After over indulging on food and alcohol on New Years Eve and waking up with the mother of all hangovers, the best remedy was a visit to a banana leaf restaurant. Obviously banana leaf isn’t on the menu but instead it’s used as a plate for the most delicious array of South Indian dishes.
As the hot food hits the leaf there is an immediate scent that is difficult to describe and enhances every flavour. The aroma of spices fills the air long before the shop is in sight and all that’s needed is a good nose to find the origin. The exterior isn’t particularly exciting and totally devoid of any frills, fancy linen or cutlery. Inside however the atmosphere is buzzing with activity as waiters scurry around with huge plastic containers of rice, poppadoms, and icy cold drinks.
My eyes instantly clocked the feast on display and on closer inspection made the executive decision to have everything! Once seated, a banana leaf miraculously appears on the table as steaming rice, vegetable curry, chutney and salad is scooped on. This is merely the basics leaving you to decide on other accompaniments. Reverting to my earlier intention of devouring everything, a feast of crabs, chicken, squid, mutton, prawns, quails eggs and fish, adorned the table in little silver bowls.
As expected every single mouthful was divine with intense spice explosions but yet striking a delicate balance of flavours. Whilst the clear winners were the spicy crab curry and the dry fried mutton (Paretal), it was nonetheless a difficult choice to make. The feast concluded with a sago, vermicelli, cashew nut and condensed milk dessert with hints of cardamom called Payasum which was a perfect sweet ending. This humble yet magnificent experience of culinary genius proves that great food isn’t just restricted to opulent surroundings. Am definitely paying another visit before heading back to UK!
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