Pune-based restaurant chain opens in Kochi, offers a blend of Levantine cuisine
Dajaj shawarma, anyone?
When an eatery boasts of over 14 outlets within a city famed for its food scene, you know that the brand is doing something right. Having already conquered Pune’s dining terrain—with a couple of accolades to adorn its walls—Marrakesh opened their first outlet in Kerala, 90 days ago. Since there’s no dearth of worthy West Asian/Arabic diners in Kochi, I caught up with co-owner Manu Raju Philip to find out why he decided to diverge his attention from a thriving stint in the export industry to start a diner in Kakkanad’s overcrowded ‘foodscape’.
As I dipped my za’atar dusted naan in their mildly-flavoured mouttabbal (a puree of grilled eggplant, sesame paste, and extra-virgin olive oil), Manu explains, “Our 1,200 sq ft doesn’t reflect Mediterranean decor, but our head chef Amin Siddique ensures that we face no culinary setbacks.” Next, we tried their makarana kebabs. Essentially barbequed chicken, these drumsticks marinated in heavy cream and tandoori masala are perhaps the best entrees we’ve tried all week.
For those looking for desi options, we recommend their aromatic dum ka murgh. Another unique dish they serve, currently unavailable elsewhere in the city, is beef shawarma. However, since the thinly-sliced beef is mixed with tahini paste, housemade hummus, and garlic sauce, it has the texture of a cold-cut salad. If you noticed baklava on the menu and hoped for a bite of the crunchy and sticky phyllo pastry topped with freshly ground pistachios, you will be sorely disappointed. The only dessert they serve is malai phirni. You might not discover Beirut’s old-world charm within this eatery, but you’ll definitely encounter authentic delicacies from the Levant.