It’d been quite a while since I’d visited The Grand, so on this trip home – Cochin, I’d decided to give it a try, especially since the food there has always gotten rave reviews, and it was about time I made my own judgment. It is located on MG Road, since 1963, so its a landmark for most auto/taxi guys.
We reserved a table for 8pm, and were told that they wouldn’t hold it beyond 8.10. Fair. The crowd actually started coming in after 8.30. The menu is exhaustive with separate sections for Indian, Kerala, Far East, Continental, Chinese and so on.
We ordered a velvet chicken and corn soup (2/3) and a Talomein Soup. Pappadams on the house while you wait. The former is a chinese preparation – chicken broth flavoured with dry sherry, and the latter is a combination of shredded chicken, carrot and celery garnished with spring onion. The (velvet chicken) soup was quite good, thicker than I expected, and quite sufficient in terms of quantity. For the main course, we decided to go all Kerala.. ‘when in kerala….’ , and so ordered a Malabar Kozhi cury, an Erachi Varattiyathu, a Meen pollichathu, and a Tharavu Mappaz. Thats four kinds of living beings – chicken, beef, fish and duck respectively.
So, the Malabar Kozhi Curry is a spicy North kerala dish, which turned out to be only moderately spicy, that was a disappointment. The Erachi Varattiyathu is cooked beef, with onions, but with enough flavours to keep it from being bland. Better. The Meen pollichathu (you have a choice of seer or pearlspot) is fish with (usually) a very spicy paste around it. Its actually the paste that gives this dish its character. However, this time it was just some sort of onion preparation and ended up very average. The saving grace was the Tharavu Mappaz (they have a ‘duck’ festival happening here) which was duck cooked in coconut milk. This one was yummy, and the ‘chatti’ (earthenware) that they brought it in did add to the effect, I think. We ordered appams to go along with all, and though I was tempted to have a Kerala porotta, the appams were tasty enough to discourage any steps in that direction.
But more than the food, which was reasonably good, though not the spectacular I had hoped for, it was the service that disappointed. They took such a long time bringing the main course that I had to ask them if I should be back the next morning to collect the order. (Yeah, I seem to be a bad service magnet these days) But they were pretty good in a very mercurial way, refilling glasses on time, bringing appams alongwith the additional order (not earlier and letting them get cold) and so on.
All of the above cost us Rs.1200, which was reasonable that 4 people were quite well fed. When in Cochin, its worth checking out for some authentic Kerala food.