I have travelled extensively through this wonderful country and nothing encapsulates the mood of India as the vast expanse of water. The areas where the lakes meet the seas, where boats move past each other. Their bows kiss each other they move along telling their stories to the viewer. Laden with produce, some laden with mud for building, some pile high with coconuts. You sit and watch the waves, luxury pours in waves.
The Taj has always been a welcome home for me, those days of my youth running the corridors of The Taj Bombay, to working in the bakery there. So it is with some ease that I enter the lobby of the Vivanta in Cochin. Willingdon island has some mystique to it and its history goes way back. The wonders of the style of the hotel makes me wish I had stayed there a bit to imbibe it all.
I have to be satisfied with a meal there for the seasons in and the rooms all full. The Journey has been well worth it. The General manager and his team meet us and we are soon on an exotic journey of smells and aromas. The decor of the rice boat fits well with the theme of the state
The epitome of fine dining and that too by the waterfront. The vistas of boatyards and cruising ships. The selection of fish from small boats ensures the catch of fish is fresh. What better than to artfully play with the cuisine of the Syrian Christians of the area. The food is mildly spicy and the range of dishes is just right. What is amazing is the ability to choose ones fish and to decide on how it should be cooked.
Karimeen is a fresh water fish and apparently the fish from the backwaters is even better than that from the lake. Fish covered in a spicy paste and cooked in a banana leaf is truly eclectic. The ground fresh spice in a stone pestle add to the flavour of it. The karimeen goes well with the appams and its here that one can tell the difference. The kitchen is headed by Chef Chef Thomas George and the care taken by the chefs to plate differently on the Tata ceramic plates with hints of coriander and fried curry pasta leaves is exquisite. The aromas of the crab whose meat has been cooked with coconut and tossed in spice is something to look out for. The prices are not that steep but then with that kind of ambience who really cares.
That special touch in the restaurant can be seen in the crockery and cutlery selection. Nothing moves me more than grand food served upon grander plates. We are full our tastebuds are satiated. I dream of the food touches I can make and the stories for me to put on to the plate.
Dishes to try:
Masala Grill Prawns Aviyal Pachakali Stew
The Rice Boat Taj Vivanta
Address: Willington Island, Vivanta By Taj – Malabar, Cochin, Willingdon Island, Kochi, Kerala 682009
Phone:0484 664 3000