorgeous place.
Phone- 0423 224 4000
Address- Tiger Hill Road, Upper Thalayatimund, Ooty
This has been our go to place, our watering hole on the weekends. The food is good, the only drawback is them shutting the place way too early! They’ve special DJ nights, Bollywood nights and live music which is good enough for weekends in a place like coonoor because this’s the only so called pub in the area.
Phone- 097873 17171
Address- No.36, Figure of 8 Rd. Coonoor
7. Darjeeling Momo
It’s not exactly a restaurant but a long street stall on charring cross, garden road, Elk Hill, Ooty. The ambience however is not good but the momos and thuk pa is too delicious. Our first visit here had us addicted to this place. It’s a Mecca for Tibetan food lovers.
Address- Charring Cross, Ooty
8. Hyderabad Biryani House
Being a hardcore Biriyani lover, HBH was my favourite and eating in my cosy den was a different feeling altogether. The minimum order for home delivery is 500₹. You can even go to their restaurant which is a decent place for lunch and dinner.
Phone- 0423 223 2223
Address- Mount Pleasant Rd, Near Railway Station, Kurumbadi, Coonoor
9. Tandoor Hut
There’s no better place to have kebabs and rolls in the Nilgiris. It’s a small outlet with parking right in front of it. The filling is generous with big juicy chicken chunks. Since there’s no place to sit so you can either eat standing or enjoy these delicacies in your car. It opens from 3:30 pm- 9:30 pm. Also the wait most of the times is for 30-40 minutes but guys it’s totally worth it. I loved their double chicken roll and normal chicken roll. Didn’t really like the chicken egg roll.
Phone- 94880 85059
Address- 27/130 B, Johnstone Square, Kota Hall Road, Kotaigiri
10. Open kitchen
Anyone for fresh-out-of-the oven pizza? I’m a huge fan of whole wheat thin crust pizzas and this place was my saviour in wellington. It’s a tiny place, you’d need to climb up the stairs and would be welcomed by the bright red door exuding pop culture vibe. You must try their bacon bomb pizza. The decor is tastefully done with movie posters, Harry Potter posters and old classic music makes it a cool place to hang out.
Address- Bedford, Coonoor
It’s a cute little cafe in Coonoor with great ambience ideal for sweet, savoury and delicious coffees. You must come to this place if you’re looking for a break from the typical South Indian food. The host Daniel is gregarious and takes extra attention in preparing your order. You can also pre order birthday cakes for special occasions. The timings are from 10am to 10pm.
Phone- 0423 223 3877
Address- 118f Bedford, Coonoor
12. Fernhills Royal Palace
This luxurious property is the erstwhile bungalow of the Maharaja of Mysore. Go there for royal and historic vibes. This place shot to fame with the movie Raaz. Their restaurant ‘Curry and Rice’ serves a wide variety of Continental, Chinese and Anglo Indian cuisine, the names of the dishes are very amusing. You’ll be blown away by the grandeur of this massive property so don’t give it miss.
Don’t confuse Fernhills Palace with the Sterling Fernhills, that’s a different property. Do check out Sterling as well, it’s gorgeous.
Phone- 0423 244 3910
Address– Fernhills Post, Nilgiris, Ooty
13. Taj Gateway
It’s an absolute delight with beautiful and serene surroundings. I loved visiting this place in the mornings, their lawns and gardens are just too pretty. You can go there and spend your time reading your favourite book in the garden while sipping hot and tasty cup of chai.
Phone- 0423 222 5400
Address- Church Road, Upper Coonoor
14. La Maison
Wanna experience the slice of France in the Nilgiris? Well come to La Maison, a beautiful heritage home owned by a French couple. This’s not a normal restaurant so you need to make prior reservation before coming. It’s like a farm house where you’d be welcomed by red necked turkeys, pet dogs, rabbits, ducks, pigeons and serenity! Their French food is good but I liked the Indian cuisine more. Take your wine along with and sit in the garden to enjoy the majestic view of the Nilgiris.
Another very important point to keep in mind is not to blindly follow google maps to reach there. You’ve to turn to your left near the Y junction after turning inside from the main road.
