Executive Chef Yogender Pal on how Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty's new restaurant Colony Clubhouse reinvents fine dining for Kochi
Executive Chef Yogender Pal talks about how he curated the extensive new menu at Colony Clubhouse
Food, when made and served right, is a language of its own. Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty, home to a few of Kochi’s best-themed restaurants — Thai Soul and Malabar Cafe that have the best authentic Bangkok street food and Kerala cuisine respectively — understands this language very well. “During the lockdown days, we started brainstorming about creating a character for our third restaurant too, Colony Clubhouse and Grill,” says Executive Chef Yogender Pal, who curated the extensive new menu there, one that reinvents fine dining for Kochi’s palate.
With warm lights and soothing music, the interiors of Colony clubhouse speaks luxury and elegance. The restaurant also has a beverage manager who tells you what drink goes best with each plate, to make the entire experience of dining tailor-made for every customer. Colony is also placed near Grand Hyatt’s most breathtaking view - one that overlooks its beautiful garden, and the vibrant backwaters.
The menu has influences from around the world. “These are dishes that I have carefully hand picked. It is also influenced by the places I have worked and chefs I have collaborated with,” says chef Yogi, who has been with international luxury hospitality brands including The Oberoi Hotels and Resorts, Marriott, Hilton, Intercontinental Hotels and Claridges Hotels and Resorts.
Right from the first appetizer, Tuna noodles, ponzu, avocado and black truffle, Colony Club House’s flavour aesthetics will surprise you. It has a bed of avocado mash topped with Saku tuna that is sliced and cut into fine ribbons. Tints of chilled light soya, citrus dressing and sesame oil add to the flavour burst. It melts in your mouth, instantly waking up all your tastebuds. The portions are small because the true spirit of fine dining isn’t in stuffing your face with food or feeling full. It lies in the experience of eating, in knowing how each ingredient went through elaborate processes to get you the satisfaction you feel in every bite.
The 63-degree egg, oscietra caviar, brioche will impress you with its crunchy yet juicy texture. Country eggs are slow-cooked at 63 degrees and layered in brioche slices, pan-seared and topped with Maldon sea salt and caviar, a creamy yet light speciality I highly recommend.
Under Farinaceous, you will find heavier, starchy cuisines ideal for a cheat day. The wild mushroom risotto, made by slow-cooking wild mushrooms with Arborio rice and adding parmesan and butter, leaves a lingering taste in your mouth. It is both filling and comforting.
Mains are, yet again, filled with dishes that have been painfully put together. Like the 15-day dry-aged duck with salt-roasted beets, Pistachio chicken mousseline with corn-fed chicken breast and caramelised onion sauce or steamed silken tofu, asparagus, shimeji, shitake and mirin dashi from the Asian side.
Colony Clubhouse & Grill also has steak that has been cooked to perfection. “Before we put together the tenderloin, we sourced some local beef and marinated them in three batches — seven days, 10 days and 15 days. The first one was picked based on the results and feedback in-house. Every dish on the menu was tested and discussed meticulously before it ended up on a plate,” says chef Yogi. When you order a portion of the said tenderloin, the waiter follows up with the “medium or rare” question, and the beverage manager steps in, recommending some fine red wine to go with it. The dessert menu has showstoppers like eight textured Valrohna chocolate cake and Ariba chocolate mousse.
Colony Clubhouse, with its view and ambience and exuberant collection of flavours from around the world, is offering an unprecedented experience to Kochiites. “Fine dining is a relatively new experience to the city and its people, and we hope Colony Clubhouse can give it to them. The feedback so far has been great,” concludes Chef Yogi.