For those of you who know me well, I’m a Kochiite.
What that means is, if you put me anywhere else on the world map, I’ll find my way back to Kochi. Like your GPS, there’s a setting in my head that says “Take me to Kochi”.
To put it in context, imagine this.
I’m sitting at an authentic Japanese Sushi restaurant on Castro Street, Mountain View, CA enjoying a Tuna roll. My heart is weeping.
No, it’s not the Wasabi. I’m craving for some authentic Kerala food.
But I can’t show it on my face. So I pretend to like the Sushi roll, and gulp it down. Few plates down, I’m outta there. Stiff face and everything.
Being an NRI, living abroad, I’ve noticed that we desis have a common theme.
It’s like that SRK movie Swades. We might have that polished US accent and all that, and might be working with Elon Musk making the next space ship, but deep inside, we’re desi. Raw.
Chutney. Chaat, Chaawal. Roti. Biriyani. Laddu. Jalebi. You get the wind, don’t you?
Ok, back to Kochi. So, I’ve lived in Kochi for a good part of my life. School and all that. My best friends are all from Kochi. My favorite breakfast would be Appam.
But I’ve missed it a lot. Like terribly. Every time I come home for vacation and stuff, I see a sea change in the city.
More buildings. More traffic jams. Narrower roads. More SUVs. Oh, wait.
Yes, Kochi has been growing rapidly in the last few years like any other small city in India. And she surprises me every time I visit her. It’s unlike the cities in US.
They are pretty much the same from the last ten years or so. May be you’ll spot a few new Teslas on the roads, but that’s about it. Kochi? No. Yuuuuge!
Why did I fall in love with her again?
So, you might be thinking “Meh, you and your Kochi story…. what’s happening now?”.
Well, I’ve fallen in love with her again Romeo. And love anytime is special isn’t it?
It is. I’ll tell you why. It’s a little personal. So hear me up.
When you think of Kochi, what comes to your mind?
Some boats, Chinese fishing nets, fish market?
You’re fucking absolutely right. Kochi has always been a small town. With it’s own unique flavour. A melting pot of different religions and ethnicities, it’s got a tangy flavor to it, that’ll remain in your mouth for ever.
And there’s a place in Kochi that I’ve always loved. The Marine Drive, and the waterfront there.
Well, all my childhood, that’s where me and my friends would hang out. Movies, food, gossip you know… It’s like Juhu beach to a Mumbaikar.
And I’ve always dreamt of owning a piece of land there and building up my water front villa, where I’d wake up to the sun rise everyday and sip my wine down on sunset.
No, I’m not getting into real estate.
‘Cos, the first time I saw it, I heard a loud thud. Me falling down in love. Again.
I mean look at this.
I mean, I could trade a limb for getting a piece of this. <3 <3
It’s been only a month since Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty opened in the city. I take pride in saying that I’ve tried a lot of best places in Kochi, but nothing like this.
On to your right, you have this awesome view of the Vembanad Lake with the horizon in front of you, the ships, boats and the little islands garlanding Kochi!
And to your left, you have the beautiful skyline of Kochi, where you can see almost all of the city. Here…
The Food – It’s Dope!
Food in Kerala is poison. The kind that will get you down to your kneels for another shot. Once you have it, you will crave for it another time.
You can’t let it go. It’ll get you addicted. (It might leave your tongue burning though.)
When my friends across borders talk about Kerala cuisine, the typical stuff always comes up.
Appam – Chicken Stew. Puttu – Kadala. Idli – Sambhar. Dosa – Chutney. See I got your mouth watering.
While I love typical Kerala cuisine, I felt it has always been limited.
Devoid of experiments. Devoid of fun.
And I love to experiment, try something new, get a few bruises, find a gem at the end. Fun, isn’t it?
So, let me ask you….
Colony Clubhouse & Grill. What comes to your mind?
Some boring cuisine with dishes inspired from the Indian colonial era? Well, you’re partly right. Except the boring part.
I happened to meet Chef Prakash, head chef of the restaurant. He almost blew my mind. Reason? Well, they’re doing something really innovative here. I love it when people do things out of the box.
They are embracing something that is not very typical of a five star hotel. Which is, creating a sustainable model where they use locally sourced produces to create international cuisine.
I talked to the chef to know what it is and if this is actually a gimmick. I could tell from his passion that this was indeed a struggle, a challenge they overtook, to actually create an impact on the locals, and perhaps give back to the community in a way.
He was talking about how he had trouble convincing the local fishermen to give him the best of their produce or get the local farmers to start farming the local variety crops, which was apparently much less in demand. And they have a kitchen where they’re building something very experimental, creating the best of colonial cuisine using locally available produce.
I think they didn’t have to do it, but the fact that they’re actually implementing it, deserves an applause.
A New Kochi – More Exciting, More Fun.
And Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty isn’t the only thing new to the city. It just happened to be a good measure of how far Kochi has grown.
There’s many new interesting activities that has come up in Kochi. Super fancy water front apartments, Para gliding, Scuba diving and what not. It’s exciting than ever.
I’ve fallen in love with her again. <3
My pursuit to find and enjoy cool things in Kochi, just got an upgrade. This was a nice start!
What ya think?