This new restaurant at Kaloor serves excellent charcoal-grilled platters
Shawarma has become a staple for the average foodie in Kochi. But, most of them are prepared on vertical grills over a gas flame. Kaloor-based Cordon Bleu Charcoal Restaurant located right next to the Lissie metro station brings a change to this with charcoal-grilled dishes.
Opened as a franchisee of a Thiruvananthapuram-based brand, their menu is a mix of barbequed platters alongside Indo-Chinese and naadan dishes. Although our intention is to try a few dishes from their live grill, we flip through the pages which have names like kabsa, oyster beef and Wayanadan chicken curry.
“At the outlet in the capital city located close to Techno Park, they serve only charcoal dishes because they have a niche customer base. We’ve focussed on making our space in Kochi a family-friendly diner with a multi-cuisine approach. We’ve even integrated dishes from a sub-brand named Burger Island into our cards,” informs Mohamed Hashim, the owner of the 90-cover outlet—split into two floors and covering an area of 1,700 sqft.
One thing we notice is that, as different from most shawarma places around town, the owners of this place have ventilated the space well. Despite an adjoining open kitchen, the softly-lit AC hall with an abundance of potted live plants is comfortable to sit in. While our dinner is being tossed over the grill, we pick a syrupy yet pleasant strawberry mojito to go with the pop numbers playing faintly in the background.
The shawarma section here has quite a few options. We’re tempted to skip the regular kuboos roll and try the tortilla one instead. The wrap we’re served is amply stuffed with good cuts of beef and mildly sweet flavours from a garlic-ketchup spread and mustard sauce. “We make most of our signature sauces at our central kitchen in Thiruvananthapuram,” says chef Nazar P U, who has worked in Turkish kitchens in Central Asia, continuing,
“Also, because we have a charcoal grill, the meat in the shawarma is more flavourful than the ones made on vertical, gas-flame grills.” We try the equally good white meat variant upon the chef’s request and move on to their charcoal prawn. The tiger prawn exudes a sour note from the tamarind paste followed by a tingly spiciness.
Skimming through the menu fast has its downsides. We figure out that we entirely missed their tikka recipes hidden under the ‘Starters’ section. Confused between a beef achari and a chicken yoghurt
variant, we finally zeroed in on the latter. Lathered with yoghurt and fresh cream the pieces of meat have subtle flavours, best for those with a milder palate.
“One of our signatures is homemade ice creams whipped up by one of our friends. We serve them as scoops and use them in our shakes,” informs the 32-year-old owner. We choose a mixed bowl of milk candy and eclair flavours.
On the sweeter side, they’re definitely a good note to wind up a meal on. Content about the good meal and an intact pocket, I make a mental note to return soon.
Open from 12 pm to 12 am.
— Jose Joy