My first visit to Karavalli in 2004 was a revelation - it was *the* best Indian restaurant I'd ever been to. Granted that it's hard to compare different regional Indian cuisines, nevertheless, Karavalli was, and is, *the* Indian restaurant I'd pick, if I'm ever told to choose just one for my last meal on Earth (sorry to Konkan Cafe Mumbai, Bukhara Delhi, Dakshin Chennai, and Masala Craft Mumbai).
And Chef Naren Thimmaiah, who was chosen Best Chef in India by the Indian Tourism Board back in 2009, and who represented India in the World Gourmet Summit in Singapore in 2005 - he remained, to me, the Zeus on the Mount Olympus of the Indian culinary world.
- Hot rasam to start off, together with rice crackers & pickled chillis and pips of garlic;
- Meen Polichattu, which was black pomfret fillets marinated in a Malabar spice mix, wrapped in banana leaf and fried. Peel back the flat banana leaf package to reveal perfectly-cooked pomfret, the likes of which you'd never had before;
- Kozhi Malliperlan - A Keralan favorite:spicy chicken & gourd curry with coconut milk. Creamy from the coconut milk, made tastier from the use of fresh yellow turmeric;
- Aleppy Fish Curry - cubes of Sear fish simmered gently in a mildly spiced gravy containing grated coconut, ginger and green mangoes.This dish was fiery-orange, with the green mangoes lending a subtle, sourish tinge to the flavors.
To go with the excellent curries above, we chose "idiyappam" (lacy stringhoppers) and "appam" (delicate rice crepes). It was perfect, and every bit as good as I remembered from my last meal there.
Chef Naren Thimmaiah again showed that he had lost none of his magical touch when it comes to conjuring up the perfect spice mixes and curries.
The meal ended with a Goan Bibinca - spiced layer cake, so good, it totally eclipsed the one I had at Konkan Cafe in Mumbai. This one was to-die for!
The world's best Indian restaurant may have just gotten better!
66 Residency Road