Posted by: Kappa | July 12, 2007

The Foodie’s Guide to IIMK

For over a decade, intrepid foodies from K have explored Calicut city in search of the Perfect Evening out. These quests have taken them to both well-known establishments and previously undiscovered gems in the by-lanes of the city, on journeys of gastronomical discovery. The Foodie’s Guide is a collection of experiences from this merry band of adventurers – in their own words.

Read on! (Here are Part 2 and Part 3 of the Guide.)

Sheeba D’Mello’s Lonely Planet Guide to eating out

Mezbaan – One of the best places around for Butter Chicken. Has the benefit of being closer and less expensive than most places in the city. And the food is good! Ambience is also decent. Not very flashy, more of a ‘family’ place. Not good for large numbers. 4-6 people would be the ideal number. Recommended cuisine – Mughlai food. The continental food is passable.

Seaqueen+Cappuchino/Chikbake – This is a combo treat. First you go in a noisy group to Seaqueen. Preferably on bikes, suits the mood better. Grab one of the side tables (by which I mean a table that lets you see the stars and the waves). Then you order and make a lot of noise. This is one of the favorite hangouts of the boozers… but you ought to ask someone else about that. Then after spending a lot of time in dim lighting and shady company, you pay up and ride around to Chikbake or Cappuchino. Get a takeaway icecream and cross the roadto the seaside. Then watch the stars while hogging ice cream. Then ride back to college.

The experience is the best of it. Stars, waves and candlelight… If you go early enough for the sunset, it is a sight worth seeing. The food is nothing spectacular. The crowd can be shady. But these are the evenings that memories are made of.

Broast – The best place to go for a quick dinner, when you are sick of the mess food and don’t have the time or the transport to get anywhere else. The ground floor is cheaper and is usually full of the natives. The first floor has AC and is generally empty. And each order here costs 5 bucks more. It is good to take a malyali along, just in case. The food is quite good, but not for regular consumption. Like most places, they believe in the ethic of oilier the better. Not much for vegetarians here. Recommended Cuisine – Shawarma Roll, Kababs, Kerala Paratha.

Shangrila – Take a trip to the other side. Shangrila is comparable to Mezbaan on prices, but portions are smaller and the food is not as good. But it has the benefit of generally being empty. Good for an occasional dinner. When coming back, try to pass by the Milma road.

Hitesh Sharma’s Veggie Survival Guide

For all the gastronomic pleasure that the Kozhikode’s seafood provides, this city is a nightmare for a vegetarian. When accompanying our friends, (who are usually staunch non-vegetarians) all a poor veggie can do is order tomato soup, paneer butter masala and naan. And when this food bills you over 200, you realise the unfairness of it all. Going to ‘smaller’ places is worse, for they rarely provide one anything more than Kerala parottas with boiled peas.

However time would tell you about small Gujju/Maadu run shacks that serve good veggie fare. The first that comes to my mind is the (now venerable) Rajasthani Bhojanalaya. Close to the railway station, this small, dingy and somewhat unhygenic place would first seem very unwelcoming. However the food here more than makes up for it. Serving traditional Rajasthani food, its Daal-Baati-Churma is as authentic as it could get in a land that can barely pronounce the name. The jaadi roti is even better. But one word of warning – the liberal use of ghee can derail months of diet plans!

Lovely is another haven for the veggie. On the road leading to NIT Calicut, this is a clean, quaint little place run by a Gujarati grandfather and his family. The food is very simple and there lies its beauty – the Alu-ki-Subzi, Chole and Phulka would remind you that our mess is going wrong big time. In the evenings they are prepare chaats, samosa among others, but the selection is limited and changes every day. Do have a lassi when there – its really good!

Dakshin is one of the few vegetarian, upscale restaurants in Calicut. Located in Mavoor road, there is little ‘dakshin’ about it for it serves all kinds of food. Food there is not something to talk town about, but it is a better place to take your vegetarian girlfriend that Lovely and the Bhojanalaya can ever be!

Jayesh Jagasia on Broast

Broast is like the rock in the messy sea. The unfailing red glow sign at the bottom of the hill is a source of much succour and hope to men and women troubled by the occasional (!) blip in the quality of food in the mess. Stories float around that when Broast had shut its shutters for a complete overhaul, half the campus had gone into irreparable depression.

