One of India’s most popular chefs, Sanjeev Kapoor, opens his first restaurant in Kerala
Skin caked in colourful smears, pichkaris squirting in your face, and loads of delightful golgappe! Those are the first memories one usually associates with Holi. But, this year, we recommend that you opt to treat yourself and your loved ones to a unique festive feast. Head on down to Lulu Mall and trudge up to the third floor, as that’s where you’ll find master chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s signature property The Yellow Chilli. This casual dining eatery—which boasts of over 80 outlets in 11 different countries—prides itself on re-inventing classic desi delicacies by giving them a contemporary twist.
Colour me hungry
While I wait for executive chef Dharmendra Singh to join me at the table, the gruff serving staff tells me that each meal at this 72-cover space begins with a complimentary mocktail (peru pyala/strawberry collin) and pappads topped with tangy onion-tomato salad. Though the decor is a great mixture of post-modern and rustic elements, I can’t help but notice that the din of the food court outside isn’t drowned out by the Bollywood tunes playing inside the restaurant. It’s a bit of a buzzkill, especially if you’re on a date! However, all that is quickly forgotten as soon as the 30-year-old chef arrives with my starters; crisp vegetable skewers doused in a thick honey chilli sauce and juicy chicken tikka drenched in gooey mozzarella.
Khana Khazana, indeed
Gastronomic connoisseurs, who used to jot down chef Sanjeev’s recipes in the ’90s (remember Khana Khazana?) will recognise the next couple of signature delicacies that I gorge on. Both the shaam savera (spinach koftas stuffed with cottage cheese on a bed of luscious tomato gravy) and lalla mussa dal (kali dal simmered for 36 hours) are crafted to be paired with their piping hot missi roti/pyaaz mirch ki roti. Be sure to dab a smidgen of their sweet papaya pickle on the laccha paratha and dip into their piquant Kashmiri-style lamb shanks. Before you head back out to cover yourself in a bevvy of colours; be sure to try their Holi-special dessert thandai barfi or the trademark rose petal compote-stuffed treat, gulab-e-gulkand.