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8 Room Service Menus to Spoil You Rotten Slideshow

8 Room Service Menus to Spoil You Rotten Slideshow


Cocktail “Kits”: Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas

Cocktails and hotel rooms in Las Vegas go together like horses and carriages, and peanut butter and jelly combined, which is why every hotel on the Strip should follow the Cosmopolitan’s lead. Their room service beverage menu is available 24 hours a day, offering “kits” for you to mix cocktails in the comfort of your room. There’s the requisite Cosmo kit, but then there’s the Mojito Cubano kit (Montecristo 12 year, fresh mint, lime wedges, club soda, cane syrup) and a Bloody Mary kit (roasted garlic Ketel One, homemade Bloody Mary mix, and antipasto skewers). For beer-lovers, there are microbrews that come with individually wrapped salty beer snacks.

“Ready to Fly” Meals: Mandarin Oriental, Miami

The Mandarin Oriental knows that getting to and from their luxurious suites can be a lackluster experience with barely edible airport food (that you have to pay for). So, they provide “Ready to Fly” meals, which can include smoked salmon on a bagel, sushi or sashimi selection, a roast turkey club sandwich, or a freshly baked muffin. Thanks, but no thanks, $7 snack-pack.

Happy Campers: Ritz Carlton, Chicago

iStock/Feverpitched

This service is on a limited run, but we couldn’t resist including it. If you have kids that love to “camp,” book your next flight to Chicago before the summer’s end. Their Happy Campers amenities include the never-ending joy of an in-room tent (built by hotel staff), a visit from the Candy Man and his sweet, colorful cart, in-room s’mores, and a Ritz Carlton backpack filled with special treats for if/when you ever do go back outside.

Stumptown Coffee All Day: Ace Hotel, New York City

Coffee-snobs have long lauded the Portland-based coffee of Stumptown as among the best around — competing only with such outfits as Blue Bottle and Intelligentsia. And while many travelers feel like sleeping in the wee hours to recuperate from a long day of airports and taxis, coffee-lovers will want to take advantage of the Ace Hotel’s offer of 24-hours of freshly-brewed Stumptown coffee, delivered straight to your room.

Menu, Mini-Bar, and Roving Cart: SLS Hotel, Beverly Hills

José Andrés has a sense of humor with food, that’s for sure. At the helm at the SLS Hotel, he’s shaken up in-room dining by offering a sumptuous Spanish room service menu with jamon Iberico, all Spanish-cheese plates, Spanish flan — all available 24-hours a day. If you’d rather be more black and white about it, take a look at the Saints and Sinners mini-bar, which separates alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages as well as treats (unsalted nuts vs. chocolates) into the two camps. But the real luxury comes with a penthouse suite, to which you can order cotton candy foie gras and caviar cones whenever you like.

Dream Wine List: One and Only Palmilla, Mexico

Ordering wine to the room can be a limited, at best, experience. When you think about it, it shouldn’t be. Two robes, doors open to the balcony, the sun is setting, and then room service arrives with a bottle of wine — it makes perfect sense and that bottle of wine shouldn’t taste like swill. The One and Only Palmilla, in Cabo San Lucas, boasts an enormous wine list with bottles hailing from all over the world and all available in your room. For when you do feel like leaving the room, you can arrange a tequila tasting on the hotel property.

Three-Course Dinner and Movies: Charlotte Street Hotel, London

Full disclosure: this one does require you to leave your room (but not the hotel). Pajamas and robes should be left behind, but the comfort of the dark hotel screening room should prove well worth it. At London’s Charlotte Street Hotel, spend Sundays dining on a three-course lunch, dinner, Champagne afternoon tea, or a platter of bar snacks and cocktails while you watch new releases on the big screen. Think crayfish with a celery and pea shoot cocktail, broccoli fritters with a lemon caper dressing, and grilled flank steak with baby spinach. Sure beats butter “flavored” popcorn at the theatre.

Whatever/Whenever Program: W Hotels

The cheeky humor of the W Hotel chain is apparent in every detail — the front desk even answers the phone with a friendly “what’s your wish?” But the Whatever/Whenever program takes their saucy service to the next level. Accommodating every (legal) request from a boxed lunch for the road to a bathtub filled with chocolates, they’re proving that if you can think of it, they’ll make it happen. Because 24-hour room service is no problem for a staff that once planned a last minute birthday party for 12 friends who took a private jet from New York to one of South Beach’s hottest restaurants.


Redscarab

From toddy shop ‘touchings’ to temple payasams, Kappa Chakka Kandhari in Koramangala serves Kerala cuisine and nostalgia on a platter, discover ANURAG MALLICK and PRIYA GANAPATHY

The KCK story began on a rainy day when three friends – Chef Regi Mathew, engineer John Paul, and event manager Augustine Kurian – got nostalgic over typical childhood snacks like pazhampori and sukhiyan. Chef Mathew reveals, “Each of us thought of our favourite items and how it would be wonderful to bring it back.” And so, after three years of research and several pop-ups between Bangalore and Dubai, they opened Kappa Chakka Kandhari in Chennai to rave reviews. Around 500 days later and 350 km away, they launched a sprawling new restaurant in Koramangala, Bengaluru. In an exclusive preview, we chatted with co-owner and Culinary Director Chef Regi Mathew to understand what catapulted KCK to #23 at Conde Nast’s recent Top Restaurants in India.

The name itself is a talking point. Built on the three pillars or standard ingredients typical to Kerala – Kappa (tapioca), Chakka (jackfruit) and Kandhari (Bird’s eye chilli) – the restaurant is an ode to home-style local fare, like mum’s cooking, often taken for granted. Be it chai kadas (tea stalls) or toddy shops, this is where the food of your childhood and youth comes together. To recreate a memory map of food, they set off on a culinary journey from Kasargod to Trivandrum.

“I’m from Kottayyam while my partners are from Thrissur and Kannur,” says Chef Regi. “We went back to our roots to our mothers. We remember plucking tapioca from the backyard for evening snacks and chasing after chickens to prepare a meal for guests. We collected their recipes, nuances and cooking methods and asked them to put us onto ten of their close childhood friends who were good cooks. From 30 housewives it became 265 housewives and after visiting over 70 toddy shops (beyond a point, you don’t remember), we collected 800 odd recipes. Only 90 dishes have made it to the final menu, a good representation from the Malabari, Syrian Christian and Namboodri kitchens.”

The ground floor space is inviting and comfortably seats 90 with an outdoor verandah overlooking a tree-lined avenue. Light pours in through enormous windows and a starry ceiling of studio lights. Teak tabletops rest on vintage sewing machine style bases. Colour tones echo earthy mustards, maroons and browns, the cement floor is industrial while shell-white walls bear sepia images, evocative of simple childhood pleasures – mud football and catching fish with a torth (thin towel). The table setting has neat copper banana leaf-shaped plates and elegant copper and brass cutlery. The serving dishes are mostly black clayware, except for the ‘touchings’ in toddy-shop style white plates with coconut shell spoons and palm handles.

We began with orange and lemon Goli Soda that brought in a wave of nostalgia, punching the marble down for the familiar pop ‘n fizz. There are no aerated drinks, only ethnic fare like nannari (sarsaparilla) sherbet, Absolut Kandhari – a school break classic of lime juice with a spicy kandhari kick and Kol Ice (ice lollies on sticks). Blasphemous as it may sound for a Kerala restaurant, they do not serve parota, biryani and meals on the menu.

Chef laughs, “We wanted to keep the food light, inspired by the ‘touchings’, known locally as thuttu-nakki, ‘touch and lick’ accompaniments served at kallu shaaps. Every toddy shop has its specialty like kappa-meen, duck mapas or clams. Portions are deliberately small, and we encourage people to try more sides and eat more protein rather than carbs.”

So out came Kakka Erachi or masala-fried clams sourced from Kerala’s backwaters, Ideirachi or sun-dried tenderloin and delicious Mutton Coconut Fry with coconut shavings. Kappa Vadas, boiled and spiced tapioca mash fried to a golden brown patty, came with an in-house beetroot puree, inspired from beetroot pickled in vinegar from Syrian Christian homes in Fort Cochin. Koorrka Ullarthiyathu or Chinese potatoes, found only in Central Travancore with a slightly more fibrous texture, were roasted in pepper and mild spices.

Prawn Kizhi, a delicious pocket of prawns steamed with coconut masala in banana leaf, was reminiscent of the kizhi (poultice pouches) used in Ayurveda. Improvising on his mother’s dish, it adds an element of drama and curiosity. Ayikoora Nellikka Masala Fry has its origins in Agasthyarmalai, where tribals would marinate fish with bird eye chili, green peppercorns, wild herbs and sundried gooseberry, baking it on heated river stones, whose minerals gave the salt content. Unusual dishes never found in restaurants, here you experience Kerala’s rich culinary diversity under one roof.

In the open kitchen we witnessed the unique Ramasserry Idly being made, a signature dish from Ramaserry in Palakkad. Apparently, the Mudaliars, originally weavers who settled in Palghat travelled to sell their wares and created these idlis that wouldn’t spoil for 3-4 days. The unique steaming technique uses muslin cloth, netted clay rings, earthen pots and Plachi leaves.

It is paired with chicken curry or a delicious granular podi in coconut oil, with the earthy crunch of Palakaddan matta rice. The sweet n’ spicy Pineapple Nendram Masala – ripe nendrapazham (bananas) with spices, mustard, curry leaves and coconut oil is a standout dessert disguised as a palate cleanser.

Every dish has a story – Ramapuram’s pidi (tiny rice dumplings cooked in coconut milk) with mellow country-style koli (chicken) curry is offered to devotees at the Ramapuram Church on feast day. The mains are delicious, each with specific pairings – Vattayappam, pillowy soft fermented steamed rice cakes with delicately spiced Chatti Meen (Pearlspot) Curry, pathiri or typical Malabar rice roti with tantalizing Mutton Chaps.

The pure white ‘nice pathiri’ is from Tellicherry. Besides the unusual Puttu biryani, a steamed version from Cochin, there’s Maniputtu biryani or idiappam (string hoppers) available in mutton or green gram, served with papad. “Think of it as eating spaghetti”, says Chef Regi, forsaking a classical approach for a bolder attempt to make the food contemporary to a younger audience.

