Kumbalangi by night is mesmerizing. The shores are still, quiet and the lake a vast sheet of placid waters with the silhouettes of the cobwebby Chinese nets painting an out of this world scene. The waters bob up and down with the reflected lights from the lanterns all around.
Want a pleasant night out, just to chill out? Head straight to Kayaloram Restaurant in Kumbalangi. Kumbalangi is the village that scripted a new concept in tourism with its integrated, eco-tourism plans.
The ambience at the eatery has its touch of romance with soft music playing against the backdrop of the cool waters. The pull of the place is its natural setting. Kayaloram is a no-frills, no-gimmicks place. But there's plenty of good times to savour. For one, you can have your meal and stay till the midnight mood lingers. The menu is not exotic. If you're out for continental, Chinese or the Persian flavours, then head not to Kumbalangi. But there's a delicious, homely meal to look forward to. And it's easy on the pocket!
Beef puttu and chemmeen puttu
Two must-taste dishes here are the beef puttu and the chemmeen puttu. They can be had on their own without side dishes. They come packed with loads of taste. The prawns are fresh, cooked straight from the waters and not packed with ice as we usually get. The prawn puttu is the main attraction here. Kumbalangi being rich in prawns, it's not too difficult to whip up tasty dishes with them, freshness being the hallmark of their taste.
Beef puttu is also another delectable outing. Puttu mixed with layers of beef and gravy. Ah, so yummy! The flavour wafts across from the piping hot dishes and spreads all over inviting folks outside for a bite.
Kochi's very own beef vindaloo
Some regions have their trademark culinary combinations where they taste the best, like for example, beef and koorka (Chinese potato), which only folks in Thrissur can turn out in their tastiest best, or the mango curry, which Angamaly has the copyright to.
Come to Kochi, Fort Kochi to be precise, for its beef vindaloo, unrivalled in flavour and taste. Of Portuguese origin, the beef vindaloo is Kochi's masterpiece. The dish can be had in its purest and original flavour in Kayaloram.
Vindaloo gorgers swear by its unmistakable pull. As chunks of meat wrapped in tamarind juice with spicy hot masala are downed, they have to be matched with hot and strong black tea for realtime experience.
Kappa and chemmeen
After puttu-chemmeen comes the next item hot on its heels, kappa and chemmeen. They come in different combos with prawns and other fish varieties. The freshly ground masalas lend the dishes a homely feel. And one never gets tired of the taste. Besides, the freshness of the day’s catch is an added draw. No stale food here. Kayaloram is proud of its culinary skills. Give us any fish, the taste is assured, says the restaurant.
A big thanks to Tom's mum!
Once the food is downed and the taste savoured, the next natural curiosity leads you to find the expert hands behind the dishes. And there she is! Lissa Mummy! Lissa is Tom's mother and Tom is one of the partners of Kayaloram. Lissa is the super chef behind Kayaloram's delicious dishes.
The restaurant opens only by 7 pm. But Lissa is in her kitchen much before that and when the eatery opens, mother and son bring in all the dishes.
However, puttu and chappathis are made on the spot. But all the curries are made in Lissa's kitchen. Kayaloram chunks have put up a notice on their Facebook page. In case folks would like to turn in late for a bite, they need to call the restaurant, just to make sure sufficient food is still around. Since the curries are brought from Lissa'a home, once they are served and done with, thy shut shop for the day. But though the kitchen closes down, Kayaloram is still open to people who’d love to settle down to a bit of light hearted banter or enjoy the stillness of the waters and the cool breeze that wraps the place. Kayaloram nights are alive on all days of the week except Mondays. Mondays are Team Kayaloram's days for rest.
It's by night that Kayaloram wears its charm. As the sun dips into the sea, the place gets lit up with lanterns all around. With the aroma of cardamom tea spreading, folks in groups troop in.
The restaurant was the joint vision of three youths, Raju, Tom, and Sanjay, who sought out the beauty of Kumbalangi by night. Bonded by experience and the amity of having worked together, the trio did not waste time in laying the foundation for their dream venture.
To the three musketeers, music and movies are as important as food. One of them is always around strumming a guitar, tapping to its rhythm and singing even while the plates go around. Guests also join in at times.
Welcome to Kayaloram to jive up the nights!