Food @ Trivandrum

Cordon Bleu Charcoal Restaurant – First Impressions

Those who follow the food scene of Trivandrum would know, the owner of Burger Island and Cordon Bleu Charcoal Shawarma place had recently taken over the space that was previously occupied by Monsoon Days restaurant and hence the new Cordon Bleu Charcoal Restaurant was born… I was invited for the launch but couldn’t make it and so went there a couple of times by now… This post is about the same…

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Not much change has been done to the interiors of the place… The same furniture clearly has been inherited… However, the menu is a completely new one, as in you still get a combination of Arabic, Chinese and Indian options, but still looks quite different cause you get quite a few newer never seen before options…

So, across the two visits, as recommended by the owner, I tried the following items from their menu:

  1. Kabsa Buhari
  2. Charcoal Grilled Prawns
  3. Cordon Mixed Friend Rice
  4. Oyster Chicken

All of them tasted quite unique in my opinion and were as seen in the pics below…

Lets talk about the food in detail and lets start chronologically with the Kabsa Bukhari… For those who are unaware, the Kabsa is a mixed rice dish that originated from Saudi Arabia and is regarded as the national dish among many of the countries belonging to the Arab world… It basically consists of Rice and Meat and there are different ways of cooking it… The Rice is cooked with a number of spices like Black Pepper, Cloves, Cardamom, Saffron, Cinnamon, Bay leaf, Black Lime and Nutmeg… The main ingredient of-course is considered to the meat, which in this case is a piece of grilled Chicken Leg which as the name of the restaurant suggests, was grilled on their charcoal grill… The Kabsa is usually served with a homemade tomato sauce and a salad as it is done here as well as can be seen in the pics below…

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First of all, the meat was cooked perfectly and it had a spicy and sweet taste… The owner said that its their signature spice rub… To me, it felt like the spiciness is coming from a combination of peppers as it seems to hit me at the throat as well and the sweetness kind of reminded me of the sweetness of dates and there was also a sour component as well kind of like tamarind… You see, I have had a Tamarind and Dates marinated grilled chicken before and so, this kind of reminded me of the same but clearly a spicy version of it… Anyways, the meat was quite tender and the level of spiciness was a bit too much for me…

Coming to the rice however, although clearly there was the flavour of the black peppers, cinnamon, clove and bay leaf, I felt the dominating flavours were those of the cardamom and saffron.. I guess to act as the counter weight to the spiciness of the meat, the rice hardly felt spicy, even though quite flavourful as I said before… The combination of the spicy meat with the fragrant rice felt nice… The tomato sauce felt like a version of the salsa dip and the salad was as good as it can be… I am personally not a fan of this tomato dip but as I said, loved the Kabsa and I am hoping to try it again soon…

Next up is the Charcoal grilled Prawns, which as shown in the pic below, is served on a Kubooz bread along with some Coriander leaves, Green Chilly and Lime… Looks like the idea is to make a DIY wrap out of it and eat… 🙂

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Anyways, considering that the owner told me that the Chicken used in their Kabsa was their Charcoal Grilled Chicken, I expected the same flavours here… But however, it was not so… The difference was that unlike the Chicken from the Kabsa, this one didn’t have any sweet and it felt all spicy… Rest of the flavour profile seemed similar except that there was no sour component either… I guess they put in a bit too much of the spice rub for the size of the prawns… However, squeezing in the lime and eating it with the coriander seems to cut down the spiciness… However, it was quite a hard work especially since I couldn’t use my hands (cause of a tiny injury) to de-shell all those prawns using that knife and fork and make the DIY wrap… lol… 😀 And in the form of the wrap, it was delicious with the spicy-savoury-earthy combination of flavours… So, I would recommend everyone to do the DIY wrap (be warned about using those chillies as I think you probably wouldn’t need them) instead of eating the prawns on their own… The accompanying yogurt based mint chutney adds its own freshness to it, further cutting down the spiciness… Altogether, was able to enjoy anyways… Hopefully, next time, I’ll ask them to reduce the spice level in this… 🙂

During my second visit, the owner suggested that I try from their Chinese menu and he suggested I try what they call as their Cordon Mixed Fried Rice… He told me that its a different kind of fried rice thats their signature recipe… Typically they make this with Chicken, Prawns and Beef and since I don’t eat beef, he offered to make one excluding the beef… It was served as shown in the pics below…

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Although it looks kind of like the Hakka style fried rice, there is a color to the rice as can be seen in the pics and the owner told me that it was from the signature sauce that they use for this fried rice…

Coming to the taste, the chicken and prawns in the fried rice were cooked perfectly and the taste of the sauce reminded me of the taste of Kway Teow ie, that same (garlic-soy) kind of sweet, savoury taste but in subtle level… To be frank, I rate this fried rice as one of the best that I have ever had and am definitely looking forward to have it again…

Last but not least is the side dish that the owner recommended that I try and is called Oyster Chicken… The beef variant of the same called Oyster Beef is apparently their best seller as per what the owner informed me… Chicken and Oyster sauce is a known combination from the asian cuisine… So, the Oyster Chicken was served as shown in the pics below…

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Coming to the taste, I must say that I really loved this dish… The chicken was cooked with absolute perfection, even though it was the white meat that was used… The taste of the sauce seemed to have the sweet taste of the oyster sauce, soy, garlic, sesame oil and also the flavours of the vegetables and herbs used like the green chillies, the flavour of which was the highlight along with the flavours of the sauce, onions, chives, tomatoes, carrots and bell peppers…

Altogether it felt the perfect combination to have this with the fried rice… I am definitely recommending that everyone do try this and also looking forward to having more of this in my next visit too cause I really couldn’t have enough  the last time… 🙂

So, that was it… Two visits to the Cordon Bleu Charcoal Restaurant at Kazhakuttom, Trivandrum… I must say that based on what all I have tasted so far, the place really looks promising and I do hope they keep up the good work that they are now doing over there…

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