Despite his Taj experience and conceptualizing Ente Keralam, Chef Regi says this project improved his knowledge of Kerala food by 300%. Many staff members were picked up from their travels – toddy shop cook Aachan, the Ramassery idli maker, Sheelammachi and Sheelapriya, two ammachis from Kottayam and Fort Kochi – who ensure that the taste remains authentic and true to the region and community.

They use the open vessel slow-cooking method in traditional cookware like chattis (earthenware), urulis and cast iron pans in small batches at a separate kitchen with Malayalam songs playing in the background! “We make a set quantity of food everyday… if it gets over, it’s over.”

A lot has to do with sourcing the right ingredients, directly from the farmers, which helps maintain quality and flavour. The mutton is from goats that graze in hilly Wayanad they are more energetic and the marbling on the meat is better. Pepper is top quality Tellicherry Gold from Pulpally. Cardamom is from Vandiperiyar and tea from a particular high-range plantation in Munnar.

They collected a range of payasams from the Namboodris in the Thrissur region and enlisted a Namboodri, also an Ayurvedic doctor and temple priest, who begins his cooking with a prayer. The other desserts were as exquisite – Unnakkai, kapok pod shaped quenelles of deep fried bananas stuffed with coconut and jaggery and the spicy Kandhari Ice Cream. Washing it down with cinnamon and spice infused Sulaimani Tea, a meal at Kappa Chakka Khandari left us with the lingering flavours of Kerala on our lips.

Authors: Anurag Mallick & Priya Ganapathy. Photos: Vinayak Grover.
This restaurant review was done for Conde Nast Traveller India and appeared on 13 December, 2019. Here’s the link to the story: https://www.cntraveller.in/story/kappa-chakka-kandhari-koramangala-new-restaurant-bengaluru-brings-flavours-kerala-table/

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From toddy shop ‘touchings’ to temple payasams, Kappa Chakka Kandhari in Koramangala serves Kerala cuisine and nostalgia on a platter, discover ANURAG MALLICK and PRIYA GANAPATHY

The KCK story began on a rainy day when three friends – Chef Regi Mathew, engineer John Paul, and event manager Augustine Kurian – got nostalgic over typical childhood snacks like pazhampori and sukhiyan. Chef Mathew reveals, “Each of us thought of our favourite items and how it would be wonderful to bring it back.” And so, after three years of research and several pop-ups between Bangalore and Dubai, they opened Kappa Chakka Kandhari in Chennai to rave reviews. Around 500 days later and 350 km away, they launched a sprawling new restaurant in Koramangala, Bengaluru. In an exclusive preview, we chatted with co-owner and Culinary Director Chef Regi Mathew to understand what catapulted KCK to #23 at Conde Nast’s recent Top Restaurants in India.

The name itself is a talking point. Built on the three pillars or standard ingredients typical to Kerala – Kappa (tapioca), Chakka (jackfruit) and Kandhari (Bird’s eye chilli) – the restaurant is an ode to home-style local fare, like mum’s cooking, often taken for granted. Be it chai kadas (tea stalls) or toddy shops, this is where the food of your childhood and youth comes together. To recreate a memory map of food, they set off on a culinary journey from Kasargod to Trivandrum.

“I’m from Kottayyam while my partners are from Thrissur and Kannur,” says Chef Regi. “We went back to our roots to our mothers. We remember plucking tapioca from the backyard for evening snacks and chasing after chickens to prepare a meal for guests. We collected their recipes, nuances and cooking methods and asked them to put us onto ten of their close childhood friends who were good cooks. From 30 housewives it became 265 housewives and after visiting over 70 toddy shops (beyond a point, you don’t remember), we collected 800 odd recipes. Only 90 dishes have made it to the final menu, a good representation from the Malabari, Syrian Christian and Namboodri kitchens.”

The ground floor space is inviting and comfortably seats 90 with an outdoor verandah overlooking a tree-lined avenue. Light pours in through enormous windows and a starry ceiling of studio lights. Teak tabletops rest on vintage sewing machine style bases. Colour tones echo earthy mustards, maroons and browns, the cement floor is industrial while shell-white walls bear sepia images, evocative of simple childhood pleasures – mud football and catching fish with a torth (thin towel). The table setting has neat copper banana leaf-shaped plates and elegant copper and brass cutlery. The serving dishes are mostly black clayware, except for the ‘touchings’ in toddy-shop style white plates with coconut shell spoons and palm handles.

We began with orange and lemon Goli Soda that brought in a wave of nostalgia, punching the marble down for the familiar pop ‘n fizz. There are no aerated drinks, only ethnic fare like nannari (sarsaparilla) sherbet, Absolut Kandhari – a school break classic of lime juice with a spicy kandhari kick and Kol Ice (ice lollies on sticks). Blasphemous as it may sound for a Kerala restaurant, they do not serve parota, biryani and meals on the menu.

Chef laughs, “We wanted to keep the food light, inspired by the ‘touchings’, known locally as thuttu-nakki, ‘touch and lick’ accompaniments served at kallu shaaps. Every toddy shop has its specialty like kappa-meen, duck mapas or clams. Portions are deliberately small, and we encourage people to try more sides and eat more protein rather than carbs.”

So out came Kakka Erachi or masala-fried clams sourced from Kerala’s backwaters, Ideirachi or sun-dried tenderloin and delicious Mutton Coconut Fry with coconut shavings. Kappa Vadas, boiled and spiced tapioca mash fried to a golden brown patty, came with an in-house beetroot puree, inspired from beetroot pickled in vinegar from Syrian Christian homes in Fort Cochin. Koorrka Ullarthiyathu or Chinese potatoes, found only in Central Travancore with a slightly more fibrous texture, were roasted in pepper and mild spices.

Prawn Kizhi, a delicious pocket of prawns steamed with coconut masala in banana leaf, was reminiscent of the kizhi (poultice pouches) used in Ayurveda. Improvising on his mother’s dish, it adds an element of drama and curiosity. Ayikoora Nellikka Masala Fry has its origins in Agasthyarmalai, where tribals would marinate fish with bird eye chili, green peppercorns, wild herbs and sundried gooseberry, baking it on heated river stones, whose minerals gave the salt content. Unusual dishes never found in restaurants, here you experience Kerala’s rich culinary diversity under one roof.

In the open kitchen we witnessed the unique Ramasserry Idly being made, a signature dish from Ramaserry in Palakkad. Apparently, the Mudaliars, originally weavers who settled in Palghat travelled to sell their wares and created these idlis that wouldn’t spoil for 3-4 days. The unique steaming technique uses muslin cloth, netted clay rings, earthen pots and Plachi leaves.

It is paired with chicken curry or a delicious granular podi in coconut oil, with the earthy crunch of Palakaddan matta rice. The sweet n’ spicy Pineapple Nendram Masala – ripe nendrapazham (bananas) with spices, mustard, curry leaves and coconut oil is a standout dessert disguised as a palate cleanser.

Every dish has a story – Ramapuram’s pidi (tiny rice dumplings cooked in coconut milk) with mellow country-style koli (chicken) curry is offered to devotees at the Ramapuram Church on feast day. The mains are delicious, each with specific pairings – Vattayappam, pillowy soft fermented steamed rice cakes with delicately spiced Chatti Meen (Pearlspot) Curry, pathiri or typical Malabar rice roti with tantalizing Mutton Chaps.

The pure white ‘nice pathiri’ is from Tellicherry. Besides the unusual Puttu biryani, a steamed version from Cochin, there’s Maniputtu biryani or idiappam (string hoppers) available in mutton or green gram, served with papad. “Think of it as eating spaghetti”, says Chef Regi, forsaking a classical approach for a bolder attempt to make the food contemporary to a younger audience.

Despite his Taj experience and conceptualizing Ente Keralam, Chef Regi says this project improved his knowledge of Kerala food by 300%. Many staff members were picked up from their travels – toddy shop cook Aachan, the Ramassery idli maker, Sheelammachi and Sheelapriya, two ammachis from Kottayam and Fort Kochi – who ensure that the taste remains authentic and true to the region and community.

They use the open vessel slow-cooking method in traditional cookware like chattis (earthenware), urulis and cast iron pans in small batches at a separate kitchen with Malayalam songs playing in the background! “We make a set quantity of food everyday… if it gets over, it’s over.”

A lot has to do with sourcing the right ingredients, directly from the farmers, which helps maintain quality and flavour. The mutton is from goats that graze in hilly Wayanad they are more energetic and the marbling on the meat is better. Pepper is top quality Tellicherry Gold from Pulpally. Cardamom is from Vandiperiyar and tea from a particular high-range plantation in Munnar.

They collected a range of payasams from the Namboodris in the Thrissur region and enlisted a Namboodri, also an Ayurvedic doctor and temple priest, who begins his cooking with a prayer. The other desserts were as exquisite – Unnakkai, kapok pod shaped quenelles of deep fried bananas stuffed with coconut and jaggery and the spicy Kandhari Ice Cream. Washing it down with cinnamon and spice infused Sulaimani Tea, a meal at Kappa Chakka Khandari left us with the lingering flavours of Kerala on our lips.

Authors: Anurag Mallick & Priya Ganapathy. Photos: Vinayak Grover.
This restaurant review was done for Conde Nast Traveller India and appeared on 13 December, 2019. Here’s the link to the story: https://www.cntraveller.in/story/kappa-chakka-kandhari-koramangala-new-restaurant-bengaluru-brings-flavours-kerala-table/

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From toddy shop ‘touchings’ to temple payasams, Kappa Chakka Kandhari in Koramangala serves Kerala cuisine and nostalgia on a platter, discover ANURAG MALLICK and PRIYA GANAPATHY

The KCK story began on a rainy day when three friends – Chef Regi Mathew, engineer John Paul, and event manager Augustine Kurian – got nostalgic over typical childhood snacks like pazhampori and sukhiyan. Chef Mathew reveals, “Each of us thought of our favourite items and how it would be wonderful to bring it back.” And so, after three years of research and several pop-ups between Bangalore and Dubai, they opened Kappa Chakka Kandhari in Chennai to rave reviews. Around 500 days later and 350 km away, they launched a sprawling new restaurant in Koramangala, Bengaluru. In an exclusive preview, we chatted with co-owner and Culinary Director Chef Regi Mathew to understand what catapulted KCK to #23 at Conde Nast’s recent Top Restaurants in India.

