For the Restaurants

I have had a long history with the restaurants of my favourite towns, and I had already written about those five towns already. The restaurants at Aluva, Perumbavoor, Muvattupuzha, Kothamangalam and Angamaly have been part of my life for quite a long time because they are part of the routes which I have traveled a lot. Yes, a good number of restaurants around the city of Cochin also got a big part to play in the same. Throughout my life, I have loved many restaurants and decided not to visit a few ever.

I have rarely hated any of the restaurants because I have always found one interesting item in one form or the other. Most of my favourite restaurants were vegetarian, with only a few exceptions in each town. I have already written about how much of an integral part of my life, Indian Coffee House has been. But talking about the restaurants, or at least most of them, there are a few things which I would like to see at all of them. I am sharing them here.

Try providing only the needed amount of curry: When there is only one person having food, I am surprised that there is so much of the curry being provided whether it is vegetarian or non-vegetarian. When I go outside with friends, if we are only two, we share one curry with the rice, Chappathi, Porotta, Appam or whatever we are having. This is the reason why I have some Dosa, Idli or Biriyani items which don’t require separate curry when I am alone. I am sure that I won’t be able to finish one full curry, but the restaurants can have the option of providing half-curry or sometimes even quarter-curry?

There Dal Fry which you see is usually enough for me and my friend :)

The Dal Fry which you see here with the roti is usually enough for me and my friend 🙂

Try not to make random assumptions: I have seen that many non-vegetarian restaurants bring Chicken Noodles, Chicken Fried Rice or Chicken Biriyani whenever we ask for Noodles, Fried Rice or Biriyani. This has happened to me on a number of occasions. There was a time when I had to chase the waiter to tell him that I actually meant Vegetable Biriyani only. This is really not fair. You can’t make me eat non-vegetarian just because the restaurant is non-vegetarian. I might have chosen this restaurant because of its location or due to the fact that someone who is with me wants to have non-vegetarian, and it needn’t be even chicken – it can be fish, mutton or anything else.

Make tea available at all times: Having anything cold might not be the right thing to do at all times, and so I would like to say, let there be tea! Yes, it has to be there all the time, from the moment the restaurant opens to the time when it closes. It has been a nice feature of restaurant chains like Indian Coffee House, but a lot of restaurants have failed to keep that property even as some combinations of bakeries and restaurants do manage the same. As the common man’s drink, tea should be available at all times, and at the cheapest possible price; it is rather a necessity.

Dosa means enough free sambhar, and tea at any time makes it better.

Dosa means enough free sambar, and tea at any time makes the situation a lot better.

Don’t hesitate to bring us the menu: Yes, please do bring that because even if you talk about what all are available in slower pace than that usual high-speed talk, we might not be able to follow that exactly as it is supposed to be. We might end up hearing something else, or may be you will just forget one name, and we won’t get that thing which we really want to have. It is really a loss on both sides, and lets keep things clear with the menu. Knowing the prices of all those things will also help. May be there can be a huge menu board on the wall like we usually see at the branches of Indian Coffee House – they are very useful.

Do have the restrooms for customers: Yes, this is very significant because when we are on the long drives, the presence of the same will only help to make sure that the customers make the visit. I have rarely been interested in visiting a restaurant without them, and hasn’t added them to my list of favourite restaurants. It is better to have them outside the restaurant too, or at least on the other side, quite far away from the kitchen. Some restaurants are really careful about the same, like the Carnival Food Court near Angamaly which maintains the cleanliness really well.

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me only.

TeNy

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

Possible Food Programs

It has been only a few months since I returned to the town of Perumbavoor, and I would still want to share my favourite places of food here. These places are the most frequently visited bakeries and restaurants during my short stay here. There haven’t been that much food programs as in Aluva, but there are always those movies and with the days at the theatres come the food from outside. Still, missing Anna-Gowri and Surya Restaurants or the Navya Bakers (http://www.navyabakers.com) of Aluva comes with it.

1. Honeywell Restaurant: The bakers attached with this place is fine and I have had something from there now and then, but my attention has been more on restaurant. What interests the most is the Beef Biriyani there, and the Ghee Rice itself is nicely prepared. I would choose the one here as the best Beef Biriyani I ever had, and it is a big challenge to my hopes to stay vegetarian most of the time. It is on the way to Kalady/Angamaly from Perumbavoor, and just after the Saint George Catholic Church and the Annapoorna Vegetarian Restaurant on the left side.

Navya Bakers brings the need to travel to Aluva and watch movie there.

Navya Bakers brings the need to travel to Aluva and watch movie there.

2. Maria Bakers: This was a discovery we made while travelling to Kothamangalam, and on the way, just about two kilometres from the town of Perumbavoor, this place is on the right, exact opposite of a petrol pump and between workshops and tyre works – a good choice to have tea and snacks from here if your vehicle needs repair. The cutlet and puffs are among the best, and the green laddoo here is very nice. Also check out for the special thengalapaal murukku and kuzhalappam here which comes from Thodupuzha – and another mention for the tea.

3. Orma Food Court and Woodlands Restaurant: Just on the side of the KSRTC Bus Station, Orma is the best choice around that area, and therefore I have chosen the place for food whenever I arrived at the bus station there – as far as I can remember, not many restaurants flourished at that place, but Orma does because of its bakery-restaurant combination and the nice Beef Fry. Meanwhile, if the choice is vegetarian, I would just walk to the Main Central Road, and choose Woodlands Restaurant which has nice Poori Masala and a fine Masala Dosa. It is a smaller and nice option.

4: Kumar Bakers: This one has always been there, and has been my first choice to buy cutlet whenever I passed through Perumbavoor. I have been to three branches of them at Perumbavoor, and the two on the Main Central Road are close to each other, one on the right side just after the Kalady Junction and the other on the left side of the Oushdi Junction, while travelling to Angamaly/Kalady. I have my tea and cutlet on the former, but parking a car might be a problem.

Ceecee Bakery has had a long "cutlet" relationship with my childhood.

Ceecee Bakery has had a long “cutlet” relationship with my childhood.

5. Ceecee Bakery: Ceecee Bakery is a big name in the bakeries of central Kerala, and I can remember those large number of cutlets and puffs that I had from there when I was a kid. After a short break, it has come back to Perumbavoor, and this time, it looks even better; situated on the way to Kalady/Angamaly from Perumbavoor, one the right, just after the Oushadi junction. I have visited nine branches of the bakery if I remember it correctly. Ceecee has a long history, and even when we were at Aluva, their branch near Cochin Airport was common choice for us. Here are more details: http://www.ceeceebakery.com/

Along with these options Saravana Bhavan is always there and Zaina Food Court is also a fair option. Shree Aryaas is also not much different from the former, but is without almost any parking space at all, which is applicable to the latter too. Annappoorna is another option. I would give a special mention to a closed Aarya Bhavan and the Indian Coffee House that hasn’t been here since its shifting long ago. The closest ICH is at Kalady, and it is also the quickest from here considering the fact that the same restaurant a few kilometres before Muvattupuzha has disappeared. ***All the images used in this blog post are from the websites of Navya Bakers and Ceecee Bakery.

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