Known for their expertise in coastal flavours, Karavalli at The Gateway Hotel delves into Malayali delicacies offering city foodies an authentic taste of Syrian Christian specials. With an interesting mix of indigenous produce and European styles, the community that is native to Kerala, has carved out a flavourful niche of its own over generations. Courtesy visiting chef Mathai Thomas, we got a thorough tasting.
We started our meal with fist-sized succulent tiger prawns – nandan konju ulartu, which set the pace for the rest of meal. Lightly tossed in spices and green chillies, the fennel lingered pleasantly on your palate till the fresh silver fish took over. Then came roasted chicken morsels (kozhi roast) tossed with ginger and spices. Syrian Christian cuisine has some ingenious veggie fare like their superb vazhapoo cutlet and kappa vadas. Vazhapoo or banana flowers, are mixed with sweet potatoes and pan fried while the latter, made from tapioca, is stuffed with a combination of spices accompanied by delicious chutneys.
For the mains, we tried the famed karimeen pollichatu (crispy fried pearl spot fish in a thick coconut gravy), a tender lamb curry and a succulent taraav (duck) roast. Accompanied with the famous puttu and rice pancakes (kallapam).
As a die-hard non-vegetarian, I was humbled by the excellent jackfruit seed and cashew stir fry and the kadachakka thiyal (delicate breadfruit cooked in coconut, jaggery and tamarind). The meal ended perfectly with mulayari payasam – bamboo rice (available only once every 40 years when bamboos flower) cooked in thick and creamy coconut milk and sweetened with a generous dose of jaggery. The festival is on until the end of the month and must be on ones to-do list.
Rs 1,500++. At Residency Road. Details: 66604545