Sunday, March 20, 2016

Kayra Kerala Cuisine @ Taman Tun Dr Ismail

The vividly distinctive flavours of Kerala, the coastal state of south-west India, come alive at Kayra, run with a sense of joy & authoritativeness by Meriam Alfonso, a Malaysian whose family has roots in Kerala. Meriam's grandfather opened a Keralite restaurant in Johor Baru in 1949, & she's now bringing the time-honoured, treasured recipes of her heritage to this lovely new venue, bedecked with black-&-white photographs of Kerala. Expect an emphasis on grated & roasted coconuts as a key component (Kayra's name comes from the Malayalam-language equivalent of the swaying coconut palms that abound on Kerala's shores), plus a unique balance of spices (brought in from Kerala, a region with a rich history of spice trading) that sets the delicately nuanced cooking here apart from much of the southern & northern Indian fare we're accustomed to in KL.

Lunches are currently limited to thali-style rice platter meals, so it's wiser to visit in the evening, when a complete a la carte menu is unveiled, with an encyclopaedic spectrum of intriguing offerings. We enjoyed the Koddapan (RM12), banana flower & runner beans cooked with grated coconut, curry leaves & mustard seeds, with its gentle dimensions of flavour. The Appo (RM12), mini rice cakes topped with spice powder & coconut chutney, makes for a fun snack, while the Kurumulagu Konju (RM18) features commandingly fresh marinated tiger prawns, deliciously steamed in a banana leaf pouch & garnished with beetroot emulsion. Each dish spotlights an ensemble of well-prepared ingredients that showcase diverse shades & subtleties.

Soups & salads: The Cochin fish soup (RM12) is lightly flavoured with pumpkin, tapioca & raw bananas, though its mildness means it's not the ideal choice for customers who prefer robust recipes; the Caravela (RM10)  - chickpea puree with aromatic herbs - proves more resonant & unusual-tasting. If you're a beetroot worshipper, try the Thoran (RM10), comprising succulent, earthy-sweet chopped beetroot with coarse, crushed coconut, chillies & ginger.

And course, curries: The Chemeen Mangga Curry (RM29) is a mellowly piquant prawn curry, simmered in coconut paste & tantalisingly textured with sliced raw mangoes, while Delia's Stew (RM22), creamy-savoury chicken curry, is equally competent, with punchy dynamics - thankfully, neither's too fiery, enabling us to relish the flavours more effectively. Wipe the curries clean with pathiri soft rice pancakes (RM5). If you're seeking a single-plate meal, possibilities include the Kappa & Meen (RM30), rice with curry leaves-seasoned tapioca & thick, smooth & deep-flavoured classic fish curry cooked with cocum.

 Wrap up with Vattalapam custard (RM10), made with brown palm sugar, coconut milk & cardamom, partnered with honey-dipped grilled pineapple, & Payasam warm sweet rice pudding (RM10), accompanied by pappadam & bananas, concluding a meal that began with ginger-lime complimentary welcome refreshments. There's still much more to try at Kayra, from squid with onion relish to roasted mutton with gravy, crabs cooked with house-made masala to eggplant with coriander & yoghurt; expect to hear more about Kayra in the months ahead.

Kayra Kerala Cuisine TTDI
46 Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 1, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. Currently open for lunch & dinner, closed Sundays.

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16 comments:

  1. Was it spicy? We only have North Indian here, not spicy. They say the dishes from the south would be.

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    1. Suituapui: not too spicy actually ... for once, i didn't break a sweat, and i usually have a low tolerance for fieriness. it was a pleasant, gentle spiciness here ;)

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  2. Ooh! I want to try it all!

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    1. The Yum List: i wanted to order even more, but we were super-stuffed even before dessert :)

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  3. Hmmm I think Mr Mah will like this place more than me, hehehe.

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    1. CK: haha, maybe can check it out on a saturday for lunch or dinner, since it's currently closed on sundays :)

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  4. Kayra, somewhere over the rainbow that I never heard before~ Foods look interesting nonetheless

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    1. Choi Yen: heheh, if you'd like to try something different, can check this place out :)

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  5. Sorry for my "unknown" comment. For some reason, it didn't register my profile. Am still hoping someone has their phone number! Hahaha...

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    1. Rafizah: you can reach Kayra's proprietor at 012-200-9554 :)

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    2. Awesome! Thanks Sean. Going there this Saturday with a mutual friend :)

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  6. Now Sundays there are open and closed on Monday

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  7. We went to the restaurant on 27/4 for dinner. The food that we ordered (chicken roast, appam, spring hoppers, Spinash/ dhal) were not appetising. The lassi drink was diluted. The waiters were polite. However, what surprised and made us furious was the manner the lady owner came over to our table to give the bill. She just snubbed us even though we tried to open a conversation with her by smiling. The first thing someone who wants to succeed in business need to understand is the power of SERVICE. This can just start with a smile. We were planning to have an office dinner at Kayra next week....but the plans are changed now!

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  8. Wayyy overpriced. And so much onions in almost every dish!!! (True Kerala food uses minimum onions in curries).

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  9. Wayyy overpriced. And so much onions in almost every dish!!! (True Kerala food uses minimum onions in curries).

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  10. We had the flat taste food in kayra. Luxury lookin g restaurant. The courtesy to thank after we pay the bill was not in their protocol...looks like...

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