Food : Trivandrum Rating : 3/5 Stars

Cocoa Bean : Pollo Oliva and Shrimp Risotto

After quite a while I visited the Cafe Cocoa Bean in Kazhakuttom… As followers of my posts would know, it is one of my favourite places to dine in for italian food here in Trivandrum… The staff greeted me just as usual and had me sit at the corner table… Once again I asked for specials and the waiter informed me of an item which is also in the menu called Pollo Oliva and when asked what it was, he responded by saying its basically chicken pieces stuffed with olive and served with a salad… So, ordered for that as the starter as I was informed it to be and then as I was looking for something to order in the mains, I noticed that in their pasta menu, they have risotto… Never understood why it was mentioned more like a fine print among the pasta options in the menu… But, among the options, I went for the Shrimp Risotto…

It took longer than usual, I guess cause the restaurant was almost full at that time… So, at first the Pollo Oliva came… Rather than stuffed, what came was essentially six rolls of chicken strips with a piece of olive inside held together with a toothpick each, served in the plate with a salad of lettuce (tasted almost like caesar) with a creamy version of coleslaw topped with sour cream… The rolls of chicken appeared to have been grilled…

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As mentioned above, the salad tasted like Caesar Salad… The cole slaw, I wish had much less mayonnaise… But as for the chicken rolls, they were cooked perfectly and the taste of the sour cream adds another dimension to it altogether… Each roll was bite sized and seasoned well with oregano… The combination of the flavours of the chicken with the olive, sourcream, the coleslaw and the salad seemed to work incredibly well together… Hence, altogether a great starter that I hope to get again in my next visit…

By the time I was done with the Pollo Oliva, the Shrimp Risotto had arrived on my table… To be frank, I was really surprised at how the risotto looked because it kind of reminded me of an experimental rice payasam by my mom some time back, when she tried using a different kind of rice and the whole thing ended up being thick when it cooled down… I guess, coincidentally, this risotto looked exactly like that 🙂 Anyways, for those who are unaware, Risottos are rice dishes from Northern Italy where they cook rice in a broth until it becomes of a creamy consistency… This broth can be of anything from vegetables, to fish and meats… Sometimes they even add cream to it at the end…

So, the Shrimp Risotto that I got came topped with some grated cheddar cheese and a couple of pieces of their chilly garlic bread…

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As expected, the risotto indeed was with a creamy consistency… They seem to have added some cream to it as well, hence felt the taste of actual cream in it… On the inside, there appeared about a handful of shrimp pieces… Each of those shrimps were cooked perfectly and seasoned well… The cheddar cheese topping felt like a good accompaniment to the risotto… The bread, well when eaten with the risotto gave its own flavours to it… However, the part I didn’t quite like about this risotto was the rice used… Risottos to me atleast only works when the proper rice is used which is the Arborio rice (which to be fair is quite difficult to get here in India)… But, unfortunately here the rice that they used is the same that we use for making the malabari biriyanis which in this case, I think from the smell and flavour that they have used the Jeerakashala rice… This rice is quite fragrant which is why its preferred for Biriyanis and to me, that fragrance doesn’t work and felt a bit awkward in the risotto… That was the only setback for me (pls do feel free to try it out though)… Other than that, the flavours of the shrimp was there throughout and eating it with the cheddar cheese kind of masked the flavour of the rice and made the dish quite enjoyable for me.. So, will try asking if they can use a different rice next time or atleast put in more of that cheddar… 😉

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