Food : Trivandrum Rating : 3/5 Stars

SP Grand Days – First Visit

First of all, to be frank, I was avoiding SP Grand Days in Trivandrum for quite a while, simply because my parents have been there for some wedding receptions and also for official events and have always been giving me negative reviews regarding the food… I have been there just once to attend an interview, but never tried the food… However, while out on work, my friend/collegue took me over at there for lunch…

It was a bit crowded over there because of a wedding ceremony going on and we went in to their restaurant on the 2nd floor… My friend was hoping to goto their rooftop restaurant, but unfortunately it was not open at that time… I liked the ambience of the restaurant; looked good; like one of the 5-star places I have been to… There was a buffet table setup, but since we were not having that much of an apetitie at that time, we decided and went for the Ala Carte menu… Now, this menu is a mostly a classic multi-cuisine menu we can find in most of the nice places in the city, where vegetarian dishes form a minority…

So, I ordered a Chicken Clear Soup, a Mixed Fried Rice and a portion of Kung Pao Chicken to go with it and he being the vegetarian, ordered a Veg Spring Roll, a couple of Garlic Naans and a portion of Paneer Butter Masala to go with the Naan…As soon as we ordered we were served some fryums as complementary, I guess to keep us waiting for our meal… 🙂

So, first came the starters – the Chicken Clear soup and the Veg Spring Roll…

The soup came in a bowl slightly bigger than a ramekin and was essentially an incredibly flavourful chicken broth thats a bit spicy with the black pepper in it… Also had a few pieces of shredded chicken and vegetables (the usual: carrots, beans, cabbages, coriander leaves, celery) but its just the broth for the most part… As I have mentioned before, the clear soup is my goto soup all the time and so, by far this one has a broth that is one of the best I have had… The veg spring roll looked good… Crispy fried roll served with a sweet schezwan chilly sauce… I had the opportunity to taste a piece and its basically hakka… The vegetables appear to have been just sauted with some soy sauce and filled inside the pastry and fried… However, the sweet chilly sauce makes up for the lack of flavours but essentially giving the sweet and hot component thereby making the perfect trio of sweet, sour and salty which is what can be seen in most chinese and other south east asian dishes… I have seen this sauce available in the supermarket and my mom even bought once by mistake thinking that its just chilly sauce 🙂

By the time we were done with the starters, the main course arrived, which were the Garlic Naan, Paneer Butter Masala, Mixed Fried Rice and Kung Pao Chicken…

Regarding the vegetarian items, the Garlic Naan looked to be soft and crispy in the edges… However, my friend told me that it could use some more garlic in it as he felt the flavour of garlic is not enough considering that its called Garlic Naan… Each portion came with two sizable pieces of the Naan… The Paneer Butter Masala as can be seen in the pic, looked quite rich with a thick tomato and cream based gravy and it came with a lot I mean, a lot of paneer… Even though you can’t see the pieces in the pic, it appeared to include more than 70% of the dish by its volume… I saw my friend being unable to eat all of it 🙂 However, one complaint he had which I too confirmed by tasting is that it has a tomato flavour thats too intense for it… From what I could make out, it seems like they used tomato ketchup instead of making fresh tomato puree to use in the gravy as I could sense the taste of the preservatives and the vinegar that I usually see in the bottled ketchups we get from the supermarkets 🙂

Regarding the non-vegetarian items, the Mixed Fried rice was again basically a hakka fried rice having vegetables, chicken and prawns thats mildly seasoned with soy… The pieces of chicken and prawns were of quite a generous amount and were cooked perfectly along with the rice and vegetables… They have added some extra white pepper powder when cooking this as well making it give a slight kick to the throat as you eat it… The quantity of the fried rice was just right for me and I loved it with the Kung Pao Chicken that I got with it… As I have mentioned in one of my previous posts, the Kung Pao Chicken is my favourite dish from the chinese cuisine and so, since I saw it in the menu here, I just had to try their version… Unlike the ones I have seen, the version here in a dry one, which is a first for me… It came in a plate as shown in the pic, with a good chicken to vegetables to peanuts ratio… The chicken was fried coated with corn flour and appears to have been sauted with the sauces they usually use for Kung Pao with some vegetables namely carrots, capsicums, onions, celery and peanuts and then finally garnished with some chopped spring onion… This one tasted slightly sweeter than the versions I have had before and I guess since its dry, the flavours too were a bit more intense…

To summarise, altogether a great meal thanks to my friend and I do regret staying away from the place for so long… I guess it might be the singular versus mass production difference in quality and taste, which does happen in most places… So, hopefully I’ll get to be back there soon and will get to see what more they have on offer… 🙂

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