The name itself is a talking point. Built on the three pillars or standard ingredients typical to Kerala – Kappa (tapioca), Chakka (jackfruit) and Kandhari (Bird’s eye chilli) – the restaurant is an ode to home-style local fare, like mum’s cooking, often taken for granted. Be it chai kadas (tea stalls) or toddy shops, this is where the food of your childhood and youth comes together. To recreate a memory map of food, they set off on a culinary journey from Kasargod to Trivandrum.

“I’m from Kottayyam while my partners are from Thrissur and Kannur,” says Chef Regi. “We went back to our roots to our mothers. We remember plucking tapioca from the backyard for evening snacks and chasing after chickens to prepare a meal for guests. We collected their recipes, nuances and cooking methods and asked them to put us onto ten of their close childhood friends who were good cooks. From 30 housewives it became 265 housewives and after visiting over 70 toddy shops (beyond a point, you don’t remember), we collected 800 odd recipes. Only 90 dishes have made it to the final menu, a good representation from the Malabari, Syrian Christian and Namboodri kitchens.”

The ground floor space is inviting and comfortably seats 90 with an outdoor verandah overlooking a tree-lined avenue. Light pours in through enormous windows and a starry ceiling of studio lights. Teak tabletops rest on vintage sewing machine style bases. Colour tones echo earthy mustards, maroons and browns, the cement floor is industrial while shell-white walls bear sepia images, evocative of simple childhood pleasures – mud football and catching fish with a torth (thin towel). The table setting has neat copper banana leaf-shaped plates and elegant copper and brass cutlery. The serving dishes are mostly black clayware, except for the ‘touchings’ in toddy-shop style white plates with coconut shell spoons and palm handles.

We began with orange and lemon Goli Soda that brought in a wave of nostalgia, punching the marble down for the familiar pop ‘n fizz. There are no aerated drinks, only ethnic fare like nannari (sarsaparilla) sherbet, Absolut Kandhari – a school break classic of lime juice with a spicy kandhari kick and Kol Ice (ice lollies on sticks). Blasphemous as it may sound for a Kerala restaurant, they do not serve parota, biryani and meals on the menu.

Chef laughs, “We wanted to keep the food light, inspired by the ‘touchings’, known locally as thuttu-nakki, ‘touch and lick’ accompaniments served at kallu shaaps. Every toddy shop has its specialty like kappa-meen, duck mapas or clams. Portions are deliberately small, and we encourage people to try more sides and eat more protein rather than carbs.”

So out came Kakka Erachi or masala-fried clams sourced from Kerala’s backwaters, Ideirachi or sun-dried tenderloin and delicious Mutton Coconut Fry with coconut shavings. Kappa Vadas, boiled and spiced tapioca mash fried to a golden brown patty, came with an in-house beetroot puree, inspired from beetroot pickled in vinegar from Syrian Christian homes in Fort Cochin. Koorrka Ullarthiyathu or Chinese potatoes, found only in Central Travancore with a slightly more fibrous texture, were roasted in pepper and mild spices.

Prawn Kizhi, a delicious pocket of prawns steamed with coconut masala in banana leaf, was reminiscent of the kizhi (poultice pouches) used in Ayurveda. Improvising on his mother’s dish, it adds an element of drama and curiosity. Ayikoora Nellikka Masala Fry has its origins in Agasthyarmalai, where tribals would marinate fish with bird eye chili, green peppercorns, wild herbs and sundried gooseberry, baking it on heated river stones, whose minerals gave the salt content. Unusual dishes never found in restaurants, here you experience Kerala’s rich culinary diversity under one roof.

In the open kitchen we witnessed the unique Ramasserry Idly being made, a signature dish from Ramaserry in Palakkad. Apparently, the Mudaliars, originally weavers who settled in Palghat travelled to sell their wares and created these idlis that wouldn’t spoil for 3-4 days. The unique steaming technique uses muslin cloth, netted clay rings, earthen pots and Plachi leaves.

It is paired with chicken curry or a delicious granular podi in coconut oil, with the earthy crunch of Palakaddan matta rice. The sweet n’ spicy Pineapple Nendram Masala – ripe nendrapazham (bananas) with spices, mustard, curry leaves and coconut oil is a standout dessert disguised as a palate cleanser.

Every dish has a story – Ramapuram’s pidi (tiny rice dumplings cooked in coconut milk) with mellow country-style koli (chicken) curry is offered to devotees at the Ramapuram Church on feast day. The mains are delicious, each with specific pairings – Vattayappam, pillowy soft fermented steamed rice cakes with delicately spiced Chatti Meen (Pearlspot) Curry, pathiri or typical Malabar rice roti with tantalizing Mutton Chaps.

The pure white ‘nice pathiri’ is from Tellicherry. Besides the unusual Puttu biryani, a steamed version from Cochin, there’s Maniputtu biryani or idiappam (string hoppers) available in mutton or green gram, served with papad. “Think of it as eating spaghetti”, says Chef Regi, forsaking a classical approach for a bolder attempt to make the food contemporary to a younger audience.

Despite his Taj experience and conceptualizing Ente Keralam, Chef Regi says this project improved his knowledge of Kerala food by 300%. Many staff members were picked up from their travels – toddy shop cook Aachan, the Ramassery idli maker, Sheelammachi and Sheelapriya, two ammachis from Kottayam and Fort Kochi – who ensure that the taste remains authentic and true to the region and community.

They use the open vessel slow-cooking method in traditional cookware like chattis (earthenware), urulis and cast iron pans in small batches at a separate kitchen with Malayalam songs playing in the background! “We make a set quantity of food everyday… if it gets over, it’s over.”

A lot has to do with sourcing the right ingredients, directly from the farmers, which helps maintain quality and flavour. The mutton is from goats that graze in hilly Wayanad they are more energetic and the marbling on the meat is better. Pepper is top quality Tellicherry Gold from Pulpally. Cardamom is from Vandiperiyar and tea from a particular high-range plantation in Munnar.

They collected a range of payasams from the Namboodris in the Thrissur region and enlisted a Namboodri, also an Ayurvedic doctor and temple priest, who begins his cooking with a prayer. The other desserts were as exquisite – Unnakkai, kapok pod shaped quenelles of deep fried bananas stuffed with coconut and jaggery and the spicy Kandhari Ice Cream. Washing it down with cinnamon and spice infused Sulaimani Tea, a meal at Kappa Chakka Khandari left us with the lingering flavours of Kerala on our lips.

Authors: Anurag Mallick & Priya Ganapathy. Photos: Vinayak Grover.
This restaurant review was done for Conde Nast Traveller India and appeared on 13 December, 2019. Here’s the link to the story: https://www.cntraveller.in/story/kappa-chakka-kandhari-koramangala-new-restaurant-bengaluru-brings-flavours-kerala-table/

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Redscarab

From toddy shop ‘touchings’ to temple payasams, Kappa Chakka Kandhari in Koramangala serves Kerala cuisine and nostalgia on a platter, discover ANURAG MALLICK and PRIYA GANAPATHY

The KCK story began on a rainy day when three friends – Chef Regi Mathew, engineer John Paul, and event manager Augustine Kurian – got nostalgic over typical childhood snacks like pazhampori and sukhiyan. Chef Mathew reveals, “Each of us thought of our favourite items and how it would be wonderful to bring it back.” And so, after three years of research and several pop-ups between Bangalore and Dubai, they opened Kappa Chakka Kandhari in Chennai to rave reviews. Around 500 days later and 350 km away, they launched a sprawling new restaurant in Koramangala, Bengaluru. In an exclusive preview, we chatted with co-owner and Culinary Director Chef Regi Mathew to understand what catapulted KCK to #23 at Conde Nast’s recent Top Restaurants in India.

The name itself is a talking point. Built on the three pillars or standard ingredients typical to Kerala – Kappa (tapioca), Chakka (jackfruit) and Kandhari (Bird’s eye chilli) – the restaurant is an ode to home-style local fare, like mum’s cooking, often taken for granted. Be it chai kadas (tea stalls) or toddy shops, this is where the food of your childhood and youth comes together. To recreate a memory map of food, they set off on a culinary journey from Kasargod to Trivandrum.

“I’m from Kottayyam while my partners are from Thrissur and Kannur,” says Chef Regi. “We went back to our roots to our mothers. We remember plucking tapioca from the backyard for evening snacks and chasing after chickens to prepare a meal for guests. We collected their recipes, nuances and cooking methods and asked them to put us onto ten of their close childhood friends who were good cooks. From 30 housewives it became 265 housewives and after visiting over 70 toddy shops (beyond a point, you don’t remember), we collected 800 odd recipes. Only 90 dishes have made it to the final menu, a good representation from the Malabari, Syrian Christian and Namboodri kitchens.”

The ground floor space is inviting and comfortably seats 90 with an outdoor verandah overlooking a tree-lined avenue. Light pours in through enormous windows and a starry ceiling of studio lights. Teak tabletops rest on vintage sewing machine style bases. Colour tones echo earthy mustards, maroons and browns, the cement floor is industrial while shell-white walls bear sepia images, evocative of simple childhood pleasures – mud football and catching fish with a torth (thin towel). The table setting has neat copper banana leaf-shaped plates and elegant copper and brass cutlery. The serving dishes are mostly black clayware, except for the ‘touchings’ in toddy-shop style white plates with coconut shell spoons and palm handles.

We began with orange and lemon Goli Soda that brought in a wave of nostalgia, punching the marble down for the familiar pop ‘n fizz. There are no aerated drinks, only ethnic fare like nannari (sarsaparilla) sherbet, Absolut Kandhari – a school break classic of lime juice with a spicy kandhari kick and Kol Ice (ice lollies on sticks). Blasphemous as it may sound for a Kerala restaurant, they do not serve parota, biryani and meals on the menu.

