Are you planning a trip to Kochi, India? If so, you’ve got to try Cheenavala! This is an outstanding seafood restaurant right in the heart of Kochi (Cochin). The restaurant celebrates the amazing seafood that is caught locally. Dine here and you are in for a real treat.
My wife Caroline and I were taken there by our friend, Jomon Kuriakose. Jomon is the Chef de Cuisine and Lalit, London and also originally from Kerala. Luckily we were in the city the same time he was and he wanted to show us some of the best food Kochi had to offer. His friend Rahul Krishnan Muttumpuram is the Executive Chef and as you will see from the photos that follow, he really knows his stuff.
Upon arrival, we were given a tour of the restaurant and kitchen. I have to say I was very impressed. The catch of the day isn’t hidden away like at most restaurants. The freshly caught seafood is on ice and you can actually choose which fish you want to have cooked for you. Before making our way into the kitchen, we chose red snapper, and two fish that are difficult to find in the UK, pomfret and pearl spot. I have seen pomfret in London and online but it’s expensive and frozen. Nothing like the quality you get at Cheenavala.
Caroline and I had never tried pearl spot before but after trying it we could see why it’s so popular all over Kerala. The fish was cooked to perfection. It might look spicy hot but all the spices worked so well with the fish. Wrapped in banana leaf and finished in a tawa, the flavours were out of this world. I can’t wait to go back and try this one again.
In my opinion, no visit to Cheenavala is complete without trying the blackened red snapper and pomfret!
After devouring one of the most amazing seafood meals we had ever experienced, we learned that we weren’t finished yet! Out from the kitchen came a mixed seafood curry that had been stuffed into bamboo and then cooked in the tandoor. Guess what!.. I got the recipe for this too and you are going to love it. Watch this space. Thank you Chef!
All of this was followed by a colourful and incredibly tasty seafood and veggie thali served with Keralan papadum (they are better than we get in the UK) and Keralan rice. Talk about a memorable experience! Cheenavala is a seafood lover’s dream. I highly recommend a visit to Cheenavala if you find yourself in Kochi. You can find more details here. By the way, you will need to book as it’s not easy to get a table. So be sure to plan ahead!