Named after three ingredients unique to Kerala, tapioca, jackfruit and bird’s eye chilli, Kappa Chakka Kandhari is built on the vision of reclaiming traditional Kerala food for a new generation, bringing the state’s hidden culinary gems to light. The menu can be broadly divided into well-loved Kerala favourites; specialties from their mothers’ kitchens that evoke an unmistakable sense of place and time; and finally, dishes with their roots in tradition, that carry fun innovations that allow the chef’s creativity and spirit to shine. There is as much to draw in diners unfamiliar to the cuisine, as there is for purists and loyalists.Designed to be sparse and minimal yet warm, sleek wooden tables and chairs are reminiscent of toddy shop dining-style meet Japanese chic. Warm spotlights and wooden beams evoke the high-roofed lifestyle of plantation life, with art that evokes tropical living, and the carefree lifestyle.

From the many short bites we tried, we absolutely loved every one of them. Prawn Kizhi , plump prawns cooked with grated coconut and kodampuli and steamed in banana leaves lends an extra dimension of aroma and flavour. Idierachi, sun-dried tenderloin, shredded and tossed with mild spices and curry leaves was an addictive munch. Ayakura Melodu Vachathu is spicy, tangy tawa-grilled seer fish, marinated in tart gooseberry, green peppercorn and bird’s eye chilli. My favourite. And ofcourse the koonthal roast. The excellant dry roast of calamari rings makes for a briliant dish.

From the vegetarian options, Koorkka Ularthiyathu made from Chinese potatoes roasted with pepper is a happy throwback with older generations of diners. Koon Kizhi and Chakka Vevichathu are much recommended. The Malayali love for deep fried snacks is realised in the Kappa Vada, where boiled tapioca is mashed with bird’s eye chillies and shallots, and deep-fried to the perfect degree of golden-crisp.

The drinks at Kappa Chakka Kandhari echo the sentiment of the food perfectly. Nanaari Sharbath (sarsaparilla syrup with lime juice, served with basil seeds) make up the bulk of the menu. Buttermilk, Morum Vellam, made in-house every morning, carries the wonderful thrum of spices, both soothing and invigorating at the same time. For something brighter, Passion Fruit Splendor is sweet with just the right amount of tang. For those that cannot down a meal without a fizzy drink, the old-fashioned sodas are a healthier option, in vintage lime and orange flavours. The Absolute Kandhari is sharp, potent and perfectly complements the vibrant and wholesome food served here. Its an absolute must to try this drink, 10/10 you would go ordering this again.

For main course we loved the famed Ramassery Idli, cooked over a muslin-covered earthen pot, de-moulded with plachi leaves. Paired brilliantly with Kerala-style sambar or chicken curry. Both the curries were delectable. Muringaka curry and kadala curry were an absolute delight in vegetarian options. From non vegetarian option, nothing beats Mutton chaps and good old shappy meen curry. Absolutely rich and appetizing, and burst of flavours!

What an absolute blast of dessert options they have going for them. The much famed Cloud Pudding made with tender coconut, is wobbly and yielding, and everything you want in a dessert after a full meal-refreshing and light. Unnakai, deep-fried quenelles of ripe Nendran bananas stuffed with coconut and jaggery, make for a delicious tea-time snack, that is best paired with a glass of piping hot tea. Kandhari Ice Cream, made from bird’s eye chillies and full-fat milk, is creamy yet sharp, and perfect for the adventurous diner. The kandhari aftertaste of this ice cream is surreal, we totally recommend.

Kappa Chakka Kandhari creates a nostalgic gourmet experience that is truly one of a kind. Recreating the goodness of home-cooked food for a new generation, in a setting that is minimal, modern yet evocative, this is Kerala’s cuisine for the modern diner. It easily sets a new standard for regional food in India.

Happy Eating
Waves ‘n’ Curves