There are a handful of vegetarian restaurants in Cochin but finding one that leaves you happy and wanting to go back soon is hard to find. Yet, I found one – the Brindhavan Vegetarian Restaurant, located in Palarivattom.
Everything about the place was near to perfect, right from the beginning to the end. We walked in on a weekday night and much to our surprise the place was full. However, within minutes, we were directed to a table and given the menu card.
The menu looked very appealing with South Indian, North Indian and Chinese options. Apart from this, they also had the day’s special, three different dishes each day, which itself was tempting if not for the rest of the menu. We were spoilt with choice leaving us confused on what to order. Finally, after going through the menu a couple of times, we ordered for a plate of Vada, Ghee Roast, Wheat Idiyappam and Vegetable Stew, Five Taste Oothappam, and Mushroom Upma, the last two being the day’s special. I was excited to try the Mushroom Upma and was eagerly looking forward to it when we were told that the Mushroom Upma was not available, much to my disappointment, leaving me with no choice but to go through the menu again before settling for the Puttu Set.
It didn’t take much time for the order to come and soon we were digging into our plates. The Vadas, crispy outside and soft in the inside, came first and within seconds the plate was empty. The Ghee Roast, perfectly crispy and crunchy, was the best of the lot. Each of the accompaniments that came with it – the sambhar, chilli chutney and coconut chutney – was flavourful and tasty. A piece of the ghee roast drenched in the sambhar and chutney left a burst of flavours in the mouth leaving you wanting more. The sambhar was perfectly tangy and spicy but what amazed me was the consistency. It was neither too thick nor thin, making it perfect to dunk the Dosa in it to get that perfect sambhar coated piece of dosa. While others fought for the dosa, I polished off the bowls of chutneys and sambhar. No sooner did I finish that, we had the server coming to check if we need a refill of the sambhar and chutneys.
I was not quite sure about the Idiyappam and Vegetable Stew combination – I would rather have ordered a vegetable curry to go with it – but a spoonful of it and I fell in love with it. I’ve had wheat idiyappam only a couple of times before and this was undoubtedly the best I’ve had so far. The strings of wheat were as thin as possible and a piece of that, dipped in the vegetable stew, melted in the mouth, leaving just the wonderful tinge of flavours behind. The stew, with the subtle yet significant taste of the coconut milk, was rich in taste and packed with flavour. The Puttu set – Wheat Puttu, Pappadam and Kadala curry –was tasty yet not extra-ordinary. I felt the Puttu could have been a bit more softer. Also, I would have loved the gravy of the Kadala curry to be slightly more roasted and the portion size of the gravy to be slightly larger since towards the end, I was left with more Puttu and almost no gravy to complete the dish. The Five Taste Oothappam, with Carrot, Onion, Beans, Tomato and Podi as toppings, had a taker in my three year old. The Oothappam was soft and spongy, and the toppings blended well with the Oothappam. This, too, was accompanied by the tasty sambhar and chutneys and I don’t think I need to say, yet again, how much we enjoyed it!
In addition to the tasty dishes, what left an impression on us was the cheerful attitude of the staff who were very accommodative of our requests and even bringing us second servings of the sambhars and chutneys without even asking for it. For the food that they serve, the restaurant is moderately priced and doesn’t leave a hole in your wallet. There isn’t much of an ambience to speak about, but the place is spacious and well kept.
I saw Kappa Biryani on one of the day’s special and I’ve heard their Ela Meals is worth a try. Considering how we had a good time here, I am definitely going back to try out these, and going by how our dinner went by, I am almost certain that I won’t be disappointed!