PGS Vedanta launches new restobar Barrel with a Spanish tapas fiesta
After the revocation of the beverage ban, Kochi seems to be catching up on a new trend—restobars. Spaces that once primarily entertained a male clientele are now opting for a facelift and choosing to be family-friendly. The latest entrant into this class of diners is Kaloor-based PGS Vedanta’s Barrel.
However, we turn up at the property, oblivious to the revamped restaurant but hoping to look into their tapas fiesta—a festival serving the famous Spanish quick bites. “When I was working abroad, senior chefs from Spain would often come down to our restaurant in Hilton Hotels and Resorts in Kuwait. So I’ve had hands-on experience watching specialists at work,” says Biju Peter, the property’s new executive sous chef, who’s been part of this industry for 18 years.
The fancy Spanish names on their menu like croquetas de gambas lure us in and we decide to try the chef’s seasonal specials, keeping the main card aside for another visit.
A quick flip
By the time Biju brings out our meal, we get comfortable within the 1,145 sq ft eatery adorned with low tables, luxurious leather upholstery and wall art reminiscent of breweries. Mixologist Shibin Krishna is quick to whip up a pineapple fantasy mocktail, blended with blue curacao syrup.
As the first dish is brought to our table, we figure that it’s more than just ‘one-bite’ dishes that are served at the fest. If you opt for their seafood empanada, I’d suggest a liberal slathering of the avocado puree and chilli dip (similar in flavour to the bird’s eye variant) on the easily crumbling dough layers.
Before moving on to other non-veg options, I run my eye over the ‘vegan mini plates’ on the menu. Misleading though the name is (as some of their listed ‘vegan’ platters use cheese), the perfect cubes of roasted potatoes in their patatas bravas topped with salsa and garlic aioli makes for great tapas.
Long way off
Savouring their chicken and mushroom chimichangas with a well-blended hurricane (a mature mix of white and dark rum with a sugar-coated orange slice and almond syrup) in hand, simply makes you feel like a don. The stuffing of roasted and shredded chicken with kidney beans in this pleasingly plated dish is for those who love a mild-yet-flavoursome mouthful.
“The people’s favourites from this promotional menu will eventually be added into our main cards,” informs the 40-year-old chef. You may skip the minced-meat lamb burger with a rather thick patty, but not their pimentos rellenos de atun. This delicacy has cylindrical cherry peppers stuffed with tuna and cream, leaving a slightly peppery tingle on the palate which I happily wash down with a vodka-cranberry Cosmopolitan.
Tapas Fiesta till September 30.