Ebony & Ivory in Fort Kochi serves pan-Asian cuisine in a historic setting
Fort Kochi’s buildings have diverse olden day tales to narrate to observant people. Hotel Old Court House has stories of having housed a courtroom, a bank and a tea godown since the building was erected in the late 1800s. Now, the archaic structure situated opposite Coastal Police Station houses the city’s latest pan-Asian restaurant named Ebony & Ivory Asian Kitchen & Cafe.
“We baptised the outlet so because of the black and white colour of the Athangudi tiles which have been preserved in the flooring of the main hall of the building. The menu was developed on the idea that the city has an abundance of eateries serving Arabic and local cuisine, but few serving Asian fares like Japanese that are hot among international visitors,” says corporate F&B head, Nathan Fernandes, speaking for Goa-based property owners, Albuquerque Group.
Just as we sink into the comfortable armchairs set around small tables in the 40-cover space, we’re served two appetisers—a salty and spicy Korean side dish made of cabbage called kimchi and veggies pickled in sugar syrup.
We pick out a few dishes with the help of chef Saran Rana and start the meal with a bowl of steaming and bland pho bo (Vietnamese beef and noodle broth) soup.
Their four-page card features influences from various cuisines like Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese and Thai. Even though Nathan insists on serving their dim sums, we don’t expect an explosion of colours before the bamboo container is opened to reveal an assortment of purple, pink, and green dumplings.
“They are given the hues using natural substances derived from vegetables such as red cabbage and spinach,” informs Nathan. Each also has distinct flavours as in the prawn hargao stuffed with spinach and the sweet char siu beef with a creamy aftertaste.
While sushi is the talk of the town now, this restaurant introduces us to East Asian culinary arts with an ika furai. The large calamari rings with Japanese bread crumb coating are so crisp that the only thing you’d hear as you bite down is the crunch.
The main course is on the heavy side. Flavours of basil cut through despite the heat of the scented fried rice. The sliced beef tenderloin in black pepper that we pair it with has me by surprise for the melt-in-the-mouth meat—a must-try for non-vegetarians.
The vegetarian section in the menu is also diverse with options like silken mapo tofu and stir-fried greens. The crunchy beans we try is subtle yet rich with flavours of white sesame. The okra and potatoes dish strikes the back of my palate with its heat but is enticing for flavours of spices like ginger and garlic.
Without exaggeration, the spring roll dessert offers an almost out of the body experience with its milk chocolate goodness.
Open from 8 am to 10 pm.