Chef laughs, “We wanted to keep the food light, inspired by the ‘touchings’, known locally as thuttu-nakki, ‘touch and lick’ accompaniments served at kallu shaaps. Every toddy shop has its specialty like kappa-meen, duck mapas or clams. Portions are deliberately small, and we encourage people to try more sides and eat more protein rather than carbs.”

So out came Kakka Erachi or masala-fried clams sourced from Kerala’s backwaters, Ideirachi or sun-dried tenderloin and delicious Mutton Coconut Fry with coconut shavings. Kappa Vadas, boiled and spiced tapioca mash fried to a golden brown patty, came with an in-house beetroot puree, inspired from beetroot pickled in vinegar from Syrian Christian homes in Fort Cochin. Koorrka Ullarthiyathu or Chinese potatoes, found only in Central Travancore with a slightly more fibrous texture, were roasted in pepper and mild spices.

Prawn Kizhi, a delicious pocket of prawns steamed with coconut masala in banana leaf, was reminiscent of the kizhi (poultice pouches) used in Ayurveda. Improvising on his mother’s dish, it adds an element of drama and curiosity. Ayikoora Nellikka Masala Fry has its origins in Agasthyarmalai, where tribals would marinate fish with bird eye chili, green peppercorns, wild herbs and sundried gooseberry, baking it on heated river stones, whose minerals gave the salt content. Unusual dishes never found in restaurants, here you experience Kerala’s rich culinary diversity under one roof.

In the open kitchen we witnessed the unique Ramasserry Idly being made, a signature dish from Ramaserry in Palakkad. Apparently, the Mudaliars, originally weavers who settled in Palghat travelled to sell their wares and created these idlis that wouldn’t spoil for 3-4 days. The unique steaming technique uses muslin cloth, netted clay rings, earthen pots and Plachi leaves.

It is paired with chicken curry or a delicious granular podi in coconut oil, with the earthy crunch of Palakaddan matta rice. The sweet n’ spicy Pineapple Nendram Masala – ripe nendrapazham (bananas) with spices, mustard, curry leaves and coconut oil is a standout dessert disguised as a palate cleanser.

Every dish has a story – Ramapuram’s pidi (tiny rice dumplings cooked in coconut milk) with mellow country-style koli (chicken) curry is offered to devotees at the Ramapuram Church on feast day. The mains are delicious, each with specific pairings – Vattayappam, pillowy soft fermented steamed rice cakes with delicately spiced Chatti Meen (Pearlspot) Curry, pathiri or typical Malabar rice roti with tantalizing Mutton Chaps.

The pure white ‘nice pathiri’ is from Tellicherry. Besides the unusual Puttu biryani, a steamed version from Cochin, there’s Maniputtu biryani or idiappam (string hoppers) available in mutton or green gram, served with papad. “Think of it as eating spaghetti”, says Chef Regi, forsaking a classical approach for a bolder attempt to make the food contemporary to a younger audience.

Despite his Taj experience and conceptualizing Ente Keralam, Chef Regi says this project improved his knowledge of Kerala food by 300%. Many staff members were picked up from their travels – toddy shop cook Aachan, the Ramassery idli maker, Sheelammachi and Sheelapriya, two ammachis from Kottayam and Fort Kochi – who ensure that the taste remains authentic and true to the region and community.

They use the open vessel slow-cooking method in traditional cookware like chattis (earthenware), urulis and cast iron pans in small batches at a separate kitchen with Malayalam songs playing in the background! “We make a set quantity of food everyday… if it gets over, it’s over.”

A lot has to do with sourcing the right ingredients, directly from the farmers, which helps maintain quality and flavour. The mutton is from goats that graze in hilly Wayanad they are more energetic and the marbling on the meat is better. Pepper is top quality Tellicherry Gold from Pulpally. Cardamom is from Vandiperiyar and tea from a particular high-range plantation in Munnar.

They collected a range of payasams from the Namboodris in the Thrissur region and enlisted a Namboodri, also an Ayurvedic doctor and temple priest, who begins his cooking with a prayer. The other desserts were as exquisite – Unnakkai, kapok pod shaped quenelles of deep fried bananas stuffed with coconut and jaggery and the spicy Kandhari Ice Cream. Washing it down with cinnamon and spice infused Sulaimani Tea, a meal at Kappa Chakka Khandari left us with the lingering flavours of Kerala on our lips.

Authors: Anurag Mallick & Priya Ganapathy. Photos: Vinayak Grover.
This restaurant review was done for Conde Nast Traveller India and appeared on 13 December, 2019. Here’s the link to the story: https://www.cntraveller.in/story/kappa-chakka-kandhari-koramangala-new-restaurant-bengaluru-brings-flavours-kerala-table/

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From toddy shop ‘touchings’ to temple payasams, Kappa Chakka Kandhari in Koramangala serves Kerala cuisine and nostalgia on a platter, discover ANURAG MALLICK and PRIYA GANAPATHY

The KCK story began on a rainy day when three friends – Chef Regi Mathew, engineer John Paul, and event manager Augustine Kurian – got nostalgic over typical childhood snacks like pazhampori and sukhiyan. Chef Mathew reveals, “Each of us thought of our favourite items and how it would be wonderful to bring it back.” And so, after three years of research and several pop-ups between Bangalore and Dubai, they opened Kappa Chakka Kandhari in Chennai to rave reviews. Around 500 days later and 350 km away, they launched a sprawling new restaurant in Koramangala, Bengaluru. In an exclusive preview, we chatted with co-owner and Culinary Director Chef Regi Mathew to understand what catapulted KCK to #23 at Conde Nast’s recent Top Restaurants in India.

The name itself is a talking point. Built on the three pillars or standard ingredients typical to Kerala – Kappa (tapioca), Chakka (jackfruit) and Kandhari (Bird’s eye chilli) – the restaurant is an ode to home-style local fare, like mum’s cooking, often taken for granted. Be it chai kadas (tea stalls) or toddy shops, this is where the food of your childhood and youth comes together. To recreate a memory map of food, they set off on a culinary journey from Kasargod to Trivandrum.

“I’m from Kottayyam while my partners are from Thrissur and Kannur,” says Chef Regi. “We went back to our roots to our mothers. We remember plucking tapioca from the backyard for evening snacks and chasing after chickens to prepare a meal for guests. We collected their recipes, nuances and cooking methods and asked them to put us onto ten of their close childhood friends who were good cooks. From 30 housewives it became 265 housewives and after visiting over 70 toddy shops (beyond a point, you don’t remember), we collected 800 odd recipes. Only 90 dishes have made it to the final menu, a good representation from the Malabari, Syrian Christian and Namboodri kitchens.”

The ground floor space is inviting and comfortably seats 90 with an outdoor verandah overlooking a tree-lined avenue. Light pours in through enormous windows and a starry ceiling of studio lights. Teak tabletops rest on vintage sewing machine style bases. Colour tones echo earthy mustards, maroons and browns, the cement floor is industrial while shell-white walls bear sepia images, evocative of simple childhood pleasures – mud football and catching fish with a torth (thin towel). The table setting has neat copper banana leaf-shaped plates and elegant copper and brass cutlery. The serving dishes are mostly black clayware, except for the ‘touchings’ in toddy-shop style white plates with coconut shell spoons and palm handles.

We began with orange and lemon Goli Soda that brought in a wave of nostalgia, punching the marble down for the familiar pop ‘n fizz. There are no aerated drinks, only ethnic fare like nannari (sarsaparilla) sherbet, Absolut Kandhari – a school break classic of lime juice with a spicy kandhari kick and Kol Ice (ice lollies on sticks). Blasphemous as it may sound for a Kerala restaurant, they do not serve parota, biryani and meals on the menu.

Chef laughs, “We wanted to keep the food light, inspired by the ‘touchings’, known locally as thuttu-nakki, ‘touch and lick’ accompaniments served at kallu shaaps. Every toddy shop has its specialty like kappa-meen, duck mapas or clams. Portions are deliberately small, and we encourage people to try more sides and eat more protein rather than carbs.”

So out came Kakka Erachi or masala-fried clams sourced from Kerala’s backwaters, Ideirachi or sun-dried tenderloin and delicious Mutton Coconut Fry with coconut shavings. Kappa Vadas, boiled and spiced tapioca mash fried to a golden brown patty, came with an in-house beetroot puree, inspired from beetroot pickled in vinegar from Syrian Christian homes in Fort Cochin. Koorrka Ullarthiyathu or Chinese potatoes, found only in Central Travancore with a slightly more fibrous texture, were roasted in pepper and mild spices.

Prawn Kizhi, a delicious pocket of prawns steamed with coconut masala in banana leaf, was reminiscent of the kizhi (poultice pouches) used in Ayurveda. Improvising on his mother’s dish, it adds an element of drama and curiosity. Ayikoora Nellikka Masala Fry has its origins in Agasthyarmalai, where tribals would marinate fish with bird eye chili, green peppercorns, wild herbs and sundried gooseberry, baking it on heated river stones, whose minerals gave the salt content. Unusual dishes never found in restaurants, here you experience Kerala’s rich culinary diversity under one roof.

In the open kitchen we witnessed the unique Ramasserry Idly being made, a signature dish from Ramaserry in Palakkad. Apparently, the Mudaliars, originally weavers who settled in Palghat travelled to sell their wares and created these idlis that wouldn’t spoil for 3-4 days. The unique steaming technique uses muslin cloth, netted clay rings, earthen pots and Plachi leaves.

It is paired with chicken curry or a delicious granular podi in coconut oil, with the earthy crunch of Palakaddan matta rice. The sweet n’ spicy Pineapple Nendram Masala – ripe nendrapazham (bananas) with spices, mustard, curry leaves and coconut oil is a standout dessert disguised as a palate cleanser.

Every dish has a story – Ramapuram’s pidi (tiny rice dumplings cooked in coconut milk) with mellow country-style koli (chicken) curry is offered to devotees at the Ramapuram Church on feast day. The mains are delicious, each with specific pairings – Vattayappam, pillowy soft fermented steamed rice cakes with delicately spiced Chatti Meen (Pearlspot) Curry, pathiri or typical Malabar rice roti with tantalizing Mutton Chaps.

