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Food @ Trivandrum

Vasanta Bhavan: A Naadan Vegetarian Meal

Today my mom and I decided to buy food for lunch and as we were browsing the options, a new name that began to show up in the app recently showed up called “Vasanta Bhavan”… The restaurant is apparently located near Pallinada, along that old road parallel to the highway, in Kazhakuttom… We decided to check out their food for two reasons: it was mentioned to be a vegetarian restaurant and also, I have been getting requests recently to cover more good vegetarian food options here… So, the following pic shows the food as delivered and here we are πŸ™‚

The menu of this place was pretty much like your typical run of the mill South Indian Vegetarian restaurants like the many similarly named ones we see in Trivandrum and quite frankly I did loose interest a bit seeing the same… Mom on the other hand, suggested that we still go ahead and get their food and among the available options, the only item fit for lunch time was what they called as the “Parcel Meals”… So, I ordered one portion for each of us and my mom asked for one more item which I am ignoring for this post as its something I don’t eat and obviously I can’t write a review for something I can’t eat… Sounds fair, right?? So, the pics below collectively show what one portion (mine) of their Parcel Meals looks like and of-course, please do excuse my untrained “Mickey Mouse” plating skills πŸ˜€ πŸ˜›

First of all, I must confess right away, that based on the name of the restaurant as well how the menu looked, what I expected to arrive was a Tamil style meals set and hence got really surprised when I saw the boiled Chemba Rice which is typical of the Kerala style… This was a surprise especially since “Appalam” was mentioned in the menu in the item description… Anyways, like any typical Kerala Meals set being the subset of the famous Sadya of Kerala, what arrived was of-course the Rice along with Chammanthy, Thoran, Olan, Rasam, Sambar, Pulissery, Sambharam, Pickle and Pappadam as shown in the included pics here…

Coming to the taste, the Rice felt a tiny tiny bit over cooked for me personally, but for my mom, it was perfect as she likes it that way better… The sambar felt quite rich in texture with the ground lentils as well as the presence of Pumpkin in it… Flavours were quite strong and felt very spicy when tasted on its own, but when mixed with the rice, it felt just right… The Pulissery also felt quite rich and creamy in texture with that taste of fresh yogurt along with the spices especially that Turmeric and the fragrance of Mustard along with Coconut oil… Compared to Sambar, the spice level of Pulissery was much lower and so, essentially it appeared to balance out the spiciness of the Sambar when mixed together with the rice… The Lime Pickle was just ok… Nothing special about it… Came in the sachet with that usual brand label we see coming with meals set and/or biriyani parcels from most places… The Pappadom was just like any other as well, though the way it came, it looked like they cut the Pappadom into quarters before frying…

The Thoran was made using Plantains and it felt to have been stir fried and cooked perfectly and had that nice fragrance of the Coconut and Mustard along with Coconut oil… The flavour profile felt clean where each ingredient was visible and the seasoning was just right as well… The Chammanthy felt like it was made using Coconut and Mango along with Red Chillies – that typical Chammanthy that we usually find with Meals and Pothichoru options all the time… Again it was seasoned perfectly for me… That sourness from the mango did resonate throughout each morsel and felt like a much better option for being the sour component of the meal than the given pickle… The Olan was different than any other Olan that I had seen before because instead of just the Cucumber and Payar (Long Beans) or Manpayar / Vanpayar (Brown Cow Eyed Peas), this one had Raw Pumpkin and Carrot as well… That was a first for me and I loved it… It was indeed rich with the Coconut Milk that was used and as expected, Olan is the sweet and savoury component that acts as counter to the spicy components…

Other than the Sambar, we also got the Rasam which is the other most popular accompaniment to rice in South India which essentially is a vegetarian consommΓ© made with Tomatoes and Onions as the base and again, what we got is the Keralite version of the same made using Black Pepper and other spices and herbs like coriander and garlic and also had the presence and fragrance of mustard seeds and coconut oil… Normally, I avoid Rasam but this one really won me over as it had that perfect balance of hot and sour as opposed to most other options where its either only sour or only hot… The Sambharam (Spiced Buttermilk) was just right as well with that nice flavour of fresh ginger, green chillies and curry leaves in fresh Buttermilk… I ended up drinking it on its own just like I did with the Rasam and I felt the flavours were well balanced… Loved every drop of it…

Overall, both me and my mom simply loved this food… Every single flavour was simply spot on and the combination of everything together was simply awesome for both of us… Essentially, everything tasted exactly at the same level as the best of the Sadya options that we have had from Trivandrum and so, we are now hoping that when the festival of Onam comes next time, these guys end up serving Onasadya and if they do, we would definitely try… Personally, I felt that this was hands down the best Vegetarian Kerala style meals option that I have ever had in Trivandrum and so I think this will be a regular spot to get meals from especially for my mom, from now on… πŸ™‚ If you are a vegetarian, I would recommend this place as a must try and if you are not a vegetarian, it would be my suggestion to get the Parcel Meals and then try having it with the non-vegetarian dish of your choice… I personally am hoping to try getting some seafood from another place and have it with the meals from this place… Hopefully soon πŸ˜›

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