My first introduction to Kerala cuisine was at an ex-colleague's home in Kochi, Kerala circa 2009.
I vaguely remember the huge bungalow located amidst a lush garden in the front and the backyard was acres of farming land with super deep wells, kandhari chillies, spices and an old kitchen with clay pots, which lent its unique flavour that one misses in non-stick ware.
Close to home it was a lavish "sadhya" spread which is served during the annual Onam festival for Keralites with an array of dishes. Finger licking vegetarian food served on a banana leaf has its own charm and the spread was super good when curated by Chef Reji as a pop up in Catholic Club.
Chef Regi is known for his Kerala food ups both in India and abroad. When the food on the menu has been carefully curated by visiting over 260 homes and over 100 toddy shops, you know that you are in for a treat! Right from the "touchings" aka starters to the main course and some very regional drinks that one will notice on the KCK menu - this is a perfect place to satiate your cravings for some delicious coastal cuisine along with friends and family.
Touchings: Aka Starters
Small backwater fish marinated in simple spices, deep-fried with curry leaves - a toddy shop speciality.
Chena Dry Fry
Yam seasoned with Kerala spices - a must-try for vegetarians.
This is something you have to try- the flavours from the steamed coconut masala and fresh coconut wrapped in banana leaves, is out of this world. One of those dishes you should start off your meal with at KCK. For the vegetarians - there is a mushroom variation of this dish.
Speaking of bananas - banana flower cutlets with a crumb coating served with beetroot chutney was oh! so good with melt in the mouth flavours. This one's called - Vazhapoo Cutlet.
Kanan Kozhi - free-range chicken braised in its own juices and then splash fried, which makes the flesh fall off its bone. Do remember to have a handful of those crispy fried onion slivers and garlic with every bite, which lends a very subtle and unique flavour to the meat.
If you love seafood and especially Tiger prawns that are cooked to perfection with a nice masala, you should order the Konju Pollichathu.
Main Course :
Puttu and Kadala (black chickpea) Curry - one of my favourite south Indian breakfast meals, served with poppadums. If I were to ever convert to a vegetarian, I can live off this dish as a meal of the day :)
Talking about steamed rice - you know you can't miss out on Idiappams (String hoppers) with a coconut-based drumstick curry called Muringikka.
The Pidhi Kozhi Curry - which is small rice dumplings in coconut milk was served with country-style chicken curry. A speciality from the Ramapuram Church festival, as mentioned by Chef Reji.
Final dish in the main course was the poor man's traditional meal - Kanji.
Overnight fermented rice with shallots and kandhari chilli, served with poppadum, chutneys and pickle
Kol Ice - fresh fruit pop lollies, this was an instant flashback to my summers as a child.
Flavours available - Grape, watermelon, mango and lime.
Something that one cannot miss at KCK is this Coconut cloud pudding - which is absolutely light, melt in the mouth, wiggly, jiggly, yummy dessert.
The price range of the menu is between 150 - 800 approx per dish. I would suggest you make in a reservation as the place was really crowded, with a long waitlist on a weekend.