I am a little dated when it comes to the latest slangs my nephews use back in Kerala. One that regularly comes up especially in comments on Facebook pictures is ‘kiddu’, I now understand it is short for ‘kiddilan’. The closest synonym in English will be ‘awesome’, though it barely covers the power of the word. I have been waiting for an opportune moment to use it and today I did.
So let me say it like it should, ‘Lunch at The Fort Kochi Connection was ‘kiddu’. A dash of subtle mallu humor, the aroma of spices and delicious Syrian Christian food…may be I should say ‘Suriyani Christiyani’ to make it even more authentic.The humor starts with the Mocktail List – the names are typical of mallu humor – Kalipu Machane, Pacha Parishkari, Kumari UDC, Alambu Scene, Oru Jathi Gedi, are some of the names of the mocktails. The mallus will understand the humor, trying to translate it will kill the fun. Even the main menu has some funny names – Grandma’s Country Captain Chicken Curry, Railway Lamb Curry, Achayan Pothularth.
The menu starts with a peep into the history of Kochi and the influence of the Chinese, the English and the Dutch visits over the centuries and the menu is divided under these cuisines. But then why would I go to an authentic mallu restaurant and have Kung Pao Chicken or Shepherd’s Pie or Bitterballen? And so we ordered the Syrian Christian Erachi Cutlet and I bit into childhood memories of my mother making cutlets when I got home from school. The Suriyani Christiyani cutlet is generously spiced, we make minimum use of potato and the meat is well minced. We serve it with fresh onion rings mixed with green chillies and crushed curry leaves, not for us the newfangled ketchup and the sauces.
The next was kappa biriyani (tapioca biriyani) again the ingredients were fresh and perfectly cooked. The kappa had a slight nutty taste and the beef was soft and well cooked, the dish was nicely spiced. We also ordered the Malabari Biriyani which was equally good. I looked around and people on other tables seemed to be smiling and nodding so I am guessing the other dishes found favor as well. I had Nalini giving me good company as I dug into the food, next time I will ask for Tholasie. And before you draw conclusions, Nalini was one of the mocktails.
My advice to non mallus, there are dishes beyond aappam, stew and fish moilee in our repertoire, you know. Go on experiment and your palate will be richer for the experience.
The only drawback with place is parking and with footfalls only going to rise, this is going to be a serious concern in the not so distant future.
You went to a mallu restaurant and didn’t have sea food, you ask? Well, now I have reason to drop in again with foodie friends. I will sum up my experience at The Fort with an older mallu adjective that we used back in the day – Ugran.