Food @ Trivandrum

Paragon Restaurant: Back After A Long Time With Soup, Fish And Puddings

Its been a long time since I last visited the Paragon Restaurant in Trivandrum… But I have been able to enjoy their food once in a while as thankfully their food is available to my place (with extra delivery charge) in the popular apps… But of-course due to the extra distance and a couple of permanent traffic bottlenecks along the way, the food get soggy, forcing me to restrict myself to ordering just those dishes which doesn’t get affected by this (the Fish Mango Curry for example)… So, I have been trying to visit for quite some time, but have been unable due to some urgency that has been happening in terms of my work or at home or something else… So, this time, when my foodie friend invited me over to join for lunch at the place, you can imagine the relief at finally being able to goto the place… So, here we are…

The restaurant looked the same (sadly I forgot to take a pic and hence the old pic above) clearly indicating how well they have been maintaining the place, especially considering the fact that most of the restaurants I have been since the pandemic have all been looking like they could use a renovation… The menu has clearly changed by this time and is digitised now… Regarding the food, one item I wanted to try fresh was their Chilli Garlic Crab Meat Soup… So, I ordered for that along with what they call as their Paragon Sarbath, while waiting for my friend to arrive… In addition to the soup, we had their Kanthari Tawa Fish as the starter and their famous Chicken Biriyani as the mains… For dessert we got their Elaneer Pudding and also their Chatta Mary’s Pudding cause my friend wanted us to try… Since I had written extensively about the Chicken Biriyani and the Paragon Sarbath here in my previous post, I am omitting the same from the context of this post… Please feel free to check out the previous post if you would like to read about them… The rest were served as shown in the pics below…

So, first lets talk about the soup… According to the menu, this Chilli garlic Crab Meat soup is a soup made with Crab Claw and Thai spices… It got served as shown in the pics below and seemed to have vegetables like Carrots, Chives, Garlic, etc along with Egg drop as well… Regarding the taste, I felt that it was an incredibly flavourful soup… I couldn’t find much Crab Meat in it but the broth had a very rich flavour of Crab in it… The vegetables were all cooked so well that you hardly need to chew them… As the name suggests, the soup was indeed on the spicy side cause of the use of the Chilly paste which sort of reminded me a bit of the Tom Yum paste but not as spicy and sour as Tom Yum… I guess maybe similar kind of Chillies were used and if I am not mistaken, I felt the flavours of Ginger and a hint of Lemongrass as well… But the flavour of Crab was definitely the one dominating the flavour profile… My friend ended up loving this soup and its my favourite soup from their menu and clearly it tastes better fresh… However, the one problem I had with this particular soup was that unlike the ones I had before, this one was thickened using corn starch and I wish they hadn’t done that… Other than that, I loved it… 🙂

Next up is the Kanthari Tawa Fish… According to the menu, it consists of Fish marinated and grilled with a combination of Kanthari Mulaku or Bird’s Eye Chillies and thick coconut milk… I have had the similarly named dish before with pretty much the same description from another restaurant and so, I expected something similar as thats what the description in the menu looked like… However, what arrived had nothing to do with that description and I even asked the staff who took our order if there was a mix up… But turns out its the only Fish based item in their starters menu and the staff confirmed that it is indeed the item we ordered and thats how it usually looks like… The problem is that while we expected to see caramelised Coconut Milk and Bird’s Eye Chillies with the Fish, here it looked like an Asian preparation that seemed to use a Soy, Red Chillies, Celery, Garlic, Ginger and Coriander based marinade along with Chives as topping as can be seen in the pics below… We couldn’t detect have the taste of both the Coconut Milk as well as the Bird’s Eye Chillies… However, in-spite of this, we felt that this is one of the absolute best Fish based dish that we have ever had… The Fish was indeed fresh and Basa is a fish that I don’t really like personally, but I liked having it this time so much that I couldn’t resist ordering another portion… The accompanying salad provided a crunchy texture to the otherwise well cooked Fish that literally was melting in my mouth… The flavours were perfectly balanced and the seasoning was spot on… Both of us simply loved having it and I am hoping to have it again next time… 🙂

Now lets talk about the desserts and start with the Elaneer Pudding… I had written about this pudding in my previous post… But, the reason I decided to talk about it again here is because the taste was very different from the one I had before… This pudding is basically a Panna Cotta made with Tender Coconut Water… Regarding the taste, unlike the previous version I had, this one had nothing but the taste of Tender Coconut Water and was much less sweeter than before too… To be frank, I felt that it needed a tiny bit more sweetness… The texture had been incredibly lite before and I felt that this version was even more lite as it literally melted in my mouth instantly… Overall we both loved this… 🙂

Last but not least was the Chatta Mary’s Pudding which was the dessert that my friend wanted to try and I had never tried before… It arrived as seen in the pics below… Chatta Mary’s Pudding is a recipe thats popular in North Kerala especially Kozhikode and said to have been invented by one Ms. Mary who then served it to an English guest back during the British Raj… Basically this pudding consists of two parts, Caramelised Banana and then a Creamy Pudding that goes on top of the Bananas… The Banana is typically caramelised with Jaggery and Ghee and some versions also use grated Coconut and flavoured with Cardamom… The Creamy Pudding is typically a custard made using Cream and is also made using Vermicelli as well… Here the version served felt like made using 3 components… At the bottom there was a Payasam made with Banana paste, Coconut Milk and Ghee that was flavoured with Cardamom… This Payasam was topped with crunchy pieces of Banana and Grated Coconut that tasted like they were toasted in Ghee… Then this was further topped by a Panna Cotta made using Cream and Semolina… This Panna Cotta was pretty much bland with just the taste of Cream and cooked Semolina… But the bottom two layers were incredibly sweet and flavourful… The genius of this dessert is that when you have all the layers together, the flavours become perfectly balanced and the overall sweetness becomes just right… The topping of Cherry gives a nice flavour addition but the mint unfortunately felt like it spoiled the overall taste… So, best to avoid that… The rest of the dessert though is definitely one of the best desserts I have ever had in Trivandrum… I for one am definitely going to have it again next time…

That’s it for now… Overall it was a lunch that I loved very much… Paragon is indeed worth the hype as the kitchen staff clearly knows what they are doing… Each of the items that I have tried so far have been good and so I am hoping to try more from their menu in my future visits… Hopefully soon… 🙂

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