The pure white ‘nice pathiri’ is from Tellicherry. Besides the unusual Puttu biryani, a steamed version from Cochin, there’s Maniputtu biryani or idiappam (string hoppers) available in mutton or green gram, served with papad. “Think of it as eating spaghetti”, says Chef Regi, forsaking a classical approach for a bolder attempt to make the food contemporary to a younger audience.

Despite his Taj experience and conceptualizing Ente Keralam, Chef Regi says this project improved his knowledge of Kerala food by 300%. Many staff members were picked up from their travels – toddy shop cook Aachan, the Ramassery idli maker, Sheelammachi and Sheelapriya, two ammachis from Kottayam and Fort Kochi – who ensure that the taste remains authentic and true to the region and community.

They use the open vessel slow-cooking method in traditional cookware like chattis (earthenware), urulis and cast iron pans in small batches at a separate kitchen with Malayalam songs playing in the background! “We make a set quantity of food everyday… if it gets over, it’s over.”

A lot has to do with sourcing the right ingredients, directly from the farmers, which helps maintain quality and flavour. The mutton is from goats that graze in hilly Wayanad they are more energetic and the marbling on the meat is better. Pepper is top quality Tellicherry Gold from Pulpally. Cardamom is from Vandiperiyar and tea from a particular high-range plantation in Munnar.

They collected a range of payasams from the Namboodris in the Thrissur region and enlisted a Namboodri, also an Ayurvedic doctor and temple priest, who begins his cooking with a prayer. The other desserts were as exquisite – Unnakkai, kapok pod shaped quenelles of deep fried bananas stuffed with coconut and jaggery and the spicy Kandhari Ice Cream. Washing it down with cinnamon and spice infused Sulaimani Tea, a meal at Kappa Chakka Khandari left us with the lingering flavours of Kerala on our lips.

Authors: Anurag Mallick & Priya Ganapathy. Photos: Vinayak Grover.
This restaurant review was done for Conde Nast Traveller India and appeared on 13 December, 2019. Here’s the link to the story: https://www.cntraveller.in/story/kappa-chakka-kandhari-koramangala-new-restaurant-bengaluru-brings-flavours-kerala-table/

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From toddy shop ‘touchings’ to temple payasams, Kappa Chakka Kandhari in Koramangala serves Kerala cuisine and nostalgia on a platter, discover ANURAG MALLICK and PRIYA GANAPATHY

The KCK story began on a rainy day when three friends – Chef Regi Mathew, engineer John Paul, and event manager Augustine Kurian – got nostalgic over typical childhood snacks like pazhampori and sukhiyan. Chef Mathew reveals, “Each of us thought of our favourite items and how it would be wonderful to bring it back.” And so, after three years of research and several pop-ups between Bangalore and Dubai, they opened Kappa Chakka Kandhari in Chennai to rave reviews. Around 500 days later and 350 km away, they launched a sprawling new restaurant in Koramangala, Bengaluru. In an exclusive preview, we chatted with co-owner and Culinary Director Chef Regi Mathew to understand what catapulted KCK to #23 at Conde Nast’s recent Top Restaurants in India.

The name itself is a talking point. Built on the three pillars or standard ingredients typical to Kerala – Kappa (tapioca), Chakka (jackfruit) and Kandhari (Bird’s eye chilli) – the restaurant is an ode to home-style local fare, like mum’s cooking, often taken for granted. Be it chai kadas (tea stalls) or toddy shops, this is where the food of your childhood and youth comes together. To recreate a memory map of food, they set off on a culinary journey from Kasargod to Trivandrum.

“I’m from Kottayyam while my partners are from Thrissur and Kannur,” says Chef Regi. “We went back to our roots to our mothers. We remember plucking tapioca from the backyard for evening snacks and chasing after chickens to prepare a meal for guests. We collected their recipes, nuances and cooking methods and asked them to put us onto ten of their close childhood friends who were good cooks. From 30 housewives it became 265 housewives and after visiting over 70 toddy shops (beyond a point, you don’t remember), we collected 800 odd recipes. Only 90 dishes have made it to the final menu, a good representation from the Malabari, Syrian Christian and Namboodri kitchens.”

The ground floor space is inviting and comfortably seats 90 with an outdoor verandah overlooking a tree-lined avenue. Light pours in through enormous windows and a starry ceiling of studio lights. Teak tabletops rest on vintage sewing machine style bases. Colour tones echo earthy mustards, maroons and browns, the cement floor is industrial while shell-white walls bear sepia images, evocative of simple childhood pleasures – mud football and catching fish with a torth (thin towel). The table setting has neat copper banana leaf-shaped plates and elegant copper and brass cutlery. The serving dishes are mostly black clayware, except for the ‘touchings’ in toddy-shop style white plates with coconut shell spoons and palm handles.

We began with orange and lemon Goli Soda that brought in a wave of nostalgia, punching the marble down for the familiar pop ‘n fizz. There are no aerated drinks, only ethnic fare like nannari (sarsaparilla) sherbet, Absolut Kandhari – a school break classic of lime juice with a spicy kandhari kick and Kol Ice (ice lollies on sticks). Blasphemous as it may sound for a Kerala restaurant, they do not serve parota, biryani and meals on the menu.

Chef laughs, “We wanted to keep the food light, inspired by the ‘touchings’, known locally as thuttu-nakki, ‘touch and lick’ accompaniments served at kallu shaaps. Every toddy shop has its specialty like kappa-meen, duck mapas or clams. Portions are deliberately small, and we encourage people to try more sides and eat more protein rather than carbs.”

So out came Kakka Erachi or masala-fried clams sourced from Kerala’s backwaters, Ideirachi or sun-dried tenderloin and delicious Mutton Coconut Fry with coconut shavings. Kappa Vadas, boiled and spiced tapioca mash fried to a golden brown patty, came with an in-house beetroot puree, inspired from beetroot pickled in vinegar from Syrian Christian homes in Fort Cochin. Koorrka Ullarthiyathu or Chinese potatoes, found only in Central Travancore with a slightly more fibrous texture, were roasted in pepper and mild spices.

Prawn Kizhi, a delicious pocket of prawns steamed with coconut masala in banana leaf, was reminiscent of the kizhi (poultice pouches) used in Ayurveda. Improvising on his mother’s dish, it adds an element of drama and curiosity. Ayikoora Nellikka Masala Fry has its origins in Agasthyarmalai, where tribals would marinate fish with bird eye chili, green peppercorns, wild herbs and sundried gooseberry, baking it on heated river stones, whose minerals gave the salt content. Unusual dishes never found in restaurants, here you experience Kerala’s rich culinary diversity under one roof.

In the open kitchen we witnessed the unique Ramasserry Idly being made, a signature dish from Ramaserry in Palakkad. Apparently, the Mudaliars, originally weavers who settled in Palghat travelled to sell their wares and created these idlis that wouldn’t spoil for 3-4 days. The unique steaming technique uses muslin cloth, netted clay rings, earthen pots and Plachi leaves.

It is paired with chicken curry or a delicious granular podi in coconut oil, with the earthy crunch of Palakaddan matta rice. The sweet n’ spicy Pineapple Nendram Masala – ripe nendrapazham (bananas) with spices, mustard, curry leaves and coconut oil is a standout dessert disguised as a palate cleanser.

Every dish has a story – Ramapuram’s pidi (tiny rice dumplings cooked in coconut milk) with mellow country-style koli (chicken) curry is offered to devotees at the Ramapuram Church on feast day. The mains are delicious, each with specific pairings – Vattayappam, pillowy soft fermented steamed rice cakes with delicately spiced Chatti Meen (Pearlspot) Curry, pathiri or typical Malabar rice roti with tantalizing Mutton Chaps.

The pure white ‘nice pathiri’ is from Tellicherry. Besides the unusual Puttu biryani, a steamed version from Cochin, there’s Maniputtu biryani or idiappam (string hoppers) available in mutton or green gram, served with papad. “Think of it as eating spaghetti”, says Chef Regi, forsaking a classical approach for a bolder attempt to make the food contemporary to a younger audience.

Despite his Taj experience and conceptualizing Ente Keralam, Chef Regi says this project improved his knowledge of Kerala food by 300%. Many staff members were picked up from their travels – toddy shop cook Aachan, the Ramassery idli maker, Sheelammachi and Sheelapriya, two ammachis from Kottayam and Fort Kochi – who ensure that the taste remains authentic and true to the region and community.

They use the open vessel slow-cooking method in traditional cookware like chattis (earthenware), urulis and cast iron pans in small batches at a separate kitchen with Malayalam songs playing in the background! “We make a set quantity of food everyday… if it gets over, it’s over.”

A lot has to do with sourcing the right ingredients, directly from the farmers, which helps maintain quality and flavour. The mutton is from goats that graze in hilly Wayanad they are more energetic and the marbling on the meat is better. Pepper is top quality Tellicherry Gold from Pulpally. Cardamom is from Vandiperiyar and tea from a particular high-range plantation in Munnar.

They collected a range of payasams from the Namboodris in the Thrissur region and enlisted a Namboodri, also an Ayurvedic doctor and temple priest, who begins his cooking with a prayer. The other desserts were as exquisite – Unnakkai, kapok pod shaped quenelles of deep fried bananas stuffed with coconut and jaggery and the spicy Kandhari Ice Cream. Washing it down with cinnamon and spice infused Sulaimani Tea, a meal at Kappa Chakka Khandari left us with the lingering flavours of Kerala on our lips.

