Food : Trivandrum Rating : 4/5 Stars

Imperial Kitchen – First Visits

I have been hearing good reviews about this place called Imperial Kitchen in Trivandrum… Managed to finally visit there thanks to some of my friends/collegues with whom I went there on a work day for lunch… This is the restaurant whose decor, I think is the closest to the Mandarin Trail restaurant that I keep referring to…

Unfortunately in the middle of all the chaos, I was not able to take any pics and so, all the pics included here are from my second visit to the place which I did with my parents 🙂

Imperial Kitchen calls itself an international restaurant and its perfectly reflected in their menu which has quite a bit of selections from across the globe, from our local Kerala style meals and hyderabadi biriyani to classic fish n chips to arabic grills, lebanese to pastas and pizzas to steaks to chinese, thai and even indonesian options… It is indeed a huge menu which takes quite a while to go thru and choose 🙂

Like I said before, in the first visit, I couldn’t take pics of the food… Plus, I didn’t explore the menu much and so went with my friends suggested which was to try their Indonesian Prawns Soup and their Fish Curry Meals… Also I got to try their Arabic Grilled Pomfret… All of them were really good and amazing, which is what prompted the second visit in just under a week when I ended up going out with my parents… But having enjoyed the food I had the first time so much, I had to try some of them again… So, here goes:

Those who know me personally are well aware that I love soups and would always order one whenever I goto a restaurant that has it in their menu… Also, I prefer clear, thin and lite soups to any of the thick and creamy ones… This is why I tried the Indonesian Prawns soup as that was the only clear option in the non-veg soups list… Since I loved it the first time, I went for it again…

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The soup is a crystal clear soup with a bunch of vegetables like cabbage, lemongrass(which is what dominates the taste), garlic, green onion, babycorn, mushrooms and then about half a handful of small prawns and topped with some chinese coriander and mint, all seasoned with some salt and pepper and served boiling hot…

My parents didn’t have any soups and ended up waiting for me to finish mine before they were served anything… 🙂

For mains, I was in the mood for some noodles and chose something I have never had before but only seen it in Anthony Bourdain’s and Gordon Ramsay’s TV show: Pad Thai…

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They serve two variants of Pad Thai namely Chicken and Sea Food and I chose the Sea Food version… Pad Thai is the most famous noodle dish from Thailand, which is also known as the ambassador of Thai cuisine… Its made up of flat rice noodles stirfried with tamarind pulp, fish sauce, mushrooms, shrimps, squid, fish, babycorn, spring onion, coriander, garlic and peanuts and served with a slice of fresh lime… Personally I found that the lime is a necessary ingredient here and that it tastes better when the lime juice is squeesed on top of the noodles and mixed before eating this… Also, for me personally, this doesn’t require any condiments…

In addition to Pad Thai, since I loved the arabic grilled fish so much last time, I had to try it again… However, this time, instead of the fish, I went for Tiger Prawns…

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The way they serve the grilled sea food is that when you order, they take you to their counter and show you the various fresh sea food that they have for the day and you get to choose which one(s) they will cook for you and how, among the list of spice rub options… I went for the arabic option as I said before, which I was told is a Chermoula spiced rub and the above pic shows the result… I chose to have 4 tiger prawns (2 each for me and my dad) and the prawns were really big with each one bigger than my thumb and longer than any of my fingers… The grilled tiger prawns were served with some freshly sliced onions and some pickled beetroot on the plate as can be seen…

The prawns were incredibly tender and juicy… My only problem though is that they didn’t remove the shell completely, which made eating it slightly inconvinient especially since I use a forp and spoon to eat 🙂 Otherwise, its definitely the best grilled prawns I have ever had and so, I am looking forward to try it with any of the other spice rub options…

Now, regarding what my parents had in that visit: My mom, being the pure vegetarian that she is, went for their veg meals (thali), which came with boiled rice, daal, sambhar, rasam, spiced butter milk, mango pachadi, stir fried beetroot and beans, the famous Aviyal, a dry coconut chutney and a pappadam… Unfortunately, the pic I had taken of the thali ended up being blurred and hence can’t show you what it looks like… However for reference, you can check my post of the thali meals thats served in Hotel Ginger… Basically looks the same visually that is… 🙂

My dad went for their classic chicken fried rice and along with it he took their Chicken Makhanwale curry… My parents are usually not into the exotic and fancy food like I am and hence he usually sticks with the classic stuff we find in practically every restaurant here 🙂

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There is absolutely nothing special about this fried rice… Its the your regular chicken friend rice consisting of hakka stir-fried rice having some scrambled egg, and some vegetables like carrots and beats… He told me that he wished the chicken pieces in it were cooked a little bit more and the whole thing could use some more flavour and quite a lot more seasoning, according to his taste… He usually likes things to be a lot more salty and spicy than my tolerance level… Thats why 🙂

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The Chicken Makhanwale is basically your classic Murgh Makhni, which is typically chicken marinated in a mixture of cream, yogurt (preferrably hung curd) and a spice mixture consisting of garam masala, garlic, lime, pepper, coriander, turmeric and chilly which is then cooked in a tandoor over and then served in a midly spiced tomato based curry sauce that uses butter and spice mixture… Some places use cashew nut paste as a thickener for this… The dish is typically garnished with some butter and/or cream and/or boiled egg and topped with come coriander and dried denugreek leaves…

This dish was also slightly disappointing as we have had better tasting versions of this from other places… Then, for dessert, we each had a fried ice cream…

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Unfortunately this doesn’t look even remotely as how they advertise… Its basically a scoop of vanilla ice cream coated in a thick batter having a lot of corn flakes and flash fried till golden brown and topped with some chocolate sauce… The outer coating tasted slightly salty which I guess gives a contrast when eaten with the ice cream inside and the chocolate sauce… Personally I didn’t like it but my parents said that they loved it…

Anyways, the restaurant has kept their word of being an international restaurant and I can tell you that all the non-indian dishes I had were simply awesome and I’m really looking forward to my next visit to try more of the exotic dishes in their menu…

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