With a new show kitchen and a view to match, Upper Deck at Vivanta by Taj Fisherman’s Cove beckons
The attractions at Vivanta By Taj- Fisherman’s Cove keep getting better. After all, the hotel in the fishing hamlet of Kovalam prides itself on offering guests a host of activities ranging from catamaran rides and deep sea fishing to the more humble turtle walk. “The Watch Tower is booked at least six times in a month. We have many guests coming from as far as Bangalore to experience it,” says assistant food and beverage manager Brij Rajpali, about their intimate dining set up that sees about four proposals every month.
As we stroll through the villas leading up to the recently relaunched Upper Deck, Rajpali informs us that a new bar counter, show kitchen and revamped menu are part of the deal. We also find new cabanas lined up on the sea-facing side of the al fresco diner. In the cosy comfort of one of these cabanas, we soon find ourselves trying to decide whether we will be having the boonoonoonoos kebab or mezza platter for starters. Thankfully chef Ganeshkumar Murthy, who has crafted the set menu for us, points out that it wouldn’t hurt to try both. We nod in agreement and lean back to discover the simple pleasures that only a basket of breads (pita, focaccia, garlic, etc) and dips (hummus, baba gnoush, mayo, etc) paired with the reflection of the moon on the ocean can provide. So you’ll understand that we couldn’t tear away and focus on the kitchen action instead.
Waves of taste
Before long, the platter and sliced lamb kebab arrive, and we’re glad we took the chef’s advice. Yet somehow the simplicity of the tomato soup (poured over a crisp tortilla with sour cream) that follows manages to outshine the effects of the Arabian spices and crunchy nuts in the decadent boonoonoonoos. We drown the sound of breaking waves with our slurps. A couple of licks of berry sorbet later, we’re ready for the mustard herb-crumbed lamb rack and crustaceans (pesto-scampi, lemon garlic-lobster, aglio olio-tiger prawn with potato mash and grilled veggies) — paired with glasses of white and red from the bar counter, of course. After all this, a walk to the Watch Tower becomes mandatory. Fortunately, there is a hotel cab waiting to drive us back home.
Meal for two at Rs. 4,500 plus tax. Details: 67413333
— Ryan Peppin