A slice of Kerala
There is an abundance of love about this place, so what follows may read like an avalanche of praise, but Kokum, a restaurant focusing on Southern Keralite cuisine from the Oriental Cuisines stable is a must-try. The unpretentious decor and staff welcome you to a typical Kerala setting complete with Chechis who make dosas right in front of you. Although Kerala food is inextricably linked to coconut and spices, the charming Chef Babu Abdullah shares, “Our USP is simplicity and we only serve food that is light on the palate and truly authentic. And authentic doesn’t mean grating coconuts to add to the stereotypical image.”
Koon Kurumulakittathu is a melt-in-your mouth delight with juicy baby mushrooms spiced with pepper corns and sauted in mild coconut oil. The Karvepak Royyala Vepudu is perfect tangy start with delicate prawns simmered in tomatoes and an assortment of spices. If the entree hasn’t yet satiated your craving, you must try the Chicken Ghee Roast, a delectable Mangalorean delicacy cooked in Bedige chilly paste and cow’s ghee. And if you’re just in one of those moods, where calories don't matter, the Kane Besule, a crispy fried lady fish served with a lemon wedge is just what grandma would recommend. With the goodness of Managalore spices, tender fish and spices that hit the perfect spot, it is a perfect way to end the entree.
The main course offers an array of mildly spiced semi-gravied items to tender broiler chicken soaked in a myriad spices and onions. The Kori Roti, a wafer thin bread drenched with gravy wears its spicy credentials on its sleeve (read a korma styled gravy) but is unpretentious and is a basic gravy with not much excitement. Neer Dosa, a milky white moist dosa mops up the Prawn Balchao, which is a pickled prawn dish cooked in malt vinegar. Chef Babu Abdullah who has worked across the globe is also known for his unique taste buds which were cultivated while he was working in the kitchens of the ruler of Sharjah.
Just as we begin to leave, Abdullah brings us an inviting bowl of dessert, which we couldn’t say no to. Bibinca, a layered pancake with hints of cinnamon and even better baked to perfection is just the perfect way to end the night. It was truly a Kerala experience, relaxed, ambient and mildly spicy food.