Posted by: Kappa | August 29, 2007

Foodie’s Guide to IIMK, Part Three

Chirantan Mandal on Sagar and Al-Bake

Sagar

If you miss the bicker & quibble-quabble of your naughty nephews/nieces as you would dine with your extended family, then look no further. A splendid family restaurant catering to local folk who more often than not turn up with their families, Sagar is a refreshing change from the aristocracies of the Taj and the noise of Sea-Queen. Most importantly, it’s a place where you can drop over for a sumptuous dinner after you’ve had a day’s worth of shopping, and have some change left – yes, change – it’s so affordable it’s a steal!

Haves and Have-Nots
For non-Veggies ask for ginger chicken and pathri (like rice chappatis but only thinner and tastier – rumali roti made with rice, the size of a normal roti). You could substitute pathri with ‘Appam’ in case you have an eclectic taste. Appams are baked rice cakes and are a confused hybrid of an idli in the middle of a small dosa. Boy, does it taste good! If garlic chicken bores you, then try ginger chicken as well. A rider: don’t experiment too much, though! For fish lovers, you have plenty of choice. Most of the fish curries are delicious if you do not mind the strong aroma of coconut oil.

For Veggies, substitute chicken curry with paneer butter masala and/or mushroom masala, and you’ve got your own winner combo!

Location
Sagar has two branches on two ends of Mavoor road and most often is swarming with people. It has three categories of seating: normal, family & AC. AC is only marginally costlier, and highly recommended.

Cost
Even if you’re a glutton, a meal will only set you back by between Rs. 85 and Rs. 120. With larger numbers the per-head cost is significantly lower.

Al-Bake

The city of Calicut is known for two things, Vasco-da-Gama’s landing in 1498 and its proximity to the Middle East. Wouldn’t the city be served by at least one authentic Arabic food joint? Well it is, with Al-Bake. Situated at the corner opposite Baby Memorial Hospital, the chain of restaurants are all labeled with neon lights so bright you can’t miss. It’s a largely conservative up-market restaurant frequented by Gulf-returned Mallus. It isn’t too well-lit but the ambience is quite commendable. The space is a bit constricted but the air conditioning and the service more than make up for these minor deficiencies.

Haves and Have-Nots
For non-Veggies: Try out any dish, most of them are quite tasty. The beauty about this place is that I never came across a single item which was not worth trying out at least once (and maybe twice as well!). They’ve retained the Arabic flavor of most items on the menu, with little or no Indian customization. The dessert is exquisite; the ice-cream shakes are worth dying for. My favorite is the pista flavor.

For Veggies: Skip Al-Bake if you intend to stick to a vegetarian meal 🙂 Enough said!

Cost
Al-Bake is more expensive than Sagar but cheaper than Sea-Queen or Mezbaan. The food is worth the price and a decent non-veg meal will cost two people Rs.130-160 per head.

A Rider: Ambience is Very conservative, so consider a different restaurant if you plan to have a cozy dinner with your lady interest!

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