RESTAURANT REVIEW: Paragon Restaurant Is a Must-Visit for Food Lovers in Kochi
The first time I stepped into Paragon, I was excited. It was at their Calicut restaurant and I had heard rave reviews about the food and I was just too thrilled to try out their dishes. That day, I had the famous Paragon Chicken Biryani, Fish Mango Curry, Kallumakkai Roast, and Kozhi Porichathu. Each and every item I tasted that day stayed in my heart and every time I thought of the food, I was drooling.
That experience stayed with me and now whenever we have a talk about the best food we have had, this is on the top of my list. Years later, I heard Paragon was opening its branch in Cochin and I was jumping with joy.
On my first visit to Paragon, Cochin, I was way too eager to grab a seat and place my order without any delay to relive that Paragon experience I had years ago. This place is three floors huge and always full. The waiters are friendly and eager to help you out and give you suggestions on the menu. They keep coming every now and then, enquiring about the food and checking if you require anything more. I was a bit apprehensive, because in most cases the food in the branches is never as good as the food at the centre. However, as soon as I took the first mouthful, I knew I was reliving my Calicut Paragon experience.
The Chicken Biryani is one among the best that I’ve had. Served with Chammanthi, Dates Pickle and Pappad, it is amazingly aromatic and extremely flavourful. Perfectly cooked short grain rice, juicy chicken pieces and the subtle taste of ghee lingering in your mouth sums up this dish. The Vegetable Biryani here is undoubtedly the best I’ve had. It definitely doesn’t come anywhere near the Chicken Biryani, but when you are restricted to vegetarian options, this is your best bet. Ever since the first time I had the Fish Mango Curry here, I have always associated Paragon with this dish. This is one of their signature dishes and I haven’t had a better fish mango curry from anywhere else. Spiced just right along with a slight tanginess that is infused by chunks of raw mango, this curry is delicious, and when paired with rice, it is out of this world. The French Onion Soup is a must try too. It is served in a bread bowl, the insides of which have to be scraped and mixed with the soup. It is quite innovative and at the same time flavourful and for those of you who love the bread and soup combo, look no further! This is, by far, the best soup I’ve had in Cochin, if not in Kerala.
The last time I had gone there, I was a vegetarian and while the non-vegetarians were ordering the Chicken Biryani and Fish Mango Curry, we, vegetarians, were lamenting over missing out on Paragon’s signature dish. This is when the waiter offered to get us the Veg Mango Curry! I would say this was definitely the best replacement we could get for the Fish Mango Curry. It was delicious and this time, it was truly the star. We couldn’t stop ourselves from taking one more serving as soon we finished the first one and this curry was over before anyone knew it!
For dessert lovers, the Elaneer Pudding here is a must try. Rightly sweetened with a very prominent tender coconut flavour, this dessert ends your dinner on a cheerful note. It is very difficult to share this! Each time I’ve dined here, I’ve left with a wide grin on my face, an overfed tummy and a promise to myself to go back there soon! This place is truly a foodie’s paradise!