If I must forgo my much-craved sleep, ignore my bedside book and allow the deep snores of my husband sleeping next to me, and yet carry a smile on my face, I must be a happy girl. And the reason behind my wholesome joy is a) good food in general and b) Calicut Notebook in specific.
Located in Deira, Calicut Notebook has attained an incredible degree of popularity just within 2 months of their starting. Hearsay and the general attraction to anything edible made me hunt the place down with my family and step in for some dinner. The welcome page of the menu promised us a ride through the Malabar-mopla cuisine, and we were honestly more than happy to embark on it!
The ride started with their PAZHASSI SALAD. A special set of leaves, imported all the way from Malaysia, was kept alongside portions of finely chopped onions, red chillies, ginger, fried coconut chops, peanuts and some sweet honey sauce. We were supposed to fill the leaf with a mix of all these sides, wrap it as a parcel and munch on it at once. There was the hot spiciness of the chilies & onions and a splash of sweetness of the honey sauce all at once. Such a never-before experience to kick-start the meal with!
Fruits in yoghurt came next. Fresh fruits like mangoes, apples and more were mixed in a yoghurt based dressing. By the time, we downed it, we were surprised to see a special mocktail heading our way. The “Green Fire” was a spicy refreshing drink of orange juice mixed with lime juice, with some ginger, red chilies and coriander leaves added to it. The drink literally bombed in our mouth and prepared us for the out-of-ordinary Malabari cuisine we were going to step into!
The “Naadan Chicken Soup” was another blast from the Spice-land. It was pepper, curry leaves, onions, chicken and some more pepper! The perfect hot soup you crave for when you have a cold, or when you want to give your tongue a zing.
What came next, stumped us. They called it “Grilled Prawns on Avocado”, though it came on cucumber. Who cares about what went wrong with the name, when you have a dish as pretty looking as this one in a budget Malabari restaurant! The dish was a showstopper in itself and tasted like heaven too.
Ever heard of Pandanas Chicken? I hadn’t. So when they brought us a dish with seemingly knotted up leaves of some kind, I was extremely intrigued. Apparently, pandanas is a kind of leaf and Pandanas Chicken is served in Calicut Notebook in a funky knotted up fashion. We had to remove the knot, open the parcel and dig into the chicken inside. True to their word, the leaf had evidently given the chicken a lovely flavor that got perfectly accentuated with the chili-based sauce that was given on the side.
Next, we welcomed the “Kaandaari Tikka”. That was spiciness in all its glory. I assume the normal chicken tikka was given a makeover session with the kaandaari chili, of traditional keralite cuisine. Any which way, the result was phenomenal. Topped with some nice mint chutney given alongside, this starter rocked my boat.
There were more goodies to follow. The Lemon-pepper Grilled Pomfret was appetizing to even look at. Presented in the shape of the pomfret fish, yet, grilled and sliced to just melt inside your mouth, this was not spicy, but had the old charms of a good lemon-pepper coating.
The lack of hotness we experienced with the pomfret was offset by the “Tawa Grilled Squid” that followed. Squid grilled to a succulent spicy semi-gravy form was delicious to say the least.
The starters had come to an end. We were exhausted, but unperturbed. After the incredible starters we downed, we were excited to see what was in store for the main courses! It was an eating spree, and a successful one at that.
We ordered half a portion of Chicken Biriyani (sadly mutton biriyani was finished for the day), some “Appams” and some “Puttu”. As sides, we settled on a “Chatti Curry” (a special type of fish curry) and asked them to bring a portion of Chicken Fry of some sort.
The Chicken biriyani turned out to be delightful, in par with any other Malabari restaurants in Dubai. The Appam was perfect and the Puttu was taken out of the steamer right next to our plate- onto our plate! The Chatti was rightly brought from Kerala and looked gorgeous. The Chatti Curry was a coconut based fish curry mixed with mango slices and tasted like pairs made in heaven, when had with the Appams and the Puttu. They brought to us the “Korathi Chicken” which was an absolute cracker to end the maincourse with. Korathi Chicken was made from Spring Chicken and was so tender and juicy that my mental marks for the restaurant had tripled by the time I finished the final piece of chicken.
I was almost full and I had to see the geniuses behind this fusion venture. After ordering the recommended Banana Crepe for dessert, I requested to meet the wizards in the kitchen to convey some well deserved appreciation.
Though a tad camera shy, I even convinced them to join me for a picture together- evidence of meeting such efficient chefs capable of incredible creativity!
Thanks to Chef Raju, Sunil, Vijith and Shaju, my tummy is a joyfully stuffed place, my palate is a satisfied zone and I’m a happy girl!
Calicut Notebook is located in the AbooBacker Al Siddique Road in Deira, Dubai. (adjacent to United Supermarket)
+971 562043326 , +971 42653336.
A walking epitome of food-lust, permanently craving for chicken, cheese & chocolates of all and every form. A marketing and content writing professional living in Dubai with my husband, who has learnt to be the perfect side-kick in food explorations around the world. If you find me raiding the fridge at ungodly hours, I'm just inspiring my tummy.
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