Travancore is the first Syrian-Christian restaurant outside of Kerala, which celebrates age-old recipes used by Christian families in the region, who, it is believed, date back to the first century AD. Over the following centuries, as Kerala began to trade in teak, spices, ivory and peacocks with people from the Mediterranean world, many Syrians, among others, remained. They eventually converted to Christianity, and developed a unique meat and seafood cuisine of their own. On the menu you will find chicken, duck, lamb, fish, prawn and crab all given the same fascinating treatment typical of food from this tradition, as well as a highly original vegetarian menu
THE TASTE OF KERALA
The south west state of Kerala lies on the Malabar Coast of India, a tropical region made up almost entirely of inland waterways, coconut groves, and spice plantations. Kerala has traded its spices – cardamom, ginger, turmeric and black pepper – with Arab, Chinese and European merchants for thousands of years. Sugatha Kumari, a Keralite poet and ecologist says “Once there was a time when the whole world was enamoured of the fragrance of Kerala.”
Kerala’s culture has evolved and has an open attitude to visitors and a strong mix of religions. Kerala was the first place the world freely to elect a communist government (and vote it out several years later) it has India’s lowest birth-rate and its highest literacy rate, and possibly the highest concentration of poets Travancore means taste (but not only of food), and we want you to experience a taste of Kerala’s villages and dishes from other southern Indian states. Here we can remind you of Kerala’s traditions: the vibrant temple dance, Kathakali; compelling music,\the elephant parade and boat festival. Every year around September, Kerala’s greatest festival, Onam, is celebrated with music, dance and of course, food.
A SOUTH INDIAN MENU
In Kerala, your dishes are served on a huge fresh banana leaf, a disposable platter. Contact with your food is direct and tactile as you eat with your right hand, mixing wet into dry ingredients – a messy business for the uninitiated.
No meal is complete without a selection of pickles and chutneys to add piquancy (in India these are placed top left on the leaf), rice to fill you, a very liquid dal (spiced cooked lentils) to moisten dry dishes, some yoghurt to cool the more fiery curries, and a selection of crisp savouries. Not surprisingly these dishes are often made from bananas, as Kerala has over 250 types, from bright green through every shade of yellow to clay pink. They also appear in stews, dumplings and a rice breakfast dish steamed in bamboo.
To complete a feast, there may be bananas cooked in raw sugar syrup, scented with cardamom from Kerala’s cardamom hills in the east, or a sweet pudding with raisins and cashew nuts, since Kerala is the cashew capital of India.