Phone- 9585857732, 9787258501
Address- Hadathorai, Nihung Post Office, Kotaigiri, The Nilgris.
15. Wellington Gymkhana Club(WGC)
One of the finest golf courses in the world, the Wellington Gymkhana Club exudes colonial charm maintaining its age old traditions. The view from the sitting area is breathtakingly beautiful and floating clouds often wrap around the place making it look totally magical. Go there for Sunday brunching to devour delicious delicacies and the stunning view! As such you’d receive texts regarding the events happening there. Do keep the dress code in mind like any other Fauji clubs.
This place is only for the affiliate members and DSSC student officers by default become members during the duration of the course.
This’s just like any other CCD, a nice place to hang out with friends.
Phone- 0423 2222 222
Address- Sim’s Park Road, Gray’s Hill, Coonoor.
This place is little far off from Ooty but the visit is worth it. The USP of this place is its infinity pool with a view to die for, Imagine watching three waterfalls while being in the pool! The hotel serves delicious buffet with spectacular view of the Nilgiris. You can go with your friends for a day out.
Pro Tip- Stay there till sunset to enjoy the scenic view of the rolling hills.
Phone- 080 4673 2005
Address- 2/213 Hullatthy Village, Ooty
18. Khana Khazana
A neat and clean place with decent ambience to have tasty food. The service is good and there’s enough space for parking right in front of the restaurant. Try breakfast on Sundays to enjoy crispy Vadas and melting idlis.
Phone- 090035 57477
Address- Bedford Circle, Gray’s Hill
Craving for spicy North Indian food or Chinese cuisine and don’t have time or mood to get ready and move out. Just order at home and get it delivered at your doorstep. You can also visit Jarokha and tickle your taste buds with delicious food.
Phone- 094863 16661
Address- Sim’s Park Road, Beside CCD, Coonoor
Ideal spot for Maharashtrian and Gujarati food. It’s a tiny little shop cum restaurant, more of an extended tea shop where you can enjoy Vada Pav, Dhokla, Chaat and similar kind of fast food.
Phone- 093666 62081
Address- All Saints Church Road, Coonoor
21. Orchid Square
I loved the rooftop area the most, you can even organise personal parties there with mesmerising views during the day. The restaurant has an inviting ambience and offers Indian, Asian and Chinese cuisine.
Phone- 0423 223 8306
Address- Upper Coonoor, Brooklands Road, Opposite Christian Mission Service
22. Other Places To Check Out
There’s no dearth of amazing places here, So do check out the below mentioned places as well.
Cafe Coffee Beans on McIver road is a cute and simple place to have coffee, fresh cakes, sandwiches.
Odea towards Mettupalayam is a great option for socials and to enjoy the scenic beauty as the long drive is full of waterfalls, tea gardens and zig zag road. There aren’t many food options but the place is spectacular. Do carry cash as they don’t accept cards due to internet issues. Make a phone call before you leave to have a good day with your friends.
Mud Pie in Coonoor for cakes and pastries. You can also order Birthday cakes from Crusts & Crumbs( 089409 94244) on Gorkha Hill road.
You can check out Eats cafe near Sim’s park. Royal cafe Ooty, Place To Bee Ooty, Angaara multi cuisine restaurant at Upper Bazaar Ooty.
A small idli shop near Sim’s park Bus Stop (it’s a little roadside kiosk serving fresh idli, uttapam and vada). The shop closes after 9am, I was initially sceptical about it as like any roadside place it looked shabby but you must try it once.
Ramachandra for takeaway chicken, it’s onto the left towards Coonoor- Bedford road immediately after crossing the car parking.
Hari Mess in Kotaigiri, a tiny place serving mouth watering non vegetarian. Sri Lakshmi Coonoor serves some amazing South Indian food, it’s in the main market area. This place is generally crowded with locals and the ambience is just about ok but the food is delicious.
There’re endless options but these are my top picks, easily accessible and serving delicious food.
I hope this information helps and makes your stay memorable. But I am sure after eating so much you would like to burn it out. So stay tuned for the next blog to help you explore best and even hidden gems in the Nilgiris for hiking. Looking for any particular information, just leave a comment.