It's raining fests in Chennai, with the music season kicking in and restaurants do not want to be left behind! So it's been fest after fest for food and this time I was at Ente Keralam to try out their Kuttanandan food fest, by a special invite by the restaurant. Kuttanandan food is from the region around the Vembanad lake, mostly Kumarakom and Allepy and since I have quite an experience when I was there earlier this year, I was eager to see if it all matched up in Chennai
We were given two starters to try out, a typical tapioca cutlet, and it was rather typical, nothing special. While karimeen polichadhu, a typical kerala dish in which fish is wrapped in banana leaf and cooked, is usual, we opted for prawn polichadhu, which is the exact same spices and method, but with prawns. It tasted great! The prawns were jumbo prawns, so there was quite a bit of meat and I love prawns, so, yeah, I loved it.
For the main course, we had one kerala parota, one appam and one puttu. The kerala parota was the typical one, nice and soft, while the appam was just like how my grandmom used to make, crisp edges and soft middle. I am not a fan of the completely soft appams, so I loved these. The puttu was a special pineapple puttu, something I have not eaten before and both of us loved it. If you like puttu, you should try this sometime, atleast, to see what it is. The above were eaten with a variety of gravies of which the kerala chicken gravy was my favorite, while my friend was raving about the tamarind fish gravy. The duck stew, though had more flavor and spices than a regular stew, but it was something both of us enjoyed. The duck used is a pond based duck, so it was smaller, but it was cooked well and so it was very tender compared to most ducks you get in Chennai. In general, I loved the way the gravies were served in earthen pots.
I was not very impressed with the desserts, though elaneer payasam tasted good, but was very watery, I am not sure if that is how it should be, and the other sweet, a banana jaggery sweet had an overdose of jaggery.
I am not sure how my mallu friends will rate this restaurant, but for me, while it did not taste the same as what I had in Kumarakom, food was definitely good, especially the parotas and the appams and the puttu.
The festival is on till Sunday and I will be glad if the prawn polichadhu and the pineapple puttu make it to the regular menu.
I would rate my experience here as 3.5/5
Ente Keralam is located in Poes Gardens. If you take the road adjacent to Chola Sheraton, drive down till you see a small board on the right. Take that road and you will find the restaurant on the left.
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