Kochin Kitchen opened up on Dalhousie Street in Ottawa’s Byward Market a few years back, and, while I did try to pop-in for lunch on a past visit to the city it was packed full already and I didn’t get a table. Recently, I made another attempt and, though the place was very busy once again, the service was very friendly and efficient and I enjoyed my meal. The place specializes in the food of southern India and they have a nice range of dishes, especially appetizers. I plan to go again on an upcoming visit to the capital a few weeks hence actually, but I am posting to day to share the very nice dishes I enjoyed on my introductory excursion to the place…
Vegetable Samosa – Samosas are almost ubiquitous in Indian restaurants these days and I usually like those made with lamb whenever I have them. These ones, however, were very tasty and had much more of a crispy wrapper than is common. The filling was potato and carrot chiefly, and the spice component was understated with just a little chili heat and a slight hint of curry leaf coming through. There was a yoghurt-based mint sauce on the side that was a very nice complement, and, although I would have personally liked a lot more mint in the mix, I thought this was a very nice appetizer, with the individual samosas being just the right size.
Mussels Travancore – This was a very interesting dish and one, I am fairly sure is a creation of the restaurant rather than being something with a culinary pedigree stretching back into the mists of time. It consists of mussels cooked in a sauce composed of Clamato Juice, Tamarind, Garlic, Ginger and Cream. The result was very nicely tangy and, with very little other seasoning being added other than curry leaf, a subtle, yet delicious complement to the nicely cooked mussel meat. As a bit of a bonus, the dish came with a very nice, chewy Paratha to mop up all the extra sauce.
Chicken Pakora – These consisted of chicken strips in a seasoned chick pea flour batter served with mayonnaise chili dip on the side. The batter seasoning was quite subtle and it was not easy to identify the components. I think a little turmeric was included, but I also fancy I tasted a little Ajwain seed as well. Whatever it was, I very much enjoyed these and would take them over McChicken Bits (or whatever they are) any day of the week….