Meet the award-winning chef who opened a fine-dining restaurant on Kochi’s outskirts
Chef Ramu Butler has managed to turn the remoteness of his restaurant, which seems like a setback, into a draw.
Put a cook in a kitchen and you’ll be served food; place an artiste behind the stove and you’ll witness magic. Chef Ramu Butler may not don a floppy wizarding hat but he’s got more than a few tricks up his sleeve. Now, this ex-executive chef of Ramada Resort—known for championing molecular gastronomy—has launched a stand-alone restaurant.
What piqued our curiosity is the fact that this eatery, B at Bay, is situated in a secluded corner of the city: Edakochi. A rural area, primarily known for its water woes and proximity to the eco-tourism hub of Kumbalangi.
Food for thought
We soon arrive at this ‘multi-cuisine’ diner nestled beneath Kent Baywatch Suites on Aroor-Thoppumpady Road. With automobile memorabilia lining its matte black walls and an open kitchen as the centrepiece, the outlet exudes a casual vibe. After serving up an intensely flavourful Chettinad-style crab rasam followed by a light cranberry-honey dressing splashed lettuce-citrus-sesame salad, the chef talks about how he broke the three most important rules in the F&B industry: Location! Location! Location!
“Blame it on our high-octane urban lifestyle and social media saturation, nonetheless, epicureans are now looking for experiences and stories,” begins the chef, who has won national awards for culinary excellence. “They don’t want sous vide Norwegian salmon served beneath a crystal chandelier but rather prefer off-the-beaten-path options like, Shibu’s Puttu Kada—an hour-long drive from the city to Kumbalam for erachi and puttu. Around the world, foodpreneurs are turning obscure locations into dining destinations,” he adds.
His insights do check out. The 2019 title of ‘World’s Best Restaurant’ went to a 20-seater establishment called Wolfgat—located in a little-known South African fishing hamlet. But, thoughts about global haute cuisine take a back seat as their signature railway mutton curry gets send to our table, alongside doughy kallappam that soak up the mildly piquant gravy.
The accessible spread won’t leave holes in your wallet and is by no means a let-down. Especially the grilled tenderloin steak and spinach mash, which comes drowned in a four-hour slow-simmered jus. Yet, it does seem odd that someone who wowed the patrons of New York’s Hilton Grande with his Modernist Cooking techniques is now whipping up specials like Thattukada chemeen fry.
“The initial plan is to gain footfall and entice foodies with a delightful culinary experience. Meanwhile, I’m planning to apply for three-star accreditation to further enhance my offerings in the future,” concludes the certified International Culinary Jury member for the World Association of Chef Society.
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