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Crabs, cloves, and coconuts

Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P.

Thattu Kada conjures up the authentic taste of Kerala.

TUCKED AWAY in a corner on Hennur Cross Road, open from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays, and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sundays, Thattu Kada owes its name to the thattu — a cart shop that serves food on the wayside after sundown. Operational for a little over three months now, this restaurant conjures up the authentic taste of Kerala.

Originally meant to be an in-house catering unit for the Crown Plaza Apartment, Joseph Chacko and Oommen Jacob decided to share the result of their culinary expertise with the people of Bangalore.

Simple décor takes you back to God's Own Country". A thattu is on display at the entrance as a waiter clad in the traditional Kerala mundu greets and leads you to your table over the coir carpet floor. The listed special of the day is presented in a muram (Malayalam for a winnow). As you make your choice, your glass is filled with a warm, reddish decoction — water boiled with jeera and other aromatic spices.

The menu changes everyday, depending on what is fresh and available in the market; the printed date proves it.

On a weekday, one can savour delicious vegetable stew (Rs. 30) or kadala curry (Rs. 28) if you prefer the vegetarian. Kerala is synonymous with seafood, so the non-vegetarian can feast on karimeen porichathu (fish curry, Rs. 40), nei meen varuthathu (Rs. 90), njandu curry (crab, Rs. 60), and kalummakkai (mussels, Rs. 90). Chicken in gravy with subtle hints of flavoursome condiments, nadan kozhi curry (Rs. 55), and tharavu (duck) roast (Rs. 80) are hard for a gourmet to resist. Karal varuthatu (Rs. 40) and erachi ularthiyathu (Rs. 45) are popular outside the seafood spectrum. These dishes can be relished with Kerala parotta (Rs. 8), vellayappam (Rs. 5), or puttu (Rs. 15).


Sunday afternoon is when only meals are served at Rs. 75 for non-vegetarian and Rs. 50 for vegetarian. The choice of red or white rice is yours (the red has a taste of its own), while the rest — meen molagu curry, kozhi roast, seasoned curds, and other lip-smacking preparations complete with pickles, appalam, and payasam laid on a platter, are a treat. When the food is over with, there's nothing that can equal kachiya moru or chukku kapi to top it all.

Not a masala comes off the shelf. Everything is prepared by hand, ground the same way they do in a traditional Kerala home.

"The response to our restaurant has been very good", says S. Kishore, Asst. Manager operations, "Mondays and Tuesdays are less crowded, but the weekends are absolutely full."

Home delivery within two to three km. radius can be availed of free of charge. The average meal for two costs between Rs. 150 and Rs. 200, and Thattu Kada has seating for 22 at a time. So call on 5446476 or 5443148 and reserve a table to ensure your date with Kerala.

DOMINIC D'CRUZ

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