Ente Keralam

Searching for either Thai or Kerala food, we set out on a Sat evening, trying to get a seat in a decent restaurant. With Benjarong having a waiting time of 1 hour, we roamed around and finally managed to get a seat at Ente Keralam. Not really in a mood for big spending, we told ourselves that the pricing on the menu looks fine and that we should be able to eat well and not have our banks crying out loud!

The ambiance was inviting. Tables were arranged well, and with it being a house, there were pockets of places where you have adequate privacy. We were shown our table which was the only one in that small landing area of the stairs on the first floor. We were amused to find a 'Maami' kind of lady making hot hot aapams (for the ignorant ones, aapam is a kind of rice pancake with a soft centre and crisp edges)right next to our table!

Then we sat debating what to eat and we saw something called the 'Silver Platter' priced at Rs 685 right on top of the Starters page. We called the waiter and asked him what starters this platters has and hoped it will have an assortment of the many starters! And this is what he said "Sir, this is a special Kerala Platter that will have one welcome drink called Keralayam, 3 starters, 6 gravy, one paratha,one aapam, one serving of puttu (again for the ignorant ones, go read about puttu yourselves), 2 idiyappam, chicken or mutton biriyani, one portion of rice and some desserts!" And then came the best part, "Actually sir, except starters, you can ask for any number of times, the gravy and the paratha, aapam and all that, even some welcome drink you can order more". I can forgive the English of all the waiters in the world for what he said!

"So what exactly do we get in those gravys?" we ask. And he says " For drink you get Keralayam, it is given in the menu sir. You can get Kerala Fish Fry, Squid Fry and Kerala prawns for starters. For gravy you get Mutton Stew, Duck Roast, Egg Roast, Nadan Kozhi Curry, Thalasery Fish Curry, and Kadala curry" "Oh I don’t eat fish, so maybe you guys can have it while I order stuff" I said (he already told us that we cannot share this platter). He quips " No problem sir, I can give you something else for fish fry and squid fry. Also for fish gravy, I can give you Mutton roast curry" That was it. 3 of the 4 of us ordered the platter while the loser ordered mutton biriyani for some strange reason. We altered our platters as per our wishes and hoped that the food was good.

The food took a little longer to arrive that expected, but what came out literally shook us. I had changed the fish and squid for Thiruvananthapuram Chicken Fry and Beef cutlet, one of my friends changed the squid for Malabar fish and the third guy took the platter as is. The Keralayam drink was nice and soft, a mix of coconut water, lime and pudhina (mint) leaves. The starters were excellent. My chicken fry was not bad, but the prawns and the beef cutlet were brilliant. Then came the paratha and the aapams. I ate 2 parathas,5 aapams, 1 idiyappam, half puttu with all the gravys, so that should tell you if the taste was good or not! The best among the gravys was obviously the Mutton Stew, while the duck roast gravy, the mutton gravy and the Kadala Curry were pretty neat. Egg Roast and Nadan Kozhi Curry were pretty average, but the rest of it more than made up for it! The aapams were super soft and so were the parathas. The idiyappam was alright and the puttu was also just alright, but who cares when you can get so many parathas and aapams!

The chicken and mutton biriyani was not the Mughal or the Muslim biriyani, was more like chicken and mutton rice, but whatever the name, the dish was awesome. It is served very differently with mint chutney, onions and pickle and each of them goes well with the rice! Well done, if only the name was different!

Then came the desserts. Paaladai payasam, Ada prdhaman and Tender coconut icecream. I have had better Ada pradhaman elsewhere, while the paaladai payasam was stupendous and the flavor of the ice cream was something that I have never tasted before! Though we were told not to share the food, when of my friends asked him to only bring the ice cream, the waiter suggested that our fourth friend could have the payasam since he only had the biriyani (the biriyani quantity was by no means small, of course they charged Rs 180 for it).

Service was prompt and attentive and very friendly. The bill arrived and was Rs 2512 (Rs 2365 or something plus 10.2% service charge and some VAT). My friends paid me while I gave my credit card. The waiter came back in 2 minutes and asked us if any of us had a Citibank card for which there was a 15% discount. Promptly my friend gave his Citibank card and I took back mine. These small things of getting back to the customer and suggesting that there was a discount even if he forgot to mention it the first time was well acknowledged by us and I think it sets a very good standard for the place.

I loved it and though we were not initially prepared for Rs 700 per head, we came out not regretting one bit. If the platter was anything to go by (and it indeed is as we tasted almost 10 gravys by switching the dishes on our platters)

Suggestion: The platter gives you and insight to most of the food on the menu and if you are a group, then you get to switch the dishes so that you get to taste more dishes on the menu, unlike Kebab Factory where all of you get the same dishes. And since the servings are unlimited, the possibilities are pretty large

Food 8/10
Ambiance 8/10
Service 8/10
Price 8/10 (for the platter)

Ente Keralam is located in Poes Garden. Take the road right next to Chola Sheraton (take the right from Cathedral Road while going from Gemini Flyover, after the Poes Garden Entry) and take the second right after the Gold Gym. It is right at the start of that road.