Team Y’s hungry horde head for a taste of God’s Own Country and dig into the dishes that Kerala gave the world.
We smell beef being fried even before we can see it. We are standing in front of Ananthapuri Restaurant taking deep breaths. For a moment we can’t help but think we are actually in Kerala. At least, that’s what this restaurant reminds us of.
Located in Darsait, Ananthapuri Restaurant is widely popular among the Keralite community in the Sultanate.
TripAdvisor has rated it as the best authentic Keralite restaurant in Oman. Even the name itself is Keralite: Ananthapuri is the old name of Thiruvananthapuram, the Indian state’s capital.
The front view of the restaurant is stunning as it resembles a traditional Kerala house, with ornate interiors that remind you of some of the abodes you might find in ‘God’s Own Country’, as India’s tourist board likes to persuade us it is (we heartily agree)..
There are reproductions of an old coffee shop (chayakada), a post office, a sports club, and a bus stop. All these have been painstakingly put together, with rich and painstaking details and thoughtful touches.
The restaurant looks crowded even on a Sunday evening. As we wander through, a waiter comes over to help us find a table. Our waiter, Jijo, is courteous and friendly. As a gesture, he brings us watermelon juice and hands us our menus.
The menu focuses on food that Keralites are passionate about, from the well-known beef fry to lesser-known items such as mutton fry and fish masala.
As the saying goes, the people of Kerala have an irresistible love for Porotta (delicate, flaky bread) and spicy curries, such as beef or chicken curry.
So, we go straight to the main course and opt for Porotta and Kadamattam Kozhi (chicken) masala. We also pick Kappa (Tapioca) with Meen Curry (Kingfish curry) and Irachi Puttu. Jijo brings us the food in five minutes.
The tapioca is grandly presented on a banana leaf, and the Kingfish curry is served in a clay pot, as the diners of yesteryear would have witnessed on many an occasion.
We try the Kappa and Meen Curry first. It’s a classic Kerala dish, cooked perfectly and one that goes fine with the fish curry. We try the traditional Kerala Porotta and Kadamattam Kozhi Masala. Our Kerala Porottas are appropriately flaky and complement the Kozhi Masala, which is just yummy.
Irachi Puttu is our favourite, and is just delicious. Puttu is a popular breakfast dish in Kerala that is made from steamed cylinders of ground rice layered with coconut and stuffed with beef.
“Most people in Kerala cook Puttu for breakfast. It’s an easy preparation and can be served with any curry,” explains Jijo. Food nostalgia is all about reliving the experience of food and its memories.
We are reliving those moments here at Ananthapuri Restaurant.
For us, there’s a lot to like about this restaurant, and of course, much of it has to do with its food and the exquisite interior.
If you’re looking for an authentic Kerala restaurant in Oman then this is the one.
Near Modern Nursery in Darsait
Opening hours: 12pm to 11pm
Contact: (+968) 24781212
Dinner for two: RO6.200
A great restaurant with value for money.
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