Calicut Notebook opens its first Indian outlet in Kochi
When you spot a chef watering his herb garden before opening the kitchen doors, rest assured; you’re in for a culinary treat. That’s what got me excited about my first meal at UAE-based Calicut Notebook’s first Indian outlet. Well, to be honest, it also had something to do with the fact that all I had to do to reach the restaurant was walk down a flight of stairs from my desk at work! Yes, you read that right. This casual dining establishment is located on the ground floor of the ‘Express House’ building in Kaloor.
Demystifying ‘glocal’ fare
As I walk around the 140-cover eatery, while sipping on a fizzy-yet-balanced mocktail with freshly-cut passion fruit soaked in ginger ale and strawberry juice, brand chef Vijeesh Varghese joins me. “Our USP revolves around fusion food—the blending of two seemingly diverse flavour profiles into a stunningly delicious and palatally coherent meal. Dishes from around the world are given the Malabar touch in our kitchen. Think Japanese yakitori marinated with black pepper from northern Kerala,” says Vijeesh, who has planted a mini-garden with fresh herbs like kaffir lime, ramathulasi, and galangal alongside the parking lot.
Vijeesh’s industry experience of 18 years is also clearly exhibited by the careful construction of their organic quinoa salad, topped with boiled quail egg and doused in a French vinaigrette dressing. Another ‘glocal’ speciality would be their Malayali twist to Thailand’s iconic betel leaf-wrapped salad, miang kham. Their delectable version, Pazhassi salad, comes with bok choy leaves, jaggery sauce, ginger, peanuts, and other flavourful ingredients.
Since their focus is on seafood, a signature dish on the menu that I wolfed down—as it reminded me of European nouvelle cuisine—is called blanket fish. Essentially it is layers of lightly-charred Hamour fillet tied with blanched spring onion stems and tossed within a blend of English mustard, bird’s eye chilli, and beetroot foam.
However, if you’re planning to eat something sweet after savouring their butter-soaked appams and plethora of piquant fish curries, ask the executive chef, Vibin Kumar, to whip up a dessert. We recommend choco beach—risotto rice in milk paired with slow-cooked jackfruit served in a dark-white chocolate shell.
Situated in a prime location, aided by valet parking facilities, this foreign restaurant chain may have got the formula right by serving appetising ‘glocal’ cuisine in an easygoing setting.
Open from 11 am to midnight.