Mamma Mia! Food!

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“Rocky and Mayur have ventured out to explore food from all parts of India and curate videos on Askme.com – I’m contributing my part by relishing my favorite dishes at Mamma Mia and sharing my views with you all!

You can also upload your video review on AskMe and stand a chance to meet Rocky and Mayur.”

We were returning from Thalayolaparambu, and instead of taking the other usual taken shorter routes through Muvattupuzha, Mulanthuruthy or Kolenchery, we decided to take another route, through South Paravoor and Udayamperoor, leading to Thrippunithura and then Thrikkakkara. There was the need to have food, but we couldn’t find a good restaurant in the rush at Tripunithura, but at Thrikkakkara, just a few metres before the Bharata Matha College, we managed to find a restaurant which I had heard about before, but could never visit until that moment – the place called Mamma Mia.

It was called the "Food Court" and they actually meant it :D

It was called the “Food Court” and it surely has that kind of a setting 🙂

The entrance was inspiring and so was what awaited.

The entrance was inspiring and so was what awaited inside in this case.

The one thing I knew better than the rest of the facts is that the restaurant belongs to Siddique – no, not the director of Bodyguard, but the actor who is also a well-known personality in Kerala. He is a person known for a variety of roles, from handling comedy with great skill, to being a villain as well as doing supporting roles; he has done them all. He has provided so much support to the superstars and the new faces of the Malayalam movie industry on the screen. So, when we took the right turn to this restaurant, we were expecting that kind of a variety with Mamma Mia.

There is variety in stalls, and you can be sure about that!

There is variety in the available stalls, and you can be sure about that!

You have the pictures of some great personalities to look at!

You have the pictures of some great personalities to look at while waiting!

We reached there around 12:55 PM. The crowd was not much, and even if there were more guests, there was plenty of space for them all. The setting was like that of a food court with different stalls around, and it made us wonder if we had to go for self-service. But as soon as we had chosen a table, the waiter was quickly there to take the orders. We were five, and so we ordered three plates of Kerala Meals, one Biriyani Rice and one Vegetable Noodles, along with out usual common curry of Paneer, this time the variant of Chilli Paneer. Yes, I am a proud vegetarian now, and I hope I can keep it that way.

Why is always Kerala Meals the first thing to come?

Why is Kerala Meals always the first thing to come? It makes me jealous.

The Kerala Meals remained the same, and we don’t usually find much differences related to that from different restaurants – we felt that it was overpriced. They were served almost instantly, followed by the Biriyani Rice. The Vegetable Noodles and Chilli Paneer took more time though. Biriyani Rice tasted very good, but I felt that it was a little too less in quantity. May be the rising hunger also played a part in that feeling. The Vegetable Noodles was also good with nice quantity, and I felt that Chilli Paneer was very fresh – and it wasn’t too spicy; I usually have different types of Paneer with too much of a spicy feeling, but this felt better.

Biriyani Rice comes second because it is also rice :D

Biriyani Rice comes second, may be because it is also rice and it is noon 😀

The time taken for serving was lesser than we thought, that too with more people coming in to have food. We finished the food program with Mango Shake and Vanilla Ice cream. The shake was good with both quality and quantity even as there was no ice cream scoop in it. The ice cream tasted the usual way, as vanilla has been the usual choice for very long. Well, there are actually a lot of choices here, and the menu book proves to be a good and interesting read. There are also a few things on it which I haven’t heard about, and I look forward to trying them on another day when I go for a movie at PVR, Cinemax or Q Cinemas through that route.

The last things to come might be the best, in most cases ;)

Still, the last things to come might be the best, in most cases; I can prove 😉

The ambience was actually very good. There were pictures of Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, Sachin Tendulkar and other prominent figures on the wall in black and white. The service was actually the best thing here. The waiter assured us that the rest of the food will be ready in two minutes as there was a slight delay in the case of the Noodles and Paneer. He told us that the centralized billing system was not working and so he got separate bills from different counters. When he saw that I was staring at the bills and taking snaps, he took the payment to the counters, paid them and went back to each counter and also brought me the bills back after asking if I would need it. Well, I needed them to write this post!