Authors: Anurag Mallick & Priya Ganapathy. Photos: Vinayak Grover.
This restaurant review was done for Conde Nast Traveller India and appeared on 13 December, 2019. Here’s the link to the story: https://www.cntraveller.in/story/kappa-chakka-kandhari-koramangala-new-restaurant-bengaluru-brings-flavours-kerala-table/

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From toddy shop ‘touchings’ to temple payasams, Kappa Chakka Kandhari in Koramangala serves Kerala cuisine and nostalgia on a platter, discover ANURAG MALLICK and PRIYA GANAPATHY

The KCK story began on a rainy day when three friends – Chef Regi Mathew, engineer John Paul, and event manager Augustine Kurian – got nostalgic over typical childhood snacks like pazhampori and sukhiyan. Chef Mathew reveals, “Each of us thought of our favourite items and how it would be wonderful to bring it back.” And so, after three years of research and several pop-ups between Bangalore and Dubai, they opened Kappa Chakka Kandhari in Chennai to rave reviews. Around 500 days later and 350 km away, they launched a sprawling new restaurant in Koramangala, Bengaluru. In an exclusive preview, we chatted with co-owner and Culinary Director Chef Regi Mathew to understand what catapulted KCK to #23 at Conde Nast’s recent Top Restaurants in India.

The name itself is a talking point. Built on the three pillars or standard ingredients typical to Kerala – Kappa (tapioca), Chakka (jackfruit) and Kandhari (Bird’s eye chilli) – the restaurant is an ode to home-style local fare, like mum’s cooking, often taken for granted. Be it chai kadas (tea stalls) or toddy shops, this is where the food of your childhood and youth comes together. To recreate a memory map of food, they set off on a culinary journey from Kasargod to Trivandrum.

“I’m from Kottayyam while my partners are from Thrissur and Kannur,” says Chef Regi. “We went back to our roots to our mothers. We remember plucking tapioca from the backyard for evening snacks and chasing after chickens to prepare a meal for guests. We collected their recipes, nuances and cooking methods and asked them to put us onto ten of their close childhood friends who were good cooks. From 30 housewives it became 265 housewives and after visiting over 70 toddy shops (beyond a point, you don’t remember), we collected 800 odd recipes. Only 90 dishes have made it to the final menu, a good representation from the Malabari, Syrian Christian and Namboodri kitchens.”

The ground floor space is inviting and comfortably seats 90 with an outdoor verandah overlooking a tree-lined avenue. Light pours in through enormous windows and a starry ceiling of studio lights. Teak tabletops rest on vintage sewing machine style bases. Colour tones echo earthy mustards, maroons and browns, the cement floor is industrial while shell-white walls bear sepia images, evocative of simple childhood pleasures – mud football and catching fish with a torth (thin towel). The table setting has neat copper banana leaf-shaped plates and elegant copper and brass cutlery. The serving dishes are mostly black clayware, except for the ‘touchings’ in toddy-shop style white plates with coconut shell spoons and palm handles.

We began with orange and lemon Goli Soda that brought in a wave of nostalgia, punching the marble down for the familiar pop ‘n fizz. There are no aerated drinks, only ethnic fare like nannari (sarsaparilla) sherbet, Absolut Kandhari – a school break classic of lime juice with a spicy kandhari kick and Kol Ice (ice lollies on sticks). Blasphemous as it may sound for a Kerala restaurant, they do not serve parota, biryani and meals on the menu.

Chef laughs, “We wanted to keep the food light, inspired by the ‘touchings’, known locally as thuttu-nakki, ‘touch and lick’ accompaniments served at kallu shaaps. Every toddy shop has its specialty like kappa-meen, duck mapas or clams. Portions are deliberately small, and we encourage people to try more sides and eat more protein rather than carbs.”

So out came Kakka Erachi or masala-fried clams sourced from Kerala’s backwaters, Ideirachi or sun-dried tenderloin and delicious Mutton Coconut Fry with coconut shavings. Kappa Vadas, boiled and spiced tapioca mash fried to a golden brown patty, came with an in-house beetroot puree, inspired from beetroot pickled in vinegar from Syrian Christian homes in Fort Cochin. Koorrka Ullarthiyathu or Chinese potatoes, found only in Central Travancore with a slightly more fibrous texture, were roasted in pepper and mild spices.

Prawn Kizhi, a delicious pocket of prawns steamed with coconut masala in banana leaf, was reminiscent of the kizhi (poultice pouches) used in Ayurveda. Improvising on his mother’s dish, it adds an element of drama and curiosity. Ayikoora Nellikka Masala Fry has its origins in Agasthyarmalai, where tribals would marinate fish with bird eye chili, green peppercorns, wild herbs and sundried gooseberry, baking it on heated river stones, whose minerals gave the salt content. Unusual dishes never found in restaurants, here you experience Kerala’s rich culinary diversity under one roof.

In the open kitchen we witnessed the unique Ramasserry Idly being made, a signature dish from Ramaserry in Palakkad. Apparently, the Mudaliars, originally weavers who settled in Palghat travelled to sell their wares and created these idlis that wouldn’t spoil for 3-4 days. The unique steaming technique uses muslin cloth, netted clay rings, earthen pots and Plachi leaves.

It is paired with chicken curry or a delicious granular podi in coconut oil, with the earthy crunch of Palakaddan matta rice. The sweet n’ spicy Pineapple Nendram Masala – ripe nendrapazham (bananas) with spices, mustard, curry leaves and coconut oil is a standout dessert disguised as a palate cleanser.

Every dish has a story – Ramapuram’s pidi (tiny rice dumplings cooked in coconut milk) with mellow country-style koli (chicken) curry is offered to devotees at the Ramapuram Church on feast day. The mains are delicious, each with specific pairings – Vattayappam, pillowy soft fermented steamed rice cakes with delicately spiced Chatti Meen (Pearlspot) Curry, pathiri or typical Malabar rice roti with tantalizing Mutton Chaps.

The pure white ‘nice pathiri’ is from Tellicherry. Besides the unusual Puttu biryani, a steamed version from Cochin, there’s Maniputtu biryani or idiappam (string hoppers) available in mutton or green gram, served with papad. “Think of it as eating spaghetti”, says Chef Regi, forsaking a classical approach for a bolder attempt to make the food contemporary to a younger audience.

Despite his Taj experience and conceptualizing Ente Keralam, Chef Regi says this project improved his knowledge of Kerala food by 300%. Many staff members were picked up from their travels – toddy shop cook Aachan, the Ramassery idli maker, Sheelammachi and Sheelapriya, two ammachis from Kottayam and Fort Kochi – who ensure that the taste remains authentic and true to the region and community.

They use the open vessel slow-cooking method in traditional cookware like chattis (earthenware), urulis and cast iron pans in small batches at a separate kitchen with Malayalam songs playing in the background! “We make a set quantity of food everyday… if it gets over, it’s over.”

A lot has to do with sourcing the right ingredients, directly from the farmers, which helps maintain quality and flavour. The mutton is from goats that graze in hilly Wayanad they are more energetic and the marbling on the meat is better. Pepper is top quality Tellicherry Gold from Pulpally. Cardamom is from Vandiperiyar and tea from a particular high-range plantation in Munnar.

They collected a range of payasams from the Namboodris in the Thrissur region and enlisted a Namboodri, also an Ayurvedic doctor and temple priest, who begins his cooking with a prayer. The other desserts were as exquisite – Unnakkai, kapok pod shaped quenelles of deep fried bananas stuffed with coconut and jaggery and the spicy Kandhari Ice Cream. Washing it down with cinnamon and spice infused Sulaimani Tea, a meal at Kappa Chakka Khandari left us with the lingering flavours of Kerala on our lips.

Authors: Anurag Mallick & Priya Ganapathy. Photos: Vinayak Grover.
This restaurant review was done for Conde Nast Traveller India and appeared on 13 December, 2019. Here’s the link to the story: https://www.cntraveller.in/story/kappa-chakka-kandhari-koramangala-new-restaurant-bengaluru-brings-flavours-kerala-table/

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Redscarab

From toddy shop ‘touchings’ to temple payasams, Kappa Chakka Kandhari in Koramangala serves Kerala cuisine and nostalgia on a platter, discover ANURAG MALLICK and PRIYA GANAPATHY

The KCK story began on a rainy day when three friends – Chef Regi Mathew, engineer John Paul, and event manager Augustine Kurian – got nostalgic over typical childhood snacks like pazhampori and sukhiyan. Chef Mathew reveals, “Each of us thought of our favourite items and how it would be wonderful to bring it back.” And so, after three years of research and several pop-ups between Bangalore and Dubai, they opened Kappa Chakka Kandhari in Chennai to rave reviews. Around 500 days later and 350 km away, they launched a sprawling new restaurant in Koramangala, Bengaluru. In an exclusive preview, we chatted with co-owner and Culinary Director Chef Regi Mathew to understand what catapulted KCK to #23 at Conde Nast’s recent Top Restaurants in India.

The name itself is a talking point. Built on the three pillars or standard ingredients typical to Kerala – Kappa (tapioca), Chakka (jackfruit) and Kandhari (Bird’s eye chilli) – the restaurant is an ode to home-style local fare, like mum’s cooking, often taken for granted. Be it chai kadas (tea stalls) or toddy shops, this is where the food of your childhood and youth comes together. To recreate a memory map of food, they set off on a culinary journey from Kasargod to Trivandrum.

“I’m from Kottayyam while my partners are from Thrissur and Kannur,” says Chef Regi. “We went back to our roots to our mothers. We remember plucking tapioca from the backyard for evening snacks and chasing after chickens to prepare a meal for guests. We collected their recipes, nuances and cooking methods and asked them to put us onto ten of their close childhood friends who were good cooks. From 30 housewives it became 265 housewives and after visiting over 70 toddy shops (beyond a point, you don’t remember), we collected 800 odd recipes. Only 90 dishes have made it to the final menu, a good representation from the Malabari, Syrian Christian and Namboodri kitchens.”

The ground floor space is inviting and comfortably seats 90 with an outdoor verandah overlooking a tree-lined avenue. Light pours in through enormous windows and a starry ceiling of studio lights. Teak tabletops rest on vintage sewing machine style bases. Colour tones echo earthy mustards, maroons and browns, the cement floor is industrial while shell-white walls bear sepia images, evocative of simple childhood pleasures – mud football and catching fish with a torth (thin towel). The table setting has neat copper banana leaf-shaped plates and elegant copper and brass cutlery. The serving dishes are mostly black clayware, except for the ‘touchings’ in toddy-shop style white plates with coconut shell spoons and palm handles.