Broast is a mere hop (on to the bike), skip (dinner) and jump (down the hill) away. And yet, Broast is not like your run-of-the-mill dhaba outside any college. Broast has attitude. It didn’t bother about hungry students or slipping market share figures when it shut shop for three months. Broast has so much attitude that it has invented its own language (loosely based on English) – Schwan Chicken is from some place in China (Broast couldn’t care less), and Gopi is something that grows in the ground and can be turned into manchurian (also somewhere in China).

Broast is eccentric – it does not believe in the consistency of its recipe. You can have three different butter chickens on three consecutive days, each with its distinct aroma, flavour and personality. And enjoy all of them in equal measure. Broast serves red chicken, pink water and brown gopi.

Komrades have Broast accounts (and secret biometric membership cards). Some will fast-unto-death if Broast shuts down. The Broast Brotherhood is the most tightly-bound (and the most secretive) club on campus. They go out for parties every third full-moon night. At Broast.

Broast is like the friend who never bothers you, but is always only two steps behind (or down, in this case) in case things start to get ugly. And they sometimes do get ugly pretty rapidly. Once in a (seldom) while, the rotis become leather-ier than ever before, the dal tastes like water, water tastes like egg, and potatoes don’t taste at all, Broast is always there.

Sahil Goyal on Chicking

Order it. Eat it. Forget it. That’s what junk food’s all about and that’s exactly what Chicking offers you!

A single-line review of Chicking would be that that it is a carbon-copy of the better-known KFC and in Calicut if someone can get even half of what KFC offers, it’s definitely worth every penny. In a nutshell, Chicking is Kozhikode’s apnaa KFC.

The menu has few choices, but most of them are quite decent ones. In case you are a Veggie the menu ends even before it starts. Apart from staple French Fries and Veg Burger/Veg Cheese Burger it does offer a few token variations: Rice, salad Burger and Veg nuggets.

While a Zinger Burger or a Veg Burger would be best when ordered for smaller gatherings, the Royal Chicken Baskets are the perfect recipe for hostel parties.

The place is just a few hundred metres from the Mavoor Road junction. The ambience is just like any other fast food outlet. Feasts at Chicking inevitably end with a sundae/ double scoop icecream treats at the Baskin Robbins right next door.

Dal-Roti lovers stay away, because this is a place specifically for fast food lovers (well, the food does not arrive all that fast). In case you’ve ordered home delivery it takes almost 2 hours. (Yes they do deliver to Kampus – contact the Chicking CoCo at room B32 for details!)

(The original Chicking CoCo was Prasanta Saha of PGP09. That noble responsibility now rests with Mayank Gupta of PGP10, who has adroitly kept the tradition alive. More on this incredible piece of Kampus culture in a future post! – Kappa)

A PGP09-er on Gayatri International Bar & Restaurant

Among the many elements of Kampus culture that we have already lost -well within the first decade of our existence – the most distressing would be binges at specially negotiated Happy Hour rates at the bar in Taj Residency. Reliable sources say said negotiations were executed and resulting benefits enjoyed on a wide scale – all without involvement of an elected KMercs. At any rate, by 2005, the bulk of the off-campus alcohol consumption business from K had been cornered by Sea Queen. The enlightened founding members of Kindred Spirits were unhappy with this situation, and went looking for alternate watering holes that were lighter on the pocket. We quickly realized options were very few, and our search culminated in the identification of Gayathri International. However we didn’t visit it too many times because one prominent founder member of Kindred Spirits gave up alcohol abuse for good…

Conveniently located just off the main road, right opposite Baskin Robbins near Baby Memorial, it is difficult to miss (if you know what you’re looking for). Gayathri is unlike any bar you’ll find in a larger city. The place has the feel or an airport hangar, with its roughly finished floor and high ceiling. If you spend a lot of time in Gayathri and then return to your hostel room, you’d feel claustrophobic. It’s HUGE. It’s dark. It’s hot. But then it’s inexpensive. They have a good veggie and non-veg menu, but the food is not great. They also have a large number of attendants, but service is not great either. They usually have some music playing, but not the kind that’ll leave any lasting impression. For example, I can’t remember what they were playing the only time I was there, and it’s got nothing to do with my memory.

