Food : Trivandrum Rating : 4/5 Stars

Monsoon Days – First Impressions

During my last visit to the Slice of Spice restaurant in Kazhakuttom, I was informed by the owner there that they are starting a new restaurant nearby which is different from their usual spicy concept called Monsoon Days… It is located at the place where the Parambrym restaurant used to be located ie, along with the Elite Inn, opposite to the Technopark campus, near Kazhakuttom… I have been there a few times by now sampling some of their menu items and thought now would be the best time to write about what I have seen so far… Ofcourse there are a lot more where this comes from… πŸ™‚

Having been to the place back when it was Parambriym, I can tell that they are using the same furniture as before… They have modified the decor a bit, by adding that nicely lit wall of fish tanks and plants and also the pebble columns which looks great with that Persian inspired false ceiling work… The whole place is quite well lit and feels lively…

The menu according to the owner is currently a temporary one as in a subset of the full menu that they intend to bring… Just like how they did with Slice of Spice, the owners are playing it safe by bringing it one step at a time… So, as of today, they menu is currently dominated by Chinese items but other than the Chinese there are a few South Indian / Naadan style dishes as well, especially in seafood, two of which I got to try… They also have a small grills menu which is a new set thats completely different from what they do at Slice of Spice… I got to try one type of them as well… So, lets see the items that I got to try one by one…

If you are a follower, you would probably have guessed that I love soups… So, lets start off with the two soups that I got to try… They are the Chicken Manchow Soup and the Chicken Clear Soup as shown in the pics below…

The Manchow soup has always been a favourite kind of soup for me and so, obviously when I saw it listed in the menu, I just had to try it… For those who may not be aware, its a slightly spicy and tangy soup made with a lot of ginger, garlic and peppers in a stock based broth thats slightly thickened and served with crispy fried noodles on top… The version served here as can be seen in the pics below has in addition them all, some vegetables ie, carrots, spring onions, cabbage along with coriander leaves as well… And ofcourse, being the Chicken Manchow Soup, it has chunks of Chicken, Egg drop and the broth was made using Chicken Stock…

Coming to the taste, first of all, the broth seemed to be dominated with the flavour of Chilly oil and Garlic in addition to the Chicken… The flavours of the vegetables especially the Coriander along with the richness and flavour of the eggs do indeed cut thru quite well… The pieces of Chicken were perfectly cooked… The fried noodles were crispy and added a bit of crunch to the overall soup when it got soaked in the soup… πŸ™‚ The level of spiciness and saltiness felt to be perfect as well… So, altogether a great soup that I enjoyed having and hoping to have again soon… πŸ™‚

On my next visit, I decided to try the Chicken Clear Soup instead of having the Manchow again and it came as shown in the pics below… Basically this is a very thin and lite soup made with non-thickened Chicken broth having chunks of Chicken and some vegetables namely Carrots and Cabbage…

Coming to the taste, first of all, I felt this soup to be a bit too salty for me… But the broth had a strong flavout of Chicken along with Pepper… The pieces of vegetables were quite crunchy and the chunks of Chicken were perfectly cooked… This soup definitely has a clean taste by which its possible to feel the flavours of all the ingredients quite distinctly… The only complaint I have is the salt level which I wish was a bit lower…

During my first visit, the owners were there and knowing me for quite some time, they suggested I try a couple of their South Indian seafood options… These were the Avoli (Pomfret) Mulakittathu and the Aleppy Fish Curry made with Neymeen (Kingfish/Indian Cobia)… Along with both, I went for their Porotta as its been a long time since I had porottas… πŸ™‚

IMG_2457

First of all, the Porotta felt quite average… I certainly wish it was more soft, moist and fluffy…

IMG_2455

Now coming to the Fish, the first to arrive was the Avoli Mulakittathu… They serve this in a large shallow bowl thats as big as the plate itself and in it was this big whole Pomfret soaked in this gravy which indeed looks quite spicy as can be seen from the pic below… As can be seen they have done the tempering with fried curry leaves and dried red chillies as well in oil…

For those who may be unaware the Mulakittathu is a kind of curry thats indigenous to Kerala where the main dominating flavour is that of dried Red Chillies… Its a very simple recipe to make consisting of the usage of Powdered Red Chillies and Turmeric along Coriander powder, with onions/shallots, garlic and kudampuli (Kokum) and flavoured with curry leaves… Ofcourse the ratio of the ingredients is what matters and what makes all the difference… πŸ™‚

