Grillz cafe in Panampilly Nagar offers a relaxing atmosphere and focuses on Mexican dishes
Despite heavy commercialisation, Panampilly Nagar offers some kind of respite. This realisation strikes as I gaze out of the high windows on the first-floor dining space of Grillz Cafe which shows only the blooms on the rain trees and not the traffic below. I’m sipping on a glass of pineapple juice, listening to some Western classical music and browsing the menu including Mexican delicacies such as enchilada and quesadilla alongside a few kebabs and curries.
I had walked into the 38-cover space (not counting the café on the ground floor) feeling intrigued by the unique facade with large English doors and windows. “As is evident, grilled meat has become popular in the city. However, there are few dedicated grill outlets in the city and most of them are not what you’d call affordable,” says owner Rafeek Manchayil, who is venturing into Kerala’s food industry after helming a restaurant in Doha for over a decade.
The main restaurant definitely takes inspiration from fine diners with its comfortable couches, good cutlery, and stemware, but, lacks certain elements. When you see a good plating at a standalone restaurant you know you are in for a good meal and chef Subeesh M exceeds expectations.
A guacamole base and lemon vinegarette dressing on a neatly-arranged bunch of greens including cucumber, tomato, and diced avocado makes their Mexican Cobb salad can be described as ‘yummy’. Not so health conscious? Opt for their chicken wings doused in homemade barbecue sauce. Heads up—it’s heavily laced with sticky brown sugar but it’s still finger-lickin’ good, quite literally.
The prawn fajita hisses its way to our table and without hyperboles, we’re quite intimidated by the portion size. “It comes from a personal preference,” laughs the 47-year-old, continuing, “When I go to a restaurant, I don’t mind the price, but want platters that satiate my appetite.” The serving contains sweet store-bought tortillas, a whopping eight sides including guacamole, shredded cheddar and tomato salsa, and thoroughly charred prawn (with flavours moving from slightly salty to a mild sourish spiciness) and bell peppers.
Their prawn espetada—served on a vertical hanging skewer accompanied by lemon cilantro rice, beans and salad—is in the same big-platter vein. The sweet and sour notes of the chipotle grilled meat leave a tingle on the tip of my palate and pairs well with the mildly-flavoured rice and oregano-infused beans. It’s definitely the warmth of the natural lighting in the hall, the good service and well-paired flavours that leaves me happy, not forgetting the tart and creamy raspberry cheesecake with a cookie base.
Open from 11.30 am to 11 pm