Exotic fare & fun drinks at Zerita Ashlin’s month-old restaurant
A woman chef, an elaborate mocktail menu and a fiery Mongolian counter. As far as I am concerned, ‘out of the box’ dining experiences within the town don’t get any better than Kakkanad-based Rochas.
Having walked into the 8,000 sq ft restaurant—sporting contemporary décor with its high ceiling and glass walls—during the peak of monsoon, I am delighted to find a choice of over 40 fizzy drinks.
As someone living in a state where alcohol remains a focal point of controversy, I can’t help but describe their translucent ‘litchi caperina’ as godsend.
Whisked in a homemade citrus syrup with orange, mint leaves and litchi shavings, this zesty concoction is devised by the chef herself.
“We wanted to stay off the Sprite-filled mojitos that seem to plague the city,” shares Zerita, an air hostess-turned-restaurateur, as she recounts the past week where one of the customers devoured 16 of her pomegranate martinis in one go!
Mostly self-taught, this 20-something’s multi-cuisine establishment presents myriad options ranging
from oyster beef to rib-eye steaks.
Tracing her interest in the culinary arts all the way back to her grandfather’s property in Munnar, Zerita suggests that I start the meal with a Rochas special omelette.
Stuffed with oodles of ricotta and mozzarella cheese along with sauteed vegetables, this perfect breakfast meal is mildly spicy on the palate.
As I slowly recover from my cheese-induced slumber, the chef returns with a serving of creamy shrimp alfredo pasta in white sauce, seasoned with thyme and basil.
“To perfect my skills, I’m being mentored by the master himself,” shares the mother of two, who’s taking lessons from multi-Michelin star chef Gordon Ramsey via Masterclass, an online platform.
For the main course, I opt for a mixed platter from their famed grill. Bordering the savoury side with strong undertones of garlic, the slightly browned noodles come tossed with additions like button mushrooms, broccoli, prawns and chicken.
Stir fried in high heat, the dish features a mixture of base sauces seen in the Mongolian cuisine (think ginger-garlic broth, oyster sauce and hot pepper). While there, don’t forget to ask for a sticky rice pairing.
Though their pastry section—featuring home baked cakes and icecreams—looks tempting, I end my meal with a tall blue serving of ‘holy water’, a frothy drink made with blue curacao and pomegranate arils.
Meal for two from `800 onwards.