Kerala is a costal state. Obviously, it is famous for delectable fish curries, which is something that us vegetarians cannot enjoy. The state is also famous for spices – walking through the spice market will surely make you crave for some aromatic curries and rice.
Worry not – for the vegetarian foodie tribe that would want to join us in our food expeditions in Kochi, here are our two cents. Read on for a vegetarian food trail through Fort Kochi, highlighting the five best meals that we had during our four day stay …..
For a quirky set up…Tea Pot Cafe
The mustard yellow walls envelop the place in a unique charm. The tea pot cafe has interiors lined up with tea pots and tea cups. It urges your to have a cuppa – like a little girl tugging at your dress with all her persistence.
The menu is limited for vegetarian meals – rice with vegetable stew or vegetable kurma – it’s a café after all, not a diner. The food here compliments a cup of tea or coffee. A sandwich and a slice of cake with our coffee is all that it takes to please us on a lazy afternoon.
The food was tasty, but not all items listed on the menu were available, thus limiting the choice further. We would recommend this place for a late afternoon cuppa when you are in a mood to read a book in nook.
Easy setting… Pepper House Cafe
We visited the Pepper House Cafe late in the afternoon while we were restaurant hopping. Housed in an old building, the cafe transports you back to college. With young crowd around, you do feel younger… on the right side of 30!
The sit out faces a porch with a grass carpet that soothes your eyes. The menu is a single page menu – continental fare. However, every item that we ordered was outstanding, including the drinks. We would particularly recommend the mushroom pasta and mint lemonade- the best mint lemonade I have had outside the Middle East.
On some nights, post 7 pm, the area hosts a local band of youngsters that play a gig – music always elevates the experience by a notch. However, please note that the cafe does not serve food a after 7 pm – reach early, grab a bite and then enjoy the music.
Value for money… Fusion Bay
Fusion Bay was the first restaurant that we visited at Fort Kochi. They had plenty of variety for us vegetarians. Food was tasty and quantity was ample. A vegetarian meal for two was less than USD 8.
It is a smallish place with few tables… nothing very fancy, but that is not what your really expect from a value for money restaurant, do you? The egg plant in yogurt and mushroom vindaloo are must try items on the menu. The mushroom vindaloo was super spicy and left us perspiring …just what a spicy Indian curry should do!
For simple, tasty food… Jackfruit Restaurant
The yummiest restaurant food that we had during our stay was a the Jackfruit restaurant at Tissa’s Inn. We were staying in the hotel and requested the chef for some local vegetarian food of his choice. We were served fried mushrooms, vegetable stew and warm appams by the pool on the terrace. The flavours were delicate and coconut flavour did not overpower any of the dishes (it is very common to have too much of coconut in food in Kerala ). If you intend to eat here, may I recommend the chefs special ginger lemonade – it will surely tickle your taste buds.
Throughout our four day stay here, we saw only the hotel guests eating at this restaurant. We would recommend calling up and speaking to the chef in the morning if you would want to have dinner later that night.
Home made authentic food… with laughter, gossip and hugs… priceless!
I have saved the best for the last …Nothing beats home made food! If you have a Keralite friend, invite yourself to his/her place for a meal.We were lucky to have a very close friend in Kochi – added a star to our entire Kochi trip. Annette Lulu invited us over for lunch and we jumped at the opportunity.
Awial, sambhar, beans, papadams and some white rice laid out on the table with plantain leaves for Ankur and myself. Food served on the plantain leaf is called ‘Sadya’ and typically has 22 items – that seems like a task to keep one occupied for the entire weekend! Annette’s cooking was delicious, and we were satiated souls by the end of our meal. I was truly touched by the effort that she took to host us. Handling a three year old, a six month old and a meal for guests – our lady surely knows how to multitask! Shhhh… tell no one… Annette even shared her secret recipe with me!
Four days of delectable food, laden with calories….I should double my time in the gym this week!