IMG_2458

Coming to the taste, in this curry, the flavours felt quite mild but very well balanced… Usually what happens with most places that serve this curry is that they end up having the Chilly powder be too overpowering thereby causeing our tastebuds to become numb that it becomes extremely difficult to detect the other flavours especially of even the fish in it… Here however, it is not so and the flavour of the Fish does indeed come thru… The Fish did indeed taste fresh and was cooked perfectly so that it just came off the bone at the slightest touch of the spoon/fork and it did literally melt in my mouth as I was eating it… Slice of Spice is very well known for their mastery of the Spices and clearly that expertise shows in the preparation of this dish… It was so perfect that I think its definitely the best seafood dish I have ever had and so I am looking forward to have it again soon…

img_2456

The next to arrive as suggested by the owner was the Alleppy Fish Curry made with Neymeen as shown in the pics below…

IMG_2453

As per what the owner informed me, this is a bit different from the usual Allepy Fish Curry recipe that we usually find in other places and the main difference is mentioned by him is their use of the Coconut Milk to mellow out the strength of the Spices and their avoidance of the use of raw mango making it a spicier version of the famous Fish Molee… From the pics, both fish curries look the same because of the tempering thats they have used which is exactly the same for both… From what he said it sounded like a Stew like version of the Mulakittathu itself…

IMG_2454

Regarding the taste, my hunch seemed to be right as in it did indeed feel like the mulakittathu but a bit mellowed with the added flavour of the Coconut milk… The fish pieces were cooked well but some of them slightly overcooked… So, overall I didn’t like this curry as much as I liked the Avoli Mulakittathu which was absolutely perfect for me…

Next up is one of the new grill Chicken options… As per what the owner told me, these are made using their newly developed spice mixes and they are completely different from the ones they use at Slice of Spice… And the difference in concept here is mild/mellowed use of spices leaving the main ingredient to shine… The one I had is called Smokey White Grill and I had it twice so far cause during the first time, I couldn’t quite understand what the flavours were and hence wanted to try once more… They gave me a leg piece during the first time and when I had it again, I went for the breast… πŸ˜‰ It is served with a dollop of Mayo and Coleslaw as can be seen in the pics below…

IMG_2450

As can be seen in the two pics, there was one difference between the time they gave me the leg piece and the time they gave me the breast… Its that the leg piece had a few slices of fresh green chilly as a topping… Not sure why that was there and not the second time…

Anyways, during both times, I found the Chicken to be cooked perfectly with the meat being tender and moist all the way through… When it comes to the flavour, to be frank it almost felt like the famous Reshmi Kebab like flavour profile when I had it the first time… However, it was when I had it for the second time that I could observe a bit more closely… In addition to the usual Ginger Garlic paste usage, there seems to be the flavour of green chillies and as I scrapped off the marinade and tried tasting it, there seemed to be nutt base thats ground into it and from the taste and texture, I am a bit confused between Macademia Nuts and Almonds cause I thought I felt the taste of both… So, I am guessing its possibly a mix of both… Obviously I could be wrong about this and the owner as usual has the recipe locked away very safely and was being extremely tight lipped about it… πŸ™‚ πŸ˜›

Anyways, I loved its overall taste and it is indeed a unique taste that needs to be felt to be understood fully… The Mayo dip that it came with was the obviously garlic mayo and slaw felt to be the same as the one they serve at Slice of Spice… I am hoping to try the other new grill options in future visits…

IMG_2754

Next up is from when I tried their Chinese menu… As I mentioned before, the current menu has a strong presence of Chinese cuisine in it… I have always loved the Schezwan Fried Rice at Slice of Spice and so, I decided to try the same from here… To go with the rice, the dish from Slice of Spice that I usually preferred is their Garlic Chicken and so this time, when I found that they have Garlic Fish, I went for it… So, they came as shown in the pics below…

The Szechwan Chicken Fried Rice, as we know is a spicy fried rice made with using the spicy Szechwan sauce and it consits of long grain rice, chunks of chicken, egg, along with vegetables ie, carrots, beans and cabbage along with dried red chillies, chives, ginger and garlic and seasoned with salt and pepper…

IMG_2610

Altogether this fried rice felt to be exactly like the same that they serve at Slice of Spice… The flavour of the Szechwan sauce can be felt but doesn’t overpower the fried rice leaving the other ingredients to be visible to the tastebuds… Everything in this were cooked perfectly with the vegetables being cruchy as always… I have always felt that the Szechwan sauce thats used at Slice of Spice is one of the best out there and clearly the same has been replicated here… So, definitely an option if you are craving some Sichuan cuisine…