To sum it all up, Gayathri is one of the few options you have if you want to go out and have an inexpensive drink. Worth a visit.

(This PGP09er was a founding member of Kindred Spirits, a most venerable club on Kampus. More on this in a separate post! – Kappa)

Aditya Patil on Sea Queen

The very mention of the name Sea Queen has been reliably known to have sent our alcohol-loving friends into the “glassy eyes with open salivating mouth” syndrome. I always thought Sea Queen, although revered by many, wouldn’t be much of a place for an absolute teetotaler like me. The USP of the place, it seems, is that one can let the spirits flow without worrying about the consequent cash outflows. It is, therefore, as our fin Gods would tell us, a positive-NPV venture. Somehow or the other, maybe because of the image that the patrons of this eating establishment carried on campus, I had always thought of it as a dark, dingy place with skimpily clad waitresses serving members of the local mafia.

Sea Queen, as I pleasantly discovered on my first visit, is a respectable place with fully clothed men working as waiters. By virtue of being a terrace restaurant overlooking the scenic Calicut beach, it can be dark at times, but in a cozy and warm sort of way. There is an air-conditioned section for those who prefer to dine indoors, and avoid the company of blood sucking mosquitoes (which will invariably accompany you in the outdoors section). On a more serious note, the food is decent (don’t miss the crispy chicken!) and reasonably priced. If you don’t drink, you can expect to spend around Rs. 200 on a full course, soup to desserts meal.

Happy Eating!

Beena Venugopalan on the Taj Residency

(In)famously, the most profitable Taj in Southern India thanks to the mid/endterm over and done with-regional-or-whatever-partying students and companies-recruiting from God’s own IIM. Well, who wouldn’t want to treat oneself to the mouthwatering desserts (creamy fruit truffle, melting Chocolate Mousse, Baked Alaska, rich Gajar Halwa to name but a few), the exotic salads and a decent main course for a nominal amount of Rs 275 ? All this in a class ambience that gives the would-be corporates a feel of good things to come!

To bring novelty to the experience, there are Food Fests at regular intervals- Sea Food, Punjabi, Biryani to name a few. The 24-hour coffee shop is another regular haunt of those seeking a cuppa coffee and club sandwiches at 3am; usually after a drive along the Calicut beach cooling off the heat of last minute submissions. The Ayurvedic Centre, which offers stress busting therapy,is another indulgence. From ribbing freshers to heart-wrenching farewells – the Taj Residency Calicut occupies a special place in the heart of every IIMK-ite!

Jeannette Marsh on Mezbaan

If you want a genuine Calicut-restaurant experience, I suggest you skip Mezbaan. For the food here is neither overpriced nor is the service so slow that your starters reach you at dessert time. And since value for money and speedy service in Calicut is generally associated with seedy side-joints, Mezbaan pleasantly surprises you with its elegant ambience. Why isn’t it more popular than it is now, you ask? That’s the problem with Mezbaan, it meanders in mediocrity. Neither bad enough to be reviled nor good enough to go into effusive paroxysms, the food is just about ordinary. “What’s in a name?” asks the chef, “A chicken dish by any other name would look as red and taste as spicy”. There is though one chicken dish that looks white and tastes different – Bellisimo! If for no other reason but for variety, do try it – I think it’s called Chicken Shahi Afghani. The restaurant also has some good Caramel Custard.

Do remember though, not many auto-drivers know of its existence, so get hold of some clear directions before venturing there.

Amar Shroff on ITC Fortune

Located in the heart of the city ITC fortune hotel happens to be one of the best restaurants in Calicut. Perfect ambience, quality service levels and awesome food happen to be its hallmarks. Apart from the regular cuisines, its menu figures a huge variety of non-veggie food (including a variety of sea food) and is a must go for every non-veggie connoisseur. The food standards are a quite comparable to Taj Calicut, but are a bit on the economical side

The best time to be at Fortune is Saturday evening when it has its famous “Saturday Buffet”. The ambience during this time is simple electric. Apart from the enthralling music, the mouth watering cuisine will make sure that you don’t stop at the second helping. And what more, it’s absolutely affordable. The evening is best enjoyed when in a group. People looking for a quite time together are advised to go on some other day of the week.

