Cheenavala is Kochi’s latest seafood destination
Nobody would think of creating a video ad for a restaurant; especially one featuring a popular actress like Miya. But, the owners of Cheenavala did and the success was so massive that we still had to wait for the lunch-hour rush to quell before visiting the spacious 90-cover outlet located on the Edapally-Palarivattom Highway.
The restaurant focuses on creating a wholesome dining experience ranging from the decor to the menu’s design. The seafood-themed decor at this diner is very loud as its walls sport fishing rods and pillars are embedded with seashells.
“When we thought of starting a speciality restaurant in Kochi, we figured that what identified best with the Queen of Arabian Sea is seafood itself,” says Arun Sebastian, one among the property’s five directors. The exhaustive menu, which sports separate sections like squid and prawn, serves a whopping 85 dishes—excluding beverages (think tender coconut juice) and desserts (like a gulab jamun cheesecake).
We skip the regular sweet corn soup and try the njandu rasam which doesn’t reflect much of the seafood addition. Alongside myriad coastal delicacies, there are a few chicken and beef dishes (like murgh malai tikka and Kottayam beef roast) and also Kerala special duck dishes like tharavu mappas. For starters, we’d sure recommend their mild and crunchy batter-fried calamari rings.
We opt out of their popular full ‘net’ meals with 10 seafood curries but decide to try something from the live counter. “We offer customers the chance to pick their fish and marinade for grilling,” says the director, as we’re brought a whole grilled pomfret heavily-marinated with a fiery masala which would suit connoisseurs of spicy fare.
Another of their specialities, we’re informed, are their chatti curries which are made-to-order by an exclusive chef. The sourish and coconut-rich gravy of the seer fish curry served in a traditional chatti (earthenware) is best paired with fluffy appams.
“Our kitchen is equipped to make cuisines including tandoori and pan-Asian. Most of the platters on the menu are our own recipes made in a fusion approach. We make in-house spice mixes and source our raw material from different boats who offer fresh produce,” says executive chef Sarin Varghese, who has had an industry experience of 18 years.
If you’re tempted to try their new fish burger, we’d simply drop a suggestion to not get experimental here and to try something naadan like the crab varattiyathu sporting a tomato tanginess. Their vattelappam which is continental in presentation yet has familiar flavours of roasted coconut and jaggery is an excellent sweet note to end any meal.
Open from noon to 11 pm.