As mentioned above, I got the Garlic Fish to have with the fried rice… Basically like other Indo-Chinese dish, its made with batter fried fish sauted in a sweet and sour gravy thats made using a lot of garlic, onions, chives, ginger, green chillies, soy and thickened with corn starch… In this version I found a lot of chopped garlic and some red chilly flakes in the gravy as well, as can be seen from the pic below…

IMG_2617

Coming to the taste, the gravy tasted exactly like the gravy they use for Garlic Chicken over at Slice of Spice… The pieces of fish were cooked perfectly and it were pieces of the Indian Cobia as is the standard with all the restaurants in Trivandrum… It is an incredibly nice sweet and sour taste with garlic being the dominating flavour throughout the dish… I think this curry works incredibly well with the Szechwan fried rice as it brings the sweetness from the garlic used in the curry to balance the spiciness of the fried rice… Together its a combination that I liked…

IMG_2619

During the time I had the Chinese options, I also had tried one of their starters which they call as the Golden Fried Prawns… It came as shown in the pics below and is basically batter fried Prawns served with some Hot Garlic Sauce…

img_2801

Tastewise, I felt that this is kind of like our Indian Pakora but with a piece of Prawn inside… This is because the batter seems to have chopped green chilles, ginger and shallots like how we have in the pakoras along with the piece of prawn and I did feel a subtle flavour of turmeric and chilly powder and the batter at some point felt like made of groundnut flour as well in it… So, like I said, it essentially felt like they served with me prawn pakoras with the hot garlic sauce πŸ™‚Β I know it sound weird but turns out it works and I liked it… πŸ˜›

Next up is the Biriyani which I tried during my last visit to the place… They claim it to be a dum biriyani and its served as shown in the pics below with the Vegetable Raita and Lime Pickle…

img_2776

I have had Chicken Biriyani from Slice of Spice befor and tastewise, I did find similarites to that one here as well… The Biriyani had a couple of pieces of Chicken cooked using a variant of the Garam Masala and rice which was a short grained rice as is commonly used in Malabari Biriyanis and was garnished with fried onions, cashews and raisins…

The vegetable raita had Cucumber, Tomato, Onion and Green Chillies in it and the pickle served as mentioned above was a spicy Lime Pickle…

Coming to taste, I loved the taste of the masala that they used with the Chicken… The rice was quite frangrant as well… However, on the overall the Biriyani was a bit dissapointing cause the pieces of Chicken ended up being overcooked and dry and I wish the rice had been infused with the flavours of the masala used as we expect to be so in case of Dum Biriyanis… But anyways, the restaurant is new and the crew is still in the process of settling down to the setup… Hopefully things will get sorted out very soon…

img_2780

Thats all the food I have tried… Now whats left is the drinks… They do have a very good selection of drinks in their drinks menu and among all the visits I have had, I got to try two of them…

The first one was the Watermelon Mojito… Actually this was first seen unexpectedly because during my first visit, what I ordered was for Watermelon Juice and what I ended up getting instead was this mojito… And it came as shown in the pics below…

Regarding taste, it did have the usual citrusy minty flavour of all Mojitos and had the strong flavour of Watermelon cutting thru it… Since I expected fresh Watermelon juice, and since I was recovering from a bit of cold on that day, I asked them not to put ice in the juice and the end result wasn an interesting experience of drinking a Mojito without ice…

The next one I had was one of their Tender Coconut based shakes… Its a recent trend in Trivandrum where you have a bunch of milkshakes but with Tender Coconut blended in… Its called the Karikkin Shake phenomenon… Many places have two sets milkshakes namely one set consisting of the regular ones and the other ones are the regular ones but with tender coconut pulp blended into it… They have the additional refreshing effect thanks to the tender coconut used…

So, here, there have a similar list and among them as they suggested, I went for their Tender Cashew Nut Shake… ie, a milkshake made with Cashew Nuts and Tender Coconut blended in it… It came as shown in the pics below garnished with some Chocolate sauce…

Coming to its taste, I could taste both the flavours of Cashew Nuts and Tender Coconut… It felt quite rich and creamy and its a shake that I liked to have and am hoping to have again…

So, altogether, I think the Monsoon Days restaurant is off to a very promising start… My experience so far as I have mentioned above has been mostly positive and being close to where I live, unlike the previous restaurants that occupied the space, I hope this one will stay… As Β mentioned in the beginning, the current menu is a temporary subset of what they intend to implement and I am hoping to see more in my furture visits which I expect to happen soon…

img_2386

P. S. : To my beloved fat-shaming brigade who is now getting ready to get onto my head about how all of this is too much food for a single person especially me and start accusing me for overeating, please note that all of this is from across the multiple visits I have had to this restaurant and also note that I wasn’t alone for all of the visits… Hope that gives enough clarity…

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.