With Dum N Rum, two Malayali entrepreneurs are serving authentic Kerala dishes in Australia
Two Malayali entrepreneurs are running a restaurant in Brisbane, Australia, that serves the most authentic Kerala dishes, and specials like our very own naadan kallu!
Imagine you are in Stafford Heights, Brisbane, Australia, walking down the road thinking about how far you are from home, and you suddenly smell beef roast. When you find out that it is coming from Dum and Rum, the Malayali restaurant that serves everything from Biryani to beef kondattam and even naadan kallu (toddy), you are bound to be delightfully surprised.
For Revishankar Sreekumar and Nishanth Nayar, entrepreneurs living in Australia, food is everything. Hailing from Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram respectively, the duo started Dum N Rum out of sheer love for the Malayali flavour palate. “For most people, Indian food is all about butter chicken and chicken tikka. A lot of our focus here has been on popularising lesser-known, yet authentic recipes from God’s Own Country among people here,” says Nishanth, over a call from Brisbane.
Revishankar, whose maternal family has been running a food business in Thrissur for years, went to Australia after studying accounting and was working as a revenue analyst when the idea of opening a restaurant came about three years ago. “I guess the food business has always been in my genes,” he quips. “Nishanth and I manage all the detail. He is the tongue of Dum and Rum, the kind of foodie who is particular about the flavour burst in beef roast and firmness of the porottas,” says Revishankar. The restaurant, like most businesses, took a hit during the pandemic days. The opened in full swing recently, introducing the Malayali essential for Aussies at their bar — naadan kallu.
Kallu and beef aren’t the only slices of home the duo have managed to teleport. Dum and Rum’s menu — bar and food — will make it hard for you to believe you are not at a Kerala restaurant. Injippuli wings, beef dry fry, koonthal roast, appam, Malabari dum biriyani, kanthari chicken, Ramassery idli, thattu dosa, paal kappa, adapradhaman — the list of delicacies is long and tempting. Moving on to the drinks menu, besides kallu, you will find some of Malayali’s most loved items on the list — Old Monk Rum to Kalyani Black Label Beer. The cocktails are largely inspired by classic movies — like the ‘Lelu allu lelu allu’ made from rum, coconut water, coconut cream and mango and ‘Aadu thoma’ made with vodka, coconut water and green chilli, inspired entirely by Mohanlal’s eponymous character from the movie Spadikam. The soft drinks menu includes street specials like soda sambaram, kulukki sarbath and Sharjah shake!
“I think most of our focus has been on keeping things as authentic as possible. We use shallots, coconut oil, and mix spices just the way it is done back home. We have a standard customer base that enjoys the fact that we don’t westernise the dishes. I think, if you take that extra mile and be particular about ingredients you use, it can go a long way,” says Revishankar, who runs operations and constantly experiments on more Malayali dishes to be brought from Dum and Rum’s kitchen to its tables. For Nishanth, the restaurant is also a way to educate people more about Indian food.
On each page of the menu, there is something about Kerala’s and India’s culture that would interest a foreign connoisseur — like why Indians eat with hands and the history of dum biriyani. “We have a QR code at the end of the menu, that people can scan for more information on our food and lifestyle. It is very satisfying for us to stand out from other Indian restaurants who still focus on serving the cliche North Indian curries,” he quips. “Not that we don’t serve them, but the world deserves to know the goodness of Kerala kitchen,” concludes Nishanth.