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Malayali food

Budget bites

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Mumbai | Taste of Kerala

Of the few restaurants serving Malayali food in Mumbai, two are fortuitously located on the same street in Fort: Hotel Deluxe and Taste of Kerala. We chose to review Taste of Kerala because we had heard it serves rabbit and duck, items that are rarely found on restaurant menus. Unfortunately they were out of rabbit. But we did try the duck.

Tucked behind a florid South Indian temple on Pitha Street, Taste of Kerala is an Udupi style restaurant. Fake plastic flowers are abundant and the ground floor has tacky prints of Kerala's idyllic backwaters. Most of the patrons were office-goers from the area. If you listen carefully, you can eavesdrop on office gossip who circumvented whose authority by sending an email directly to the boss, who got a promotion, who didn't and so on. Sometimes you don't have to make an effort to listen as tables are shared. We found ourselves sharing a table with two men and their rather coy female colleague.

Our meal wasn't revelatory. But it was fairly decent for the price. Our chicken nadan curry had a tasty gravy that was nicely soaked up by our Kerala parotha. The duck was disappointingly tough and bony. But the thick gravy had an intriguingly minty flavour. It looked like the forbiddingly heavy, standard issue curries you get in north Indian restaurants. But the flavour was entirely unexpected. The karimeen is one of the most expensive items on the menu at Rs 350. (Full disclosure: we overshot our budget by a small margin by ordering it. Most of the non-vegetarian items are in the region of Rs 200. ) But it's worth it. Heaped with an onion masala that's best avoided unless you can withstand serious spice the karimeen was perfectly steamed, flaking easily at the slightest pressure.

PRONOTI DATTA
Taste of Kerala, 6-A Ground Floor,
Prospect Chambers Annexe, Pitha Street,
off PM Road, Fort (022 2204-4545 ).
Daily 11am-3 pm, 7pm-11 pm.
Meal for two approx Rs 500


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