Express press service
Kochi: The seniors swore there was something special on Banambeli Nagar road. Located in the heart of the city, but mostly quiet. A refreshing greenery, surrounded by lush trees. This is the strange residential area where Mahadevan, Govindankote, Tomaskuti and Abukutan – the evergreen In Harihar Nagar band – roam their motorcycles in the 1990s.
On the dining scene, Panampilly Nagar was once the Appu Aur Pappu vegetable restaurant run by Konkani Brahmans, and Tina’s hot baked goods and “simple” fish chairs are at Maria.
Then came the Yadav Chat store in front of the government high school. Probably one of the premiere chat nodes in Kochi, the pop-up has pulled food from all over the city. People came riding luxury sedans and sport bikes and patiently waited for hot samosas and classic cigar bhel. The restaurant is fast becoming a favorite spot for those visiting Kochi.
Back then, the seniors recall, it was a pool lounge called Downtown at Manorama Junction that served coffee and hamburgers. It was the place for you if you wanted to be a ‘delightful guy’ in town. It was just the beginning. Over the past 20 years, Panampilly Nagar has undergone a radical change – a radical change in food. Today, the road has turned into a 1.5 km long food yard, where almost every second of sale serves delicious dishes or other dishes. There are at least 35 registered restaurants here. If unregistered are counted, the number of ports will exceed 50.
It is worth noting the variety of kitchens in this hotspot. Cooking in Malabar and Middle East, North Indian, Indochinese, Continental or even at home – any type of cuisine can be found at Panampilly Nagar.
Middle Eastern cuisine
Locals are increasingly keen on the tastes of Middle Eastern and Arab cuisine, and dishes are now available in every nook and corner of the state. Panambele Nagar is no different. The Zaatar Arabic restaurant, located on Main Street, has been tempting food with a wide variety of traditional Middle Eastern and Arabic dishes for six years now. Some of the best sellers here are beef and chicken dishes along with barbecue, grill and kobos dishes.
Grilled fish, also known as grilled Arabic fish, served in zaatar, originated in Alexandria, Egypt. It is also very popular in Lebanon. This seafood dish is garnished with lemon slices and parsley and usually topped with salt and olive oil.
Various types of shawarma are also available in the restaurant. “During the lunch and evening hours there will be a great rush of customers. “Trays are our best sellers,” said Vimal, thyme manager.
Bab Arabia and Ali Baba & 41 Dishes are two other restaurants serving authentic Turkish and Malabar food. While Ali Baba specializes in Talassery cuisine, Bab Arabia is a melting pot of Turkish cuisine. Tariq Baba, the Turkish chef at the Bab Arabia restaurant, has brought out a range of delicious dishes for the Malayalam dish, such as the Kapama meal. The dessert corner is rich with kunafa – a cheesecake soaked in syrup served with pistachios and Umm Ali – a traditional bread pudding made from pasta, sugar, milk, nuts and raisins.
“Nadan” all the way
Panampilly Nagar is also famous for its street food spots. One such place is “Raman chettande thattu kada” which has hosted quite a few celebrities like Nayanthara, her husband Vignesh and Sreenath Bhasi. The restaurant is open from 18:30 until 12:00 and serves dishes such as fish curry made with minced coconut, fried beef bacon, roast beef with thick sauce, chicken fritato, etc.
Started about 25 years ago by Raman CI, originally registered as Reshma Fast Foods. The restaurant is frequented by families and young people. Fish curry – the secret recipe of Raman Çetani’s wife – is something that should be done and can be booked in advance by phone!
Uppum Mulakum thattu kada also attracts crowds. Some restaurants also serve simple meals during lunch hours. Anika Homely Meals on Parambithara Road is a hotspot. Run by Chandramathy and his daughter Jayanti, there are also restaurants serving Kerala-style seafood, such as Kumbalanghikkaran Seafood.
For the love of vegetables
Aryaas Park and Gokul Oottupura are the two best restaurants serving vegetarian dishes. Aryaas Park experiences a massive rush around 7 p.m. While different dosage types are the best sellers, the restaurant also serves North Indian and Chinese vegetable dishes.
“We have regular and casual customers,” says J Suresh, owner of Arias Park Hotel. Dosa is the best seller. We have recently created a conversation corner.
Continental, Asian and Thai
For those who love continental cuisine, the Cocoa Tree is the perfect place. Here you have to go for sandwiches, burgers, salads and pasta. East India Street Café serves dishes influenced by continental and oriental cuisines, including mignon fillets and nasi goreng.
Ming’s Wok is a great choice for Chinese cuisine. Crispy chicken, chicken with red pepper and lamb with celery and bell pepper. The menu also includes chowmeins and chopsueys a must.
Let’s not forget Momo’s boyfriend – head towards Shifu Momos.
This list could go on and on!
Want to enjoy authentic Italian pizza? Go straight to the Fireplace Kitchen. It is home to sourdough, cheese and thin-crust pizzas with local ingredients. Originally launched as a cloud kitchen in Tripunithura about a year ago, high demand for pizza prompted owners to open an exclusive store in Panampilly Nagar. This pizzeria includes everything from appetizers to desserts. Chef Rajiv Upadhyay is a pastry chef with over 20 years of experience in the field.
Appetizers include calzones stuffed with mixed herb butter, parsley, fresh garlic and minced mozzarella cheese. A variety of pizzas are then available. The menu also includes dessert pizza – Oreo Cinnabon and double chocolate pizza are only available here. “The response has been very good. Cinnabon is the best-selling in the confectionery category. Kerala Pizza Fried Beef, a combination of Kerala beef and Italian pizza, is also a bestseller.