Hopper Restaurants: The New Fish Tawa Fry


As I have mentioned earlier, I have loved the food at Hopper especially the Chatti Choru and the various seafood options at the Hopper Restaurants at Akkulam, Trivandrum… I had been going there whenever I could for lunch but this time, it had been a few weeks since I ended up being too busy with work and turns out that the chef and pretty much the entire kitchen staff has changed and it was the day the new chef started working… Thankfully, the Chatti Choru that I wanted to get as usual was available 🙂 I did get the opportunity to meet and talk to the new chef who seemed quite passionate about food and suggested that I try this new Fish Tawa Fry which he has introduced to the menu and he also suggested that I try this fish he handpicked himself from the local fishermen today morning and is the fresh catch of the day which called as Vilameen ie, Emperor Fish… I had not tried that one before and so was curious and agreed to have the same and it was served as seen in the pic below on a piece of Banana Leaf with a small Salad at the side…

Now, I meant this as an accompaniment to the Chatti Choru like how I usually get Fish Fry with it and so, quite frankly, didn’t expect this Tawa Fish Fry to be served like this… The fish was big enough for a person… I guess you can call it a medium sized fish… I liked the presentation very much as it looked incredibly colourful, even though I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea of putting all those sliced Green Chillies on top like that as can be seen from the pics… As I said before, the chef mentioned that the fish is Vilameen or Emperor Fish and I had never had that fish before and it kind of looked like a kind of Tilapia for me especially cause of the shape of that tail but when the chef says that it’s not, well who am I to question that, right?? 🙂

Anyways, coming to the taste, first of all, the fish felt indeed fresh and was cooked perfectly… Just the right amount of spices and that melt in the mouth texture… Even though name said Tawa Fried, the texture felt like it was Grilled on the Tawa rather than fried… My only complaint about the Fish is what felt like the usage of that Tandoori / Garam MasaIa in it which I personally don’t think that it works with this fish but thankfully the amount of it wasn’t too much… Other than that, I found myself liking and able to enjoy the Fish… I guess those Green Chillies were meant for those who wanted more heat in the taste cause those chillies were very hot… So, I discarded them as I felt they were unnecessary for me… The curry leaves were nice to have with the rice on its own as I personally am a person who loved to eat the curry leaves which I understand is a rare thing as most people tend to throw them away and hence the old Malayalam saying about it 🙂 The salad given felt like the same salad that we usually see being served with Tandoori items and had Onions, Carrots, Green Chillies, Tomatoes and Coriander Leaves sprinkled with Lemon Juice and seasoned with salt (needed a tony bit more in my opinion) and mixed with the Garam Masala which was the same as used in the fish (it seemed to me like they used the masala remnants left on the Tawa after grilling the fish itself for this)… The sliced lime and onions, well they are the customary accompaniment to any Fried Seafood in Kerala as always… 🙂

So, altogether, I was left with mixed feelings about this Fish Tawa Fry as I ended up loving the fish itself that I am hoping to be able to try more options using the same kind of fish, but at the same time, I wish the chef had avoided the usage of that masala with this fish… In my opinion, when you have fish as fresh as this, its best not to add much spices at all as they end up ruining the taste… Here, I don’t think the taste was ruined but personally, I felt that they almost reached that boundary… I have mentioned the same to the Chef and so, I hope that they make the necessary changes soon…

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