We began with orange and lemon Goli Soda that brought in a wave of nostalgia, punching the marble down for the familiar pop ‘n fizz. There are no aerated drinks, only ethnic fare like nannari (sarsaparilla) sherbet, Absolut Kandhari – a school break classic of lime juice with a spicy kandhari kick and Kol Ice (ice lollies on sticks). Blasphemous as it may sound for a Kerala restaurant, they do not serve parota, biryani and meals on the menu.

Chef laughs, “We wanted to keep the food light, inspired by the ‘touchings’, known locally as thuttu-nakki, ‘touch and lick’ accompaniments served at kallu shaaps. Every toddy shop has its specialty like kappa-meen, duck mapas or clams. Portions are deliberately small, and we encourage people to try more sides and eat more protein rather than carbs.”

So out came Kakka Erachi or masala-fried clams sourced from Kerala’s backwaters, Ideirachi or sun-dried tenderloin and delicious Mutton Coconut Fry with coconut shavings. Kappa Vadas, boiled and spiced tapioca mash fried to a golden brown patty, came with an in-house beetroot puree, inspired from beetroot pickled in vinegar from Syrian Christian homes in Fort Cochin. Koorrka Ullarthiyathu or Chinese potatoes, found only in Central Travancore with a slightly more fibrous texture, were roasted in pepper and mild spices.

Prawn Kizhi, a delicious pocket of prawns steamed with coconut masala in banana leaf, was reminiscent of the kizhi (poultice pouches) used in Ayurveda. Improvising on his mother’s dish, it adds an element of drama and curiosity. Ayikoora Nellikka Masala Fry has its origins in Agasthyarmalai, where tribals would marinate fish with bird eye chili, green peppercorns, wild herbs and sundried gooseberry, baking it on heated river stones, whose minerals gave the salt content. Unusual dishes never found in restaurants, here you experience Kerala’s rich culinary diversity under one roof.

In the open kitchen we witnessed the unique Ramasserry Idly being made, a signature dish from Ramaserry in Palakkad. Apparently, the Mudaliars, originally weavers who settled in Palghat travelled to sell their wares and created these idlis that wouldn’t spoil for 3-4 days. The unique steaming technique uses muslin cloth, netted clay rings, earthen pots and Plachi leaves.

It is paired with chicken curry or a delicious granular podi in coconut oil, with the earthy crunch of Palakaddan matta rice. The sweet n’ spicy Pineapple Nendram Masala – ripe nendrapazham (bananas) with spices, mustard, curry leaves and coconut oil is a standout dessert disguised as a palate cleanser.

Every dish has a story – Ramapuram’s pidi (tiny rice dumplings cooked in coconut milk) with mellow country-style koli (chicken) curry is offered to devotees at the Ramapuram Church on feast day. The mains are delicious, each with specific pairings – Vattayappam, pillowy soft fermented steamed rice cakes with delicately spiced Chatti Meen (Pearlspot) Curry, pathiri or typical Malabar rice roti with tantalizing Mutton Chaps.

The pure white ‘nice pathiri’ is from Tellicherry. Besides the unusual Puttu biryani, a steamed version from Cochin, there’s Maniputtu biryani or idiappam (string hoppers) available in mutton or green gram, served with papad. “Think of it as eating spaghetti”, says Chef Regi, forsaking a classical approach for a bolder attempt to make the food contemporary to a younger audience.

Despite his Taj experience and conceptualizing Ente Keralam, Chef Regi says this project improved his knowledge of Kerala food by 300%. Many staff members were picked up from their travels – toddy shop cook Aachan, the Ramassery idli maker, Sheelammachi and Sheelapriya, two ammachis from Kottayam and Fort Kochi – who ensure that the taste remains authentic and true to the region and community.

They use the open vessel slow-cooking method in traditional cookware like chattis (earthenware), urulis and cast iron pans in small batches at a separate kitchen with Malayalam songs playing in the background! “We make a set quantity of food everyday… if it gets over, it’s over.”

A lot has to do with sourcing the right ingredients, directly from the farmers, which helps maintain quality and flavour. The mutton is from goats that graze in hilly Wayanad they are more energetic and the marbling on the meat is better. Pepper is top quality Tellicherry Gold from Pulpally. Cardamom is from Vandiperiyar and tea from a particular high-range plantation in Munnar.

They collected a range of payasams from the Namboodris in the Thrissur region and enlisted a Namboodri, also an Ayurvedic doctor and temple priest, who begins his cooking with a prayer. The other desserts were as exquisite – Unnakkai, kapok pod shaped quenelles of deep fried bananas stuffed with coconut and jaggery and the spicy Kandhari Ice Cream. Washing it down with cinnamon and spice infused Sulaimani Tea, a meal at Kappa Chakka Khandari left us with the lingering flavours of Kerala on our lips.

Authors: Anurag Mallick & Priya Ganapathy. Photos: Vinayak Grover.
This restaurant review was done for Conde Nast Traveller India and appeared on 13 December, 2019. Here’s the link to the story: https://www.cntraveller.in/story/kappa-chakka-kandhari-koramangala-new-restaurant-bengaluru-brings-flavours-kerala-table/

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From toddy shop ‘touchings’ to temple payasams, Kappa Chakka Kandhari in Koramangala serves Kerala cuisine and nostalgia on a platter, discover ANURAG MALLICK and PRIYA GANAPATHY

The KCK story began on a rainy day when three friends – Chef Regi Mathew, engineer John Paul, and event manager Augustine Kurian – got nostalgic over typical childhood snacks like pazhampori and sukhiyan. Chef Mathew reveals, “Each of us thought of our favourite items and how it would be wonderful to bring it back.” And so, after three years of research and several pop-ups between Bangalore and Dubai, they opened Kappa Chakka Kandhari in Chennai to rave reviews. Around 500 days later and 350 km away, they launched a sprawling new restaurant in Koramangala, Bengaluru. In an exclusive preview, we chatted with co-owner and Culinary Director Chef Regi Mathew to understand what catapulted KCK to #23 at Conde Nast’s recent Top Restaurants in India.

The name itself is a talking point. Built on the three pillars or standard ingredients typical to Kerala – Kappa (tapioca), Chakka (jackfruit) and Kandhari (Bird’s eye chilli) – the restaurant is an ode to home-style local fare, like mum’s cooking, often taken for granted. Be it chai kadas (tea stalls) or toddy shops, this is where the food of your childhood and youth comes together. To recreate a memory map of food, they set off on a culinary journey from Kasargod to Trivandrum.

“I’m from Kottayyam while my partners are from Thrissur and Kannur,” says Chef Regi. “We went back to our roots to our mothers. We remember plucking tapioca from the backyard for evening snacks and chasing after chickens to prepare a meal for guests. We collected their recipes, nuances and cooking methods and asked them to put us onto ten of their close childhood friends who were good cooks. From 30 housewives it became 265 housewives and after visiting over 70 toddy shops (beyond a point, you don’t remember), we collected 800 odd recipes. Only 90 dishes have made it to the final menu, a good representation from the Malabari, Syrian Christian and Namboodri kitchens.”

The ground floor space is inviting and comfortably seats 90 with an outdoor verandah overlooking a tree-lined avenue. Light pours in through enormous windows and a starry ceiling of studio lights. Teak tabletops rest on vintage sewing machine style bases. Colour tones echo earthy mustards, maroons and browns, the cement floor is industrial while shell-white walls bear sepia images, evocative of simple childhood pleasures – mud football and catching fish with a torth (thin towel). The table setting has neat copper banana leaf-shaped plates and elegant copper and brass cutlery. The serving dishes are mostly black clayware, except for the ‘touchings’ in toddy-shop style white plates with coconut shell spoons and palm handles.

We began with orange and lemon Goli Soda that brought in a wave of nostalgia, punching the marble down for the familiar pop ‘n fizz. There are no aerated drinks, only ethnic fare like nannari (sarsaparilla) sherbet, Absolut Kandhari – a school break classic of lime juice with a spicy kandhari kick and Kol Ice (ice lollies on sticks). Blasphemous as it may sound for a Kerala restaurant, they do not serve parota, biryani and meals on the menu.

Chef laughs, “We wanted to keep the food light, inspired by the ‘touchings’, known locally as thuttu-nakki, ‘touch and lick’ accompaniments served at kallu shaaps. Every toddy shop has its specialty like kappa-meen, duck mapas or clams. Portions are deliberately small, and we encourage people to try more sides and eat more protein rather than carbs.”

So out came Kakka Erachi or masala-fried clams sourced from Kerala’s backwaters, Ideirachi or sun-dried tenderloin and delicious Mutton Coconut Fry with coconut shavings. Kappa Vadas, boiled and spiced tapioca mash fried to a golden brown patty, came with an in-house beetroot puree, inspired from beetroot pickled in vinegar from Syrian Christian homes in Fort Cochin. Koorrka Ullarthiyathu or Chinese potatoes, found only in Central Travancore with a slightly more fibrous texture, were roasted in pepper and mild spices.

Prawn Kizhi, a delicious pocket of prawns steamed with coconut masala in banana leaf, was reminiscent of the kizhi (poultice pouches) used in Ayurveda. Improvising on his mother’s dish, it adds an element of drama and curiosity. Ayikoora Nellikka Masala Fry has its origins in Agasthyarmalai, where tribals would marinate fish with bird eye chili, green peppercorns, wild herbs and sundried gooseberry, baking it on heated river stones, whose minerals gave the salt content. Unusual dishes never found in restaurants, here you experience Kerala’s rich culinary diversity under one roof.

In the open kitchen we witnessed the unique Ramasserry Idly being made, a signature dish from Ramaserry in Palakkad. Apparently, the Mudaliars, originally weavers who settled in Palghat travelled to sell their wares and created these idlis that wouldn’t spoil for 3-4 days. The unique steaming technique uses muslin cloth, netted clay rings, earthen pots and Plachi leaves.

It is paired with chicken curry or a delicious granular podi in coconut oil, with the earthy crunch of Palakaddan matta rice. The sweet n’ spicy Pineapple Nendram Masala – ripe nendrapazham (bananas) with spices, mustard, curry leaves and coconut oil is a standout dessert disguised as a palate cleanser.

