Food : Trivandrum Rating : 3/5 Stars

String Hopper – First Visit

Today, I was pleasantly surprised when I got contacted thru Facebook by a person who introduced himself as the owner of the new String Hopper restaurant which as he informed me is now open on a trial launch mode and the idea was basically to invite me over to check the place out and try some of the food and give them a feedback… I was anyway about to go out for an errand and so I accepted the invitation and dropped by at the place for my lunch…

The place is located in the Akkulam-Ulloor bypass road but very close to the the point where we enter the the road from the NH bypass at the Akkulam side… Regarding the restaurant, as we see usually with any new place, this too looked incredibly clean and spotless; definitely a modern look to it and ofcourse with a nice view of the outside as well… As per what the owner informed me, they are planning to open a Coffee Shop downstairs in the basement as well very soon… For now, its a trial lauch of the restaurant to feel the local vibe and to move forward according to it…

As soon as I placed my order for the day, I was given this Welcome Drink, which as the waiter informed me was an Apple-Milk drink, which was served as shown in the pics below… On trying, it felt to me like an Apple Milk Sharbat, with a strong flavour of apple and rose water along with the milk, which ended up being quite refreshing to have and also I think it works as a really good appetizer…

Now, coming to menu, as the name suggests, this is a place that specialises in dishes made using String Hoppers, called Idiyappam in malayalam here… Essentially they are steamed rice noodles made by pressing rice flour paste in the form of thin noodles and then steamed to have it cooked… This is a traditional dish in the south indian cuisine which very popular especially in Kerala and said to have its origins in Sri Lanka… For those who are unaware, The following pic is an example showing how the Idiyappam looks like…

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Of-course this pic is from my home from a few weeks ago where I was having a couple of Idiyappams with some left over Chicken and Green Peas curries, which is a really good combination btw… πŸ™‚

Anyways, coming back to the String Hopper restaurant, what I was saying is that this is a restaurant that specializes in cooking dishes made with Idiyappams… Currently the menu is a very limited one because of them being in the trial phase… So, when I checked out the menu, the item that immediately caught my eye is what they call as the Idiyappam Chicken Biriyani… So, I immediately asked for that… The waiter asked me if I am interested to try one of the starters and based on his recommendation, I went for what they call as the Hopper Special Fried Chicken… To wash it all down, I also placed the order for a glass of their Lime Juice as well… Currently the Lime Juice is the only cold beverage option available… More options are expected to be available when they start functioning in full swing… Anyways, what I asked for, came as shown in the pics below… πŸ™‚

First lets talk about the Biriyani… Its called Idiyappam Chicken Biriyani because here, its a Chicken Biriyani but made using chopped up Idiyappams instead of rice as can be seen in the pics below… To be frank, I have had Veg Pulav and Tomato Pulav made using Idiyappams thanks to my mom at home, but this was the very first time I got to try a Chicken Biriyani made with the same… πŸ™‚ It got served as shown in the pics below with a Boiled Egg, some Tomato Slices, a small cup of Raita and a dollop of Spicy Pickled Dates…

First of all, this is definitely one of the best tasting Biriyanis I have had in quite a while and the credit for that entirely goes to the spices and herbs used by the Chef here… Ofcourse, I was missing the fragrance of the Basmati but I think the taste of the masala compensated for it as it felt incredibly rich with the flavour and fragrance of Ghee along with the sweetness of the perfectly caramelised onions, Roasted Cashews and Raisins and ofcourse the spices used… The Idiyappams were also well infused in the spices as well and the whole thing had a really nice fragrance of the mint and coriander as well… The Raita and the Dates Pickle ended up further elevating the flavours which left me with an overall satisfying experience eating this…

However, the problem I had was in the cooking of the Chicken which seemed a bit under so that I found it a bit difficult to get the meat off the bones… This is indeed the only problem I had with this Biriyani… Other than that, I was very much pleased with it… πŸ™‚

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Next up is the fried chicken starter, which they call as the Hopper Special Fried Chicken… This turned out to be the classic Kerala style Fried Chicken, served with some sliced onions and some dried Red Chilies, fried Curry Leaves and a wedge of Lime as shown in the pics below… πŸ™‚

First of all, the taste was perfect for me… Perfect mix of the spices marinade with the flavours of Ginger and Garlic dominating the taste along with the fragrance of Curry Leaves… πŸ™‚ The meat in this case was quite tender and juicy with the crispy outer coating from the marination… I had this on its own as well with the Biriyani as well and it seemed like a really nice combination with each other… πŸ™‚ The crispy fried Curry Leaves as well as the classic accompaniment of freshly chopped Onions make a good combination with the fried chicken…

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After the food came the Lime Juice as shown in the pics below…

This Lime Juice turned out to be incredibly refreshing for me and hence the perfect ending to the meal… It was incredibly lite as always with the flavour of Lime strongly present but with mild sourness and with just the right amount of sweetness… Infact I liked it so much that I couldn’t resist having another glass of the same before leaving…

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So, altogether, the String Hopper restaurant appears to be a very promising venture… Being in the trial phase, clearly they are figuring their way out and so obviously as mentioned above, some room for improvement does indeed exist… Ofcourse, once everything gets sorted out and they start operating in full capacity, I hope it does indeed succeed and become a strong presence in the food scene of Trivandrum… So, I’m keeping my fingers crossed and am hoping to visit the place again soon and try out more of their Idiyappam options… πŸ™‚

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