Chef Rejimon of Crowne Plaza, takes you on a spectacular gastronomic voyage
A traditional Vallam (canoe) laden with sacks of vibrant spices and grains captures one’s attention as you enter the Trilogi restaurant at Crowne Plaza. Step in further and you will find the customary stone grinders, beautiful bharanis (ceramic jars) and winnowing sieves – each article belonging to a bygone era. Yet, it seemed to be blending in with this new setting in an almost mystical old world charm. Trilogi symbolises the culinary journey through Kerala – right from the frontiers of Malabar to the ends of Travancore, in the quest for authentic delicacies. Chef Rejimon, a Kerala cuisine connoisseur and the Senior Sous Chef at Crowne Plaza, takes RITZ on a spectacular
gastronomic voyage showcasing the true essence and sensual flavours of Kerala.
Text: Riya Sonny Datson
Photography: Anoop Ajay
Every nook and corner of the state hosts a Kerala cuisine restaurant, so what makes Trilogi unique? “We travelled extensively from one end of the state to the other and we realised that there were very few authentic restaurants that served specialities of Malabar, Kochi and Travancore under one roof. And that’s exactly what we offer here. The very name ‘Trilogi’ was inspired from this concept,” explains Chef who has been in the hospitality industry for 25 years. But then again, we wonder how different can the menu be and how does Trilogi engage its guests? “Innovation is the key!” he smiles. “Through our extensive journey across Kerala, we explored variousingredients, styles of cooking and secret ancestral recipes that were literally culinary treasures. After extensive trials and experiments, we adopted some of these styles and fine-tuned recipes that resulted in the authentic yet exotic menu that we have now. To us, customer is king and we make no compromises about the variety, quality or service.”
Chef escorts us to the restaurant where we are served, the star among the starters, the ‘Seafood Thenga Pal’ soup! The rich creamy soup with small chunks of seafood was the perfect concoction of the subtle flavours of coconut, spices and seafood. The spicy grilled prawn skewers served as an accompaniment, thoughtfully complimented the soup. The ‘Meen Thappu Vekkal’ follows – a traditional Kannur sardine preparation. Chef reveals that this is an ancestral family recipethat he discovered during his culinary travels. The sardines marinated with flavoursome masala is cooked after wrapping it in banana leaf; the process lends a distinctive flavour and texture to the fish.
The ‘Aatirachi Vendaka’ is served next. This exotic dish has mutton cooked with spices, onions and tomatoes forming a semi gravy that is typical Kerala style. The fried ladies finger and succulent mutton is not a combination that we come across often but yet, together, the textures and the flavours scored a perfect ten on ten! “The ‘Muringa Kandhari Pothirachi’ is a hot favourite among guests. The delicacy that has its roots in the traditional Nasrani Kitchen, originally used Pork in the recipe and the skin of the Muringa (drumstick) was added to tone down the fat. People were health conscious back then and all the ingredients used were done thoughtfully and for a purpose,” explains Chef. Kandhaari, the native green chilli of Kerala is spicy and lends a robust flavour to the preparation. The tender meat though spicy has a lingering flavour that would complement chapatis or parathas perfectly.
Chef Rejimon who hails from Vechoor has always had a passion for cooking. He recalls childhood memories of the time when he was in awe of the delicacies prepared at the Toddy Shaaps at Kottayam and Kumarakom. “I was fascinated by the food they served and always dreamt of being able to cook like them,” he grins. Just as he finishes,his signature dish, the Idiyappam Chemmeen Biriyani makes its grand entry! A visual treat by itself, the Biriyani is served with strips of pappad, raita and pickle as is customary. Idiyappam (string hoppers), made from powdered rice is usually a part of the breakfast menu in Kerala. But the combination of the Biriyani prawn masala sandwiched inside the Idiyappam was indeed a master stroke! The dish has become so popular that celebrities personally place the order with Chef before they arrive. An absolute must have by all means! The 80 seater fine dining restaurant offers an a la carte menu and is a popular destination for foreigners and natives alike who cherish the cuisine. “We customise the menu for our customers depending on their choice of ingredients or spices. We offer vegetarian, gluten free and vegan options for our guests.” Amused by the variety and quality of cooking, I am curious to know what his inspiration is. “My grandmother had a small tea shop in the middle of a paddy field. She
was a great cook and she used to make traditional specials like Kerala meals, Kappa Meen curry, Ethakkapam and so on. Looking back now, I feel I have inherited her talents and she has been my inspiration,” he smiles.
A meal can never be complete without dessert! And yes, for the grand finale, a traditional Kollam speciality snack, the ‘Nenthra Pazham Velayichathu’ is served. Fried ripe bananas sautéed in sugar and semolina and served with grated coconut, nuts and raisins! Sweet, crunchy and richly nostalgic! To sum up, Trilogi is the ultimate destination to experience Kerala’s culinary best!
On the menu:
- An exotic starter: Kappa Chemmeen Cutlet
- A celebrity favourite: Manju Warrier – Idiyappam Chemmeen Biriyani
- High on popularity: Kandhaari Chicken
- Foreigner’s special: Kozhi Olan (Veg & Nonveg combo)
- An innovation: Pineapple Rasam
- Malabar speciality: Chicken Kakka Roti.