Every dish has a story – Ramapuram’s pidi (tiny rice dumplings cooked in coconut milk) with mellow country-style koli (chicken) curry is offered to devotees at the Ramapuram Church on feast day. The mains are delicious, each with specific pairings – Vattayappam, pillowy soft fermented steamed rice cakes with delicately spiced Chatti Meen (Pearlspot) Curry, pathiri or typical Malabar rice roti with tantalizing Mutton Chaps.

The pure white ‘nice pathiri’ is from Tellicherry. Besides the unusual Puttu biryani, a steamed version from Cochin, there’s Maniputtu biryani or idiappam (string hoppers) available in mutton or green gram, served with papad. “Think of it as eating spaghetti”, says Chef Regi, forsaking a classical approach for a bolder attempt to make the food contemporary to a younger audience.

Despite his Taj experience and conceptualizing Ente Keralam, Chef Regi says this project improved his knowledge of Kerala food by 300%. Many staff members were picked up from their travels – toddy shop cook Aachan, the Ramassery idli maker, Sheelammachi and Sheelapriya, two ammachis from Kottayam and Fort Kochi – who ensure that the taste remains authentic and true to the region and community.

They use the open vessel slow-cooking method in traditional cookware like chattis (earthenware), urulis and cast iron pans in small batches at a separate kitchen with Malayalam songs playing in the background! “We make a set quantity of food everyday… if it gets over, it’s over.”

A lot has to do with sourcing the right ingredients, directly from the farmers, which helps maintain quality and flavour. The mutton is from goats that graze in hilly Wayanad they are more energetic and the marbling on the meat is better. Pepper is top quality Tellicherry Gold from Pulpally. Cardamom is from Vandiperiyar and tea from a particular high-range plantation in Munnar.

They collected a range of payasams from the Namboodris in the Thrissur region and enlisted a Namboodri, also an Ayurvedic doctor and temple priest, who begins his cooking with a prayer. The other desserts were as exquisite – Unnakkai, kapok pod shaped quenelles of deep fried bananas stuffed with coconut and jaggery and the spicy Kandhari Ice Cream. Washing it down with cinnamon and spice infused Sulaimani Tea, a meal at Kappa Chakka Khandari left us with the lingering flavours of Kerala on our lips.

Authors: Anurag Mallick & Priya Ganapathy. Photos: Vinayak Grover.
This restaurant review was done for Conde Nast Traveller India and appeared on 13 December, 2019. Here’s the link to the story: https://www.cntraveller.in/story/kappa-chakka-kandhari-koramangala-new-restaurant-bengaluru-brings-flavours-kerala-table/

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From toddy shop ‘touchings’ to temple payasams, Kappa Chakka Kandhari in Koramangala serves Kerala cuisine and nostalgia on a platter, discover ANURAG MALLICK and PRIYA GANAPATHY

The KCK story began on a rainy day when three friends – Chef Regi Mathew, engineer John Paul, and event manager Augustine Kurian – got nostalgic over typical childhood snacks like pazhampori and sukhiyan. Chef Mathew reveals, “Each of us thought of our favourite items and how it would be wonderful to bring it back.” And so, after three years of research and several pop-ups between Bangalore and Dubai, they opened Kappa Chakka Kandhari in Chennai to rave reviews. Around 500 days later and 350 km away, they launched a sprawling new restaurant in Koramangala, Bengaluru. In an exclusive preview, we chatted with co-owner and Culinary Director Chef Regi Mathew to understand what catapulted KCK to #23 at Conde Nast’s recent Top Restaurants in India.

The name itself is a talking point. Built on the three pillars or standard ingredients typical to Kerala – Kappa (tapioca), Chakka (jackfruit) and Kandhari (Bird’s eye chilli) – the restaurant is an ode to home-style local fare, like mum’s cooking, often taken for granted. Be it chai kadas (tea stalls) or toddy shops, this is where the food of your childhood and youth comes together. To recreate a memory map of food, they set off on a culinary journey from Kasargod to Trivandrum.

“I’m from Kottayyam while my partners are from Thrissur and Kannur,” says Chef Regi. “We went back to our roots to our mothers. We remember plucking tapioca from the backyard for evening snacks and chasing after chickens to prepare a meal for guests. We collected their recipes, nuances and cooking methods and asked them to put us onto ten of their close childhood friends who were good cooks. From 30 housewives it became 265 housewives and after visiting over 70 toddy shops (beyond a point, you don’t remember), we collected 800 odd recipes. Only 90 dishes have made it to the final menu, a good representation from the Malabari, Syrian Christian and Namboodri kitchens.”

The ground floor space is inviting and comfortably seats 90 with an outdoor verandah overlooking a tree-lined avenue. Light pours in through enormous windows and a starry ceiling of studio lights. Teak tabletops rest on vintage sewing machine style bases. Colour tones echo earthy mustards, maroons and browns, the cement floor is industrial while shell-white walls bear sepia images, evocative of simple childhood pleasures – mud football and catching fish with a torth (thin towel). The table setting has neat copper banana leaf-shaped plates and elegant copper and brass cutlery. The serving dishes are mostly black clayware, except for the ‘touchings’ in toddy-shop style white plates with coconut shell spoons and palm handles.

We began with orange and lemon Goli Soda that brought in a wave of nostalgia, punching the marble down for the familiar pop ‘n fizz. There are no aerated drinks, only ethnic fare like nannari (sarsaparilla) sherbet, Absolut Kandhari – a school break classic of lime juice with a spicy kandhari kick and Kol Ice (ice lollies on sticks). Blasphemous as it may sound for a Kerala restaurant, they do not serve parota, biryani and meals on the menu.

Chef laughs, “We wanted to keep the food light, inspired by the ‘touchings’, known locally as thuttu-nakki, ‘touch and lick’ accompaniments served at kallu shaaps. Every toddy shop has its specialty like kappa-meen, duck mapas or clams. Portions are deliberately small, and we encourage people to try more sides and eat more protein rather than carbs.”

So out came Kakka Erachi or masala-fried clams sourced from Kerala’s backwaters, Ideirachi or sun-dried tenderloin and delicious Mutton Coconut Fry with coconut shavings. Kappa Vadas, boiled and spiced tapioca mash fried to a golden brown patty, came with an in-house beetroot puree, inspired from beetroot pickled in vinegar from Syrian Christian homes in Fort Cochin. Koorrka Ullarthiyathu or Chinese potatoes, found only in Central Travancore with a slightly more fibrous texture, were roasted in pepper and mild spices.

Prawn Kizhi, a delicious pocket of prawns steamed with coconut masala in banana leaf, was reminiscent of the kizhi (poultice pouches) used in Ayurveda. Improvising on his mother’s dish, it adds an element of drama and curiosity. Ayikoora Nellikka Masala Fry has its origins in Agasthyarmalai, where tribals would marinate fish with bird eye chili, green peppercorns, wild herbs and sundried gooseberry, baking it on heated river stones, whose minerals gave the salt content. Unusual dishes never found in restaurants, here you experience Kerala’s rich culinary diversity under one roof.

In the open kitchen we witnessed the unique Ramasserry Idly being made, a signature dish from Ramaserry in Palakkad. Apparently, the Mudaliars, originally weavers who settled in Palghat travelled to sell their wares and created these idlis that wouldn’t spoil for 3-4 days. The unique steaming technique uses muslin cloth, netted clay rings, earthen pots and Plachi leaves.

It is paired with chicken curry or a delicious granular podi in coconut oil, with the earthy crunch of Palakaddan matta rice. The sweet n’ spicy Pineapple Nendram Masala – ripe nendrapazham (bananas) with spices, mustard, curry leaves and coconut oil is a standout dessert disguised as a palate cleanser.

Every dish has a story – Ramapuram’s pidi (tiny rice dumplings cooked in coconut milk) with mellow country-style koli (chicken) curry is offered to devotees at the Ramapuram Church on feast day. The mains are delicious, each with specific pairings – Vattayappam, pillowy soft fermented steamed rice cakes with delicately spiced Chatti Meen (Pearlspot) Curry, pathiri or typical Malabar rice roti with tantalizing Mutton Chaps.

The pure white ‘nice pathiri’ is from Tellicherry. Besides the unusual Puttu biryani, a steamed version from Cochin, there’s Maniputtu biryani or idiappam (string hoppers) available in mutton or green gram, served with papad. “Think of it as eating spaghetti”, says Chef Regi, forsaking a classical approach for a bolder attempt to make the food contemporary to a younger audience.

Despite his Taj experience and conceptualizing Ente Keralam, Chef Regi says this project improved his knowledge of Kerala food by 300%. Many staff members were picked up from their travels – toddy shop cook Aachan, the Ramassery idli maker, Sheelammachi and Sheelapriya, two ammachis from Kottayam and Fort Kochi – who ensure that the taste remains authentic and true to the region and community.

They use the open vessel slow-cooking method in traditional cookware like chattis (earthenware), urulis and cast iron pans in small batches at a separate kitchen with Malayalam songs playing in the background! “We make a set quantity of food everyday… if it gets over, it’s over.”

A lot has to do with sourcing the right ingredients, directly from the farmers, which helps maintain quality and flavour. The mutton is from goats that graze in hilly Wayanad they are more energetic and the marbling on the meat is better. Pepper is top quality Tellicherry Gold from Pulpally. Cardamom is from Vandiperiyar and tea from a particular high-range plantation in Munnar.

They collected a range of payasams from the Namboodris in the Thrissur region and enlisted a Namboodri, also an Ayurvedic doctor and temple priest, who begins his cooking with a prayer. The other desserts were as exquisite – Unnakkai, kapok pod shaped quenelles of deep fried bananas stuffed with coconut and jaggery and the spicy Kandhari Ice Cream. Washing it down with cinnamon and spice infused Sulaimani Tea, a meal at Kappa Chakka Khandari left us with the lingering flavours of Kerala on our lips.

Authors: Anurag Mallick & Priya Ganapathy. Photos: Vinayak Grover.
This restaurant review was done for Conde Nast Traveller India and appeared on 13 December, 2019. Here’s the link to the story: https://www.cntraveller.in/story/kappa-chakka-kandhari-koramangala-new-restaurant-bengaluru-brings-flavours-kerala-table/

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