On the whole ITC Fortune is perhaps one of the best places to spend your evening with your pals.

Prasanna Bora on Lovely Dhaba

You are at the dinner table, sitting with your friends. You glance through the menu and hunt for the three letter word to the left. Well not THAT three letter word you pervert, its ‘VEG’. And if you do manage to find one among the chickens, the muttons, the beefs and more, you made your choice because you have none. Not the case at Lovely Dhaba. The moment you see the board with the ‘Veg Restaurant’ claimer, as a veggie, you almost feel like a king. Simply put, Lovely Dhaba is a household kitchen extended into a restaurant (well, almost). As the ladies cook inside, the men of the Sindhi/Kutchi family (probaby the only one in Calicut) take orders and serve you well. The best time to go to Lovely Dhaba would be during lunch hours. The menu for lunch is usually fixed, but if you are in a group of 10, you would do good to call them up and requst for a special lunch menu.

As the taste is closer to homely food, most items on the menu would not disappoint you. Do try out the raita, the lassi and channa. What I liked the most about the place was that chappatis are served hot, steamy and soft and that just makes you relish the food even more. For the next few days, the chappatis in the mess might just tempt you to go back to lovely. The lunch is served in unconventional portions of cups (katoris) and not bowls, hence refills are rather tempting. In the evenings, the place serves snacks like bhel puri, sev puri apart from milk shakes and juices. You are better off trying the NIT canteen for snacks that lovely. Limited seating, forgetful ambience, primitve ordering and billing systems are other features of Lovely. Go there for the food and nothing but the food.

A word of caution: Do not attempt to attend a lecture after Lovely on a lazy afternoon. I had a narrow escape; rest assured that you would be napping happily after the meal.

Mayank Gupta on Dakshin – the Veg

Dakshin – the Veg! This name is a complete misnomer – no no… We aren’t saying that it doesn’t give veg food… but when you come across the menu card, you think that it better be named as Uttar-Dakshin – the Veg!

Dakshin was overlooked as another ‘veg’ restaurant of Calicut, until one day the ‘Wazzaap Warriors’ mustered courage to experiment with the ‘Veg-only’ restaurant.

Probably the only place in Calicut where you’re served Dal Makhani, Sirke wali Pyaz (Onion with Vinegar), and Tandoori Roti, that too without a tinge of coconut oil! The Paneer Bhuji is one thing that won’t last on your table for more than 20 seconds unless you have gone there alone hiding from your friends. And the Masala Papad makes for an ideal starter.

Situated at the far end of Mavoor Road, nothing is better than having a Mint Lime and Paper Masala Dosa here after that shopping which has made your pocket light by a few dollars. The ambience is cool, dark and fresh and you also have a Non-AC wing where you can smell the flavour of all the food being cooked in the kitchen. The menu contains all north Indian and south Indian cuisines. Open the whole day, it also doesn’t lighten your pocket too much. Dakshin + movie at Crown has become a favourite combination of many at campus.

In short, Dakshin is a veggie’s delight with a huge variety to offer and a good atmosphere. Do try it out!

Puneet Bhaskar on ZAM ZAM

Looking for soothing ambience or a quiet evening with your friends? Well, then ZAM ZAM isn’t quite the place for you! They say “Looks can be deceptive”, and ZAM ZAM’s no exception. The menu sounds very delicious and posters of attractive fare all over the place second the thought. But order the Dal Makhani (irresistible, after looking at one of the posters) and you’ll be surprised to see an ostensibly new variety of Dal Makhani which not only looks like the usual, tired Yellow Dal but also tastes like it!

But regardless, ZAM ZAM is your typical small-city restaurant which offers its visitors good value for money (if you are a non-vegetarian, that is). The very sight of chickens being roasted in a see-through machine outside the restaurant can get your stomach growling. Along with local delicacies like Kerala Paratha, Paneer Butter Masala and Veg Jaipuri also make conciliatory appearances on the please-all menu.

