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EAT + DRINK / Delhi / Restaurants
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Joey Matthew’s Kerala Express

by The India Tube

1 July 2013

An unexpected detour to Kerala, via Nehru Place.

The cavernous, climate-controlled confines of this metro stop now house a “food mall”, a great, gleaming slab that'll soon hold schmancy bars, American coffee, doughnut and teppenyaki chains, and a predictably chaotic food court.

Epicuria, which is what this food mall is called, is as yet unfinished, but once completed there’ll be 26 eating establishments sharing roof space. There’ll be lickety-split tableside teppenyaki and sushi from Benihana, and a Mediterranean detour via the Fio Cookhouse & Bar. Of course Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts are already up and running, but L’Opera, Gelato Roma and Smoothie Junction will soon follow suit, opening their doors in the month coming.

But it’s the food court that we headed to last evening, bypassing the counters of Moti Mahal, Sagar Ratna, KFC and Uncle Tom’s hot dogs to head straight to Joey Matthew’s Kerala Express.

You’ll find the proprietress, model, and television show host behind the counter at most times, ready and willing to assist with orders and brandishing long appam-dispensing arms. The menu is concise and is etched onto a chalkboard menu, promising Kerala staples like stews, appams and mutton chilly fry, as well as three thalis – meat, veg and fish.

Our fish thali was great, with one piece of fried fish, one portion of super-tangy fresh fish curry, another piquant curry with shrimp and drumstick, a cabbage thoran, and your choice of two appams or porotta. We also tried the mutton chilly fry, moreish and loaded with curry leaves, and a creamy chicken stew that coupled happily with appams that were both cloud-hued and textured.

Matthews has enlisted the help of three cooks from Kerala, and the flavours here are understated, home-style, and welcome relief from the usual food court swill. Next time we’ll be sampling the prawn and keema dosas, but until then, as we swim upstream against the afternoon slump, we’re thinking longingly of that sharp fish curry and our next visit to Nehru Place.