Kerala Cafe at Baner, Pune (Find it on Maps)
Authentic Kerala food was a rarity till some time back, specifically in a place like Pune. There were always the local messes run by keralites to serve their brethren but they were almost always a very small unassuming outlet.
The few other who served some keralite dishes would run maximum to a appam and stew. Pune never had a restaurant like Koshy’s in Bengaluru. Kerala café kind of takes care of that shortcoming in a very modern way.
Kerala café has got it’s mojo and food both absolutely on target. I was being told about this wonderful place for the past few months and today I realised I was missing something.
Went there with family today. As it was a weekend, we had to wait for about 20 mins to get a table for 4. But, the wait was worth the dance of the flavours on the tongue.
Let me start with the mutton ghee roast. This piece is the gem of the place. Can I describe meat as being sensuous? You know what I mean? I started to tear the meat with fork but within seconds was using my hands to have the melt in your mouth lamb pieces covered in this fragrant mixture of coconut, red chillies, curry leaves, garlic and much more. Mutton ghee roast was sinful to the extent that I could compare it to a hot woman which made me drool over.
On the vegtarian front we started with the Paneer kurumulagittathu (pepper fry). The flavours in this of onion, coconut, slit whole green chillies, black pepper and of course curry leaves. Well this was a full five on five for the vegetarians.
For the main course we ordered chicken naadan curry, veg mappas, appam and porota with Kerala café sambar. The appams and porotas were perfect, to say the least. Large in size, so they were filling as well. Veg Mappas was a close veg stew replica. The only difference was possibly the yellow colour. Not very impressive but surely still much much better than the regular stews in the market.
The chicken curry was spiced enough with pepper and garam masalas. This could be had with appams or porotas.
We ordered for a bamboo biryani (yes it was vegetarian). Have heard a lot about the Kerala biryani but have never tasted one. This was served neatly in a bamboo stem and it was steaming with flavours.
Ended with a dessert of jaggery coconut custard. We were four of us sharing this and I thought… ..I did not want to share. I could fight with anyone to finish that alone.
Overall I think Kerala café fills that vacancy of an authentic Kerala restaurant in Pune. Need to try a lot of their other items on the menu. Surely taking visitors interested in Kerala food here.