Step in for some hearty Malabar cuisine at this wallet-friendly spot
Chemmeen in Malayalam means small prawns. They may be small but they pack a punch in terms of flavour and taste. Dr Thomas Chandy, orthopaedic specialist and owner of Chemmeen, the restaurant, channels his passion for food and music into this well-lit, spacious restaurant. The cuisine is robust, full of flavour and easy on the pocket. They have stuck to dishes from coastal Kerala, and thankfully kept it ‘multi-cuisine’ free.
My dining companions and I were pretty hungry to start off with. So we decided to sample a couple of starters just to whet our appetite. We tried the excellent pomfret tawa fry — fresh, large fish shallow fried with a robust red masala, a wonderful lingering taste of black pepper and the tart taste of red chillies and lime. The Chemmeen masala fry didn’t disappoint either nor did the succulent pork roast. What impressed me most though was that the masala in each dish was distinct in appearance and taste.
For the mains, we ordered all the comfort foods. Meen curry (with fresh soft pieces of seer fish), duck roast (with its gaminess and the familiar aroma of curry leaves and garam-masalas), and the all-time favourite Malabar mutton curry. No self-respecting meal from Kerala is complete without red rice and iddiappams. Though the appams were light and fluffy, the iddiappams were a tad stodgy due to an over enthusiastic dose of grated coconut. We also ordered the mutte roast – boiled eggs coated with dry ground masalas and grated coconut, which was the last straw that broke an already over-stuffed camel’s back. But we were not finished as yet.
On the gentle insistence of the wait staff, we were coaxed into trying their famous payasam or rice pudding sweetened with jaggery (which lends it a very distinct flavour) and infused with dried fruits and nuts. A mention must be made of the jars of delicious in-house pickled prawn, beef and lime as well as fresh papads that arrive at your table gratis before you begin.
Rs800++. At Richmond Road, Near Lifestyle store. Details: 9900044130