Well, these were the ones which finished the good times!

Mango Shake and Vanilla Ice cream were the ones which finished the good times!

The price is fair here for most of the food items. There was also enough parking space and a guard to help us with the same. Even though the traffic was heavy, he made sure that he made a gap there so that we could go through. It usually takes us a lot more time to get through. The washroom and toilets were also clean. The location is very nice, on the Seaport-Airport Road close to the well-known Bharata Mata College where I had also studied for some time. You can also take a bus because the stop is quite near to this restaurant. There are other restaurants around, but this one catches attention better. It feels good to find a new place to have food and it turns out to be something for the favourites list! #AskmeFood

There is even some variety in bills! See and understand :P

There is even a lot of variety in the bills! See and understand 😛

***All photos used in this blog post were taken by me at the venue.

TeNy

ICH: Our True Lifeline

Whenever we have travelled around Kerala in a car or on a two-wheeler, there was always the need for a place to have tea at regular intervals, and there was surely the need to have food. We couldn’t have food from here and there, because nobody can say for sure how good it is, especially by the quality. You might see the best looking restaurants, but there no guarantee about the quality, especially when wandering through those areas were there are no friends to recommend the best places.

The oldest memory that I ever had of a restaurant which still exists, goes back to the Indian Coffee House, even though that branch at Perumbavoor no longer exists, with another branch opening about eight kilometres from there instead. At that time, I used to say that I wanted to visit an Indian Coffee House, and any of those branches would do, because they were all the same, and there was quality. I had already visited every branch in Ernakulam district long before I was a teenager.

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Indian Coffee House is spread all over Kerala, as it has the largest number of branches in the state. It has evolved into being the best choice of the Malayalis all around. It is fully owned by the employees of the restaurant chain as a co-operative society, with a committee elected for management. The biggest encouragement for starting this chain of restaurant goes to the popular communist leader of Kerala, A.K. Gopalan who was a leading social activist in the state. You can see his portrait at every branch of ICH.

With its fifty year anniversary celebrated in 2008, this group of restaurants having its headquarters at Thrissur has its most number of branches there itself, along with the same number at the capital city of Trivandrum. Considering the branches from Thrissur to Trivandrum, they have the same price everywhere. The northern version of Indian Coffee House from Palakkad to Kasargode is kind of different, even with the structure remaining the same. You can notice the difference on the logo itself.

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Even though the Indian Coffee House from Central Kerala to the South which covers eight of the fourteen districts has been more of the thing of concern for me, I have found the quality very good in both cases, as I have tried both. The Thrissur based ICH does have the Poori Masala factor available at all times, which was replaced by Idli, and that too only in the morning for the Northern based ICH. The choices were less in the latter case. For the former though, most of the things shown on the menu are available throughout the day.

Lets get back to the Thrissur based ICH completely which deals with the Travancore-Cochin area, and you can actually check the rates from their website itself. After it opened a branch at Aluva, it had become our regular place to have some tea. I was highly disappointed when the branch at Muvattupuzha was closed, and it is quite an addition to the earlier shock given by the closing of their restaurant at Perumbavoor. Well, now Perumbavoor surely needs one, but not at that earlier location which is too crowded.

I would say that the best branch opened is at the Angamaly Bus Station, which is a very nice choice of location, as the town now got three of them. I have the opinion that each and every bus station, railway station, theatre and mall should have one Indian Coffee House near enough. Also imagine having one near those pilgrim centres. They have the best people serving food in their trademark clothing, and having the fine quality food. With the low costs and tasting nice and exactly the same in each branch, ICH always scores.

***The images used in this blog post were taken during some of my visits to ICH.

With love for the ICH tea
TeNy

Aluvaite Food Memories

After spending about fifteen years as an Aluvaite, there have been a number of hang-out places which have been among our favourites. Here are ten of them at Aluva (Alwaye) which were frequently visited by us. The status remains as of the last year of leaving the place. The choices haven’t changed much, but a number of new locations were added to the list. Here are the Aluvaite food memories 😀

1. Anna Gowri Restaurant: The Vegetarian side of the Mahnami Heritage Hotel has been our favourite choice for Masala Dosa for years, a practice which we started with a cup of tea a few days after its inauguration. It is close to two churches, and therefore it is easier to go for the mass and have food from there. There is also a lot of parking space even as the place is in the centre of the town. The rates are also good, and the location is quite beautiful. (http://www.mahnamihotels.in)

Mahnami and Anna-Gowri Restaurant at Aluva - on a rainy day.

Mahnami and Anna-Gowri Restaurants at Aluva – on a nice rainy day of Masala Dosa.

2. Surya Restaurant: We have always been big fans of this restaurant, and this has been our first choice for non-vegetarian food anyday, and the best place for any kind of treat or random get-together. What we had here was always Chilli Beef though, and the list of people whom I have introduced to that awesome curry are rather uncountable. It is always Ghee Rice/Fried Rice/Porotta/Chappathi with Chilli Beef with Gravy. This might be a little bit expensive for some, but totally worth it due to the taste.

3. Navya Bake Shop: Even as this place came late, it has often made one wonder why this was not at Aluva for such a long time. Aluvaites needed a bakery which made no compromise in taste, and finally it has been delivered (there was already an existence outside the town though). There are some incredibly awesome cakes available here, and this also my first choice for Puffs and Cutlet anywhere near Aluva; as Ceecee is to Angamaly. (http://www.navyabakers.com)

A shot of one side of the town from the top - the building-greenery combination ;)

A shot of the less crowded side of town from the top – the building-greenery combination 😉

4. Indian Coffee House: This is a place which needs no introduction. It is the biggest and the most trust-worthy restaurant chain in Kerala, and even as the branch at Aluva has got no car parking, we can always adjust. It is near the railway station as well as the KSRTC bus station which means easy access. Go through Aluva’s Sub Jail Road for this one. The best thing is that Poori Masala an tea are available throughout the day, and the cutlets here are speciality, especially the vegetarian one. (http://indiancoffeehouse.com)

5. Shenoy’s Restaurant: This is my most visited place for food, and I have known this place since school days. Located between the Pulinchode Junction and the Aluva Market, this restaurant has been part of my life, and the one place from where I had more food than most of the other places. It had a major role in improving my interest in Ghee Roast as well as Paneer Butter Masala. The best title should be “my first favourite vegetarian restaurant ever”.

6. Cho-Chote: This is the place where I had my first milk shake, and as far as I can remember, it was Strawberry flavour. It has remained a popular shake destination for years, and especially when we were thinking about some ideas for some random skit, we would have a shake, especially when the quota of tea gets over. There was so much of choice available here, and this one which was opposite the Saint Xavier’s College remained the first option for the same.

Every thought about Aluva takes you back the River Periyar for no reason :D

Every thought about Aluva town takes you back to the River Periyar for no reason 😀

7 + 8. Annalakshmi Restaurant and Kammath’s Inn: These remain parts of my food extravaganza related to the Union Christian College. Even as the former started later, the extension of the time at the college was there to be taken. Both these vegetarian restaurants had me interested in the Onion Oothappam and the Ghee Roast respectively. The Vegetable Biriyani was strong at both places too.

9 + 10. Annapoorna Restaurant and Grand Restaurant: These are two of the earliest restaurants I have known at Aluva. Here, the first one is vegetarian and the second non-vegetarian. The former has me always choosing Poori Masala an the latter has me going for the Beef Biriyani or Chicken Biriyani both being very good there. These two used to be the typical vegetarian and non-vegetarian restaurants choice for a long time.

A few special mentions are also needed for the special tea and marble cake at Home Bakers, the nice milk shake at Aluva Bake House, fine idiyappam at Al-Falah Restaurant, that Ghee Roast at Swami’s Restaurant, fruit shake time at MKS and the first few days at the KR Bakers. There are also a number of my favourite restaurants and bakeries which did close down, including Taal Restaurant, Thompson Bakery and Surabhi Restaurant. I am writing this blog post when I am very hungry, thank You 😀 All photos used here are mine as usual 😉

TeNy