Kerala known as the “Land of Spices” has a cuisine which offers a multitude of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes and is said to be linked to its history, geography and culture.
Malabar cuisine is assumed to have been influenced by various cultures making it distinctive. Kozhikode and Thalassery are mainly the centres of Malabar cuisine. In Bangalore, the trend begun with the “Thalassery biryani” and now Malabar food has become very popular with the food lovers here.
Being a hard core food lover I visit many restaurants for different cuisines except for restaurants serving Kerala cuisine since I am from God’s own country hence the thrill of tasting familiar cuisine doesn’t interest me.However that perception went for a mighty toss after my visit to Malabar Bay and I must say I was truly humbled.
Being in the food circle, it is but natural for some meet ups just to catch up, gossip and eat good food which is not possible to do for us bloggers normally. Malabar Bay was a suggestion from one such foodie and finally we managed to make it there for a weekday lunch.
Though mentioned BTM, it was located very close to Forum Mall. The restaurant has a non-conspicuous entrance especially from the outside and only once you enter you realize how spacious the place is with two floors of seating. The ground floor caters for breakfast, students, bus crowd and the evening crowd all who want to grab a quick bite. The first floor is divided into 2 areas, one for the office crowd who expect quick service and a separate area, which is for more leisurely dining.
A quick walk through the first floor would bring a smile to your face as every turn would remind you of Kerala and that is the intention of such decor.
Though I would normally not mention about the service staff in the beginning of a review, I felt it is right to mention the friendly nature of the staff who had a genuine smile on their lips from the time we entered the restaurant.
Since we were a big boisterous group we decided to occupy the leisure dining area where we knew we could relax and have a good time without disturbing the other patrons.
To begin our meal, we all decided to try a few of their mocktails – Bay of Malabar, Ginger Bay, Tender Bay, Green Mango cooler, Samba Lime, Heavenly Cooler and few more that I fail to recollect. I liked all the drinks but the Bay of Malabar and Green Mango Cooler were a personal favourite. Who would have thought a restaurant known for their food would serve up some delightful drinks!
My favourite part of any meal is always the starters. I fill myself with starters and normally jump straight to dessert. With this in mind, some of us (me included) went a bit haywire in ordering the starters. We started with a light Seafood Soup that was a nice way to begin our meal.
Some of the starters I recollect from memory were – Prawns Tawa Fry, Malapuram Chicken, Avoli Thawa Fry, Mutton Liver Roast, Mutton Roast, Koyilandy Chicken Fry, Malabar Mushroom fry, Chemmeen Kondattam, Kozhi Thullichathu, Duck Mappas, Vazhi Thirinna Kozhi Fry.
For those not familiar with Malayalam these dishes would sound very weird but if you are lucky enough to have a Mallu friend then I suggest you take his/her help in ordering. As is noticeable from the above list, we tried everything from Chicken to Mutton to Mutton liver as well as seafood.
To add a little lightness to the heavy dishes, the staff got us a plate of Spicy Raw Mango Salad, which complemented our meal. I loved their Chicken (Kozhi) and Prawn preparations though their Mutton dishes were good too. My best dishes among the starters were the Prawns Tawa Fry and Vazhi Thirinna Kozhi.
Traditional Kerala food is vegetarian which includes Kerala Sadya, which is an elaborate meal prepared for festivals and weddings. A full-course Sadya is served on a plantain leaf and consists of rice with 20-30 different accompaniments and desserts is eaten usually on festivals such as Onam and Vishu. We had a chance to taste a smaller version of Sadya meal which is comfort food for me. This is an excellent choice of meal for a weekday lunch.
With room for very little, some of us braved a few main course dishes – Pothichor, Appam with Chicken Shappu Curry, Allepey Veg Curry and Tomato fry. I was glad to notice there were many dishes for the vegetarians as well here.
The showstopper was the Pothichor which not only looks like a work of art when served but tastes as good as it looks. Though Appam is staple dish at my home the combination with Chicken Shappu curry was delicious.
Finally coming to dessert, which I could only nibble into due to the large amount of food I gorged till now. My bravehearted friends ordered for Biscuit Pudding, Kairali Jamuns, Banana Toffee Ice Cream, Phirni and Shahi Tukda.
I tried them all, though I really took a liking to their Biscuit Pudding which I landed up ordering 2 nos. as a takeaway to relish at home.
We ended the meal with Chukku Kappi,which is a herbal concoction perfect to digest food after a heavy meal.
This experience was an eye opener for me as I realized there is a lot to be tried even in your own cuisine and hats off to these guys for the great food they are dishing out every day.
Ambiance – 4/5
Service/Hospitality – 4.5/5
Food Taste – 4.5/5
Quantity/Quality – 4.5/5
Value for Money – 4/5