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Fusion food

The Fusion Restaurant at Hawa beach in Kovalam claims to be the only one of its kind in Kerala. Run by Sreekumar and Melanie, the restaurant serves authentic traditional cuisine of the East and the West, as well as a blend of both.


Few would imagine that the unassuming Fusion restaurant, amidst the eateries and curio shops that line the walkway in Hawa beach, Kovalam, is a microcosm of a fashionable, international trend in cuisine - fusion food. A food service that combines characteristic ingredients and cooking techniques of two or more ethnic cuisines, just beginning to gain a foothold in the metros, is now in our own backyard.

Started in October 2002 and the "only one of it's kind in Kerala", the restaurant is the brainchild of Sreekumar and Melanie. A journalist from Germany, Melanie used to travel frequently. She developed a penchant for collecting recipes from the countries she visited.

Taking the cue from books on fusion cuisine, she started combining different recipes. As she explains, "The key to fusion cooking lies in finding compatible ingredients and a preparation method that effectively fuses the components."


After her marriage to Sreekumar, hotelier, she helped him develop two eateries in Kovalam.

As you walk in, the muted tones of the walls, the cane furniture and the fusion music from Buddhabar, the famous fusion café in Paris, transport you to another world. Choosing from the cloth-bound, three-fold menu card, is a daunting task - it has a wide range of dishes on offer.


While pasta with curried vegetables, or pasta tofu (Rs. 60- Rs. 80 per plate) beckon the vegetarian, there is fish creole in orange vinaigrette and salsa verde with cumin, prawns with potatoes in thick curry cream and chicken in peanut sauce (priced between Rs. 120 and Rs. 160 per plate) to tempt even the most jaded non-vegetarian palette. A particular favourite among the desserts is Tropical fruit flambé - fresh fruit on fire, crisscrossed by rivulets of melting vanilla ice-cream.

Among the fresh juices on the menu is Cucumber lemonade, iced mixture of beaten cucumber and lemon juice, inspired by "a bar in Malaysia where they serve fruit combinations with ice". The coffee speciality is press coffee (made from a coffeepot brought from Denmark), and a favourite among Europeans.


Fusion also has a range of traditional Indian and Western cuisine for the less adventurous types, so that you have masala dosa, chicken pizza and noodles existing side by side with the exotic fusion menu.

Compromise is a word unknown to the couple. In order to maintain the authenticity of the flavours, certain ingredients, not locally available, such as unprocessed cheese and wine vinegar are brought from Bangalore and Ooty.

Located in a prime tourist spot, Fusion's clientele consists mainly of international and domestic tourists. "But this does not mean we are open only during the tourist season. After the return of the chartered tourists at the end of March, we have the backpackers and the long-term tourists. So we are open round the year," says Melanie. "Moreover, we have many regulars from the city -- Technopark employees, doctors and other professionals," Sreekumar chimes in.

Any plans to open a restaurant in the city?

"We are still toying with the idea," they reply.

N.H.

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