Hotel Forte Kochi looks every bit inviting right from its facade and stepping in can seem irresistible. I was glad I did, as I entered the Jetty Restaurant of the heritage hotel. Lucky to have entered during the ongoing ‘Kallu Shaapu Food Fest’ (till August 31st), I was in for some delightful authentic ‘kallu shaapu – toddy shop’ delicacies.

The hotel facadet that transports you into the Dutch era
Jetty Restaurant seating

Arriving for lunch, Prasanth and I ordered Island Cooler and Passion Fruit Mojito to cool down from the warm sunny day that was a break from the incessant rains. Both the drinks were refreshing coolants, while being a joy to even look at!

Island Cooler and Passion Fruit Mojito

Coming to the main course, we had Chemmeen Vazhayila Pidi Kizhi and Meen Manga Curry with Kerala Porotta. The Chemmeen Vazhayila Pidi Kizhi was an absolute favourite, coming delicately wrapped in banana leaves. It was semi-dry, nice and spicy, with the prawns cooked well. The spicy flavours were an immense pleasure upon the taste buds. The Meen Manga Curry came in a traditional earthen pot. Tender Sear Fish dunked in a thick gravy of coconut and raw mango pieces was amazingly flavoursome. We finished off the appetising fare with some dessert of Apple and Raisin Pie With Honey Nut Icecream and Chocolate Brownie with Ice Cream. It was indeed a most satisfying and scrumptious feast.

The specialty of the Kallu Shaapu Fest is the authenticity of the Kallu Shaapu Recipes that are being recreated by an actual Kallu Shaapu chef that the hotel have brought in. That is a commendable move by the hotel and it has certainly paid off well.

Top left: Pappad, Kerala Porotta, Meen Manga curry, and Chemmeen Vazhayila Pidi Kizhi (clockwise from 3 ‘o’ clock); Bot left: Apple and Raisin Pie With Honey Nut Icecream; Right: Food fest poster

No meal is complete without the service and the staff was really warm and courteous. The ambiance of the restaurant, though originally set up in a vintage colonial feel, in line with the rest of the hotel, has been touched up for the Kallu Shappu Fest with a small thatched shack displaying the special menu. The festive fervour is added to by the staff who are dressed in local lungi and tshirt as well, which was indeed an amusing sight.

Don’t miss this lip-smacking fare going on. We will certainly return to try out the regular menu, that looks equally promising, as well!