Sunday, June 10, 2012

Keralan Cuisine

One thing I really miss about London is our favourite local Indian restaurant, La