If you’re one of those who like to be served at the speed of light (or at least at the speed of rogue buses on Calicut’s roads, quite a close analogy) ZAM ZAM may just disappoint you. I have been to ZAM ZAM twice and the average waiting time seems to be thirty to forty minutes. Personal advice: order in a single go, else there’s every chance you might end up eating only curry or only rotis. Coming to pricing, personal experience says that a meal for 6 (4 non vegetarians and 2 vegetarians) will hover around 500 to 600 rupees.

Finally, it’s a good value-for-money place where the food may not look very good but it tastes quite OK. In summary ZAM ZAM can be visited about once a year.

Reviews coming up soon: Kadavu, Paragon and ShangriLa. Stay tuned!

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Responses

  1. Dude, Re: Jayesh’s bit on Broast – it’s “Gopi Manjurian” not your vanilla Manchurian. At broast, it’s different – always.

  2. Fortune has this amazing South Indian joint on the 2nd floor which is quite amazing and there’s also this place where you get Kerala Shapad next to the bus stand, which is simbly heavennly.
    N of course nothin beats fresh toddy and kadala curry in the shacks on the way to Kadavu.
    Cmon guys there’s so much of Kozhikode, you’ll have yet to explore.

  3. Whoa, good collection.. a sure trip down the memory lane..
    but i guess no one has ventured into the still lesser known places… like Zains… Beach Restaurant for biryani… Hyson (i thought that would be quite popular among foodies coz i think it offers the most classy food.. at least it used to)… Paragon…

  4. Good One!!! Brings back the old nostalgic memories… And sure, some ppl would remember the Mezbaan food ordering along with the software system we used to have in 2005-06.

  5. Hi guys …this is Sanjeev of the 2003-05 batch… have to say that was an extremely well-written set of posts… lotta writing talent at K as always….and yes they`ve made me extremely nostalgic…

    Jayesh… i remember a Broast Menu item that read ‘Seeks On Chicken Boup’…which was meant to be ‘Sweet Corn Chicken Soup’… have they corrected that by any chance?:-)

  6. Good work guys..!! Brings back memories of goold old days..!!
    Is the Mezbaan food ordering software system still working? We had a gr8 time coz of it…Dhruv, thanks a lot yaar..!

  7. Folks! This is very good stuff written. It reminded me of my good old IIMK days.

  8. Hehe yeah, the mere mention of Sea Queen has sent me into “glassy eyes with open salivating mouth” mode!
    Great bunch of reviews – a sure nostalgia-inducing trip for alumni! Bon appetit Komrades!
    Cheers,
    Ronald
    Class of 2005

  9. Too good….really took me back to those 2 wonderful years….well-written too. If I remember correctly, there was gud place called Hyson too….not sure if that still exists…that was 2-3 years back…
    Keep up the IIMK spirit!
    Niti
    2003-2005

  10. the mezbaan ordering system was abandoned fairly early in 06-07. Cannot remember the reasons. Perhaps it was because the software itself left campus along with the author, or something like that…

  11. The Mezbaan ordering software sure was abandoned … but we did start the Chik King ordering … not a software … but Prasanta mastered the art of managing without the help of technology … 😛

  12. […] August 29, 2007 Posted by Cheetos in MBA Ramblings. trackback Have been Reading the wonderful Foodies Guide to IIMK in the Taste of Heaven Blog. It’s a wonderful compilation with a direct “From […]

  13. Check out MMU hotel – Past seaqueen, about km, take the first left and there you are.

    The best puttu / stew / fish that money can buy.

  14. The mezbaan ordering system did linger on for a while after Vishakh had handed over the software to Rahul Krishna aka Colonel .. but then .. people were always more interested in ordering toddy ;)) Which reminds me, that noone has mentioned about it but a few Toddy shops in kerala do serve some really good authentic Mallu food .. tasted that once with Pranav i think .. Most of it was Non-Veg though 😦

  15. @ Niti – Hyson was at the end of the Mavoor Road and still stands tall 🙂 U might have to do some wrong-side-of-the-road biking in ordere to get there from Mavoor road though as its on the wrong side of the one way traffic flow. Interestingly, its one of those few places which serves “Baingan ka Bhurta”. Yummmyyy :))


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