While my friend M thought of it as a very traditional joint where we would be served food on banana leaves and expected to eat without a spoon, I thought it was going to be some tiny worn out eatery or perhaps a dhaaba (which is why I hadn’t carried my SLR along). The only similarity in our thoughts being that food was going to be delicious. To begin with, we had a good laugh when we saw the restaurant. It turned out to be a normal family restaurant – nothing traditional (except for the traditional lungis being sold there at the entrance) or dhaaba-like about it.
The tiny restaurant, which is located at Samta crossroads, is indeed a bit worn out; it has around 9 tables all of which were fill with (pay attention) Gujarati families. Not a single south Indian in sight (contrary to what I had predicted because M had heard that this place is ‘unknown’ and only ‘south Indian guys at work go there and know about it’. I had gloriously gushed to my friends about this). One more reason to be embarrassed about.
The menu clearly corroborates Aramana to be an authentic Kerela food joint. The huge menu has, apart from the well known idlis, dosas and uttapas, vegetables cooked in Kerela style, thali and host of sweets. They suggest combo options for ignorant like us. For example, the traditional parantha can be clubbed with several chutneys, dips and sabzis that are listed there. We ordered for Appam with Ishtu (which is a curd based sabzi with potato, ginger). And Idi Appam with traditional Chana. Papadams to accompany (when it came, we finished it in 2 minutes). We decided to conclude the meal with filter coffee.
While we waited eagerly for food to arrive, because both of us were awfully hungry, I observed that everyone had ordered thalis. I looked greedily at them and decided to try it next time. The interiors, I observed, were done up simply with traditional Kathakali masks & elephant head-dresses hanging around carelessly.
The fresh, warm appams arrived with the sabzi in no time. We polished it off while chatting away to glory. I felt that the appams had a bit of a sour smell but teamed with the sabzi, it was quite good.
We delved into the Idi appams and chana with less fervour, the appams having fulfilled out initial hunger. While the chana, which was cooked in coconut base, was hot and spicy, the idi appams disappointed. I remember seeing idi appams in Dosa Diner many many years back in Bombay and from what I remember, the ‘noodles’ were thick. Maybe, a Keralite can guide me better in this. It could just be a personal choice that I wasn’t very pleased with these Idi Appams.
The biggest let down was the coffee. The look of it itself was non-appetizing. It was light brown. How can filter coffee be whitish? Clearly, it was full of water and sugar and very less coffee. Zero marks for it.
I would not judge Aramana on this one particular visit. I would like to go there again to try out their thali and a dosa or idli item.
Instead of coffee, I’ll just take rasam.