“You should try Kayra in TTDI. My husband and I love going there.”
A friend of mine told me that over lunch not too long ago, when the subject of Indian food came up. She’s been to a few of the places I recommended and since my knowledge in Indian cuisine isn’t as vast, I took her word for it and paid Kayra a visit with Jien and another two friends.
From what I gathered, Kerala cuisine is a marriage of spices from Indians, Muslims and Christians and coconut is widely used. Service at Kayra is friendly and if you’re as new to Kerala food as I am, the staff are more than happy to assist with your food order.
We started off with the Kerala Dahi Puri (RM11), topped with yogurt and tamarind dressing. This is a moreish snack; crispy puri topped with sev and a bit of coriander for colour. I wasn’t as crazy over the Squid Peera (RM17) where squid rings are cooked with spices and grated coconut till tender and flavourful. That said, it makes a good sharing starter.
The Meen Pollichatthu (RM49) came highly recommended by our waiter – you get a whole seabass marinated with Keralan spices and grilled in banana leaf. This was good stuff. The fish was beautifully cooked; aromatic and redolent of spices. Be careful of the fish bones as you’ll want to clean out the fish as much as possible, I assure you.
Delia’s Chicken Stew (RM22) isn’t as robust as the fish but it had its own unique set of spices and flavours. It’s creamy and milder in flavour, with tender chicken pieces; ideal for those who aren’t big on spicy food. You’ll want white rice to go with this.
I rather enjoyed the Mutton Ollathiathu (RM33), a dry stir-fry of boneless mutton chunks cooked in coconut and spices will tender and flavourful. There’s plenty of aroma from the curry leaves and dried chillies, and I like how the mutton pieces have a good balance of meat and fat.
Jien likes the Mushroom Ulartiyath (RM20), a dry stir-fry of mushrooms, onions, coconut slivers and Keralan spices. The mushrooms are tender, meaty and sweet from the onions – really good with appam (RM7).
For dessert, try the Sweet Appam (RM7) with salted Gula Melaka. The sides are crispy and the appam has a fluffy, creamy centre from the coconut milk. I like how the Gula Melaka complements the pancake as you get a bit of salty notes to balance out the creamy sweetness of the appam.
Vattalappam (RM15) is said to be a Keralan version of cream caramel and it happens to be a popular dessert option at Kayra. It looks just like cream caramel but with more air pockets, and topped with grated coconut and caramel syrup.
Portions are smaller than we like it to be – we ordered plenty of dishes but all the above was only just enough for four pax. Dinner came up to about RM250 inclusive of drinks. Good food, but I could use larger portions.
Food: 7/10 (pork-free)
Verdict: The Meen Pollichatthu, Mutton Ollathiathu and Dahi Puri are a must-order.