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Flavours of the SEA

The Sea Food Festival, at The Muthoot Plaza hotel, is a gourmands delight.


THE WELCOME drink at The Muthoot Plaza hotel cools you down on the warm summer night for the fiery starters ahead.

As we wait for the menu card the waiter informs us that there is none and asks us to come to the cold counter to choose from among the spread of raw fishes.

On offer at the cold counter, which is shaped like a boat, are pomfret, squid, mussels, prawns, karimeen (pearl spot fish), seer fish and even mackerel. And one can choose the preparation, be it Chinese, Indian or continental.

As we settle for grilled karimeen and mussels, and prawn in sweet sauce, we are led to the soup counter and what is available is hot and sour tomato soup. Every day, the chefs serve a different soup during the Sea Food Festival. There are also four different salads to choose from. But we decide against trying it out although it looked appetising.

As we wait for the starters to arrive, we take in the ambience, which says sea at every turn. A small lighthouse put up at the rooftop restaurant (actually it is the hotel's third banquet hall) serves as the bar counter. Even the grilling counter has a façade of a boat. There are other motifs such as an octopus stuck on the wall and lifeboats representing sea spread around. The dim light projected on to the wall moves as if we were at sea in a ship.


The grilled karimeen is different from the ones that you are served in other restaurants. One can make out the taste of the raw fish beneath the slightly hot masala. The mussels too are served after they are grilled, and are unlike the deep-fried variety that is usually available. This dish had us asking for more.But it was prawn sautéd in sweet sauce that took the cake. Neither too bland nor too hot, it is a dish that one is bound to enjoy.

For the main course, the waiter, Xim Xavier, recommends that we try tapioca and seer fish curry. He warns us that it would be hot. But the dry kappa and the fiery red fish curry that reaches our table is not very spicy; it is just right. Xim also serves vegetable noodles to go with the mussels and squid stir-fried with vegetables the Chinese style. It is a great combination.

They also have varieties of noodles and fried rice. But we are unable to eat more and decide to check out the desserts on offer. There is fruit salad, honey and sweet nut pie, bread pudding, orange cheesecake and dry fruit halwa. We take small helpings of each item but the fruit salad. The first mouthful of the dry fruit halwa melts in the mouth. The recipe for the halwa is worth finding out. The sweet nut pie is also one of the best we have had lately. Though the bread pudding is a disappointment, the orange cheesecake makes up for it.

The Sea Food Festival, which started on April 15 is on till May 2. The sous chef, Binoy Koshy, informs us that this is a continuation of the food festival at the Nishagandhi Festival in the city earlier this month.

Although they do not have many customers during the weekdays for dinner, customers pour in during lunch and weekends. The buffet is Rs. 300 per head (plus taxes). Not a bad deal if you have deep pockets. The seafood festival is worth the variety and experience.

BIMAL SIVAJI

Photos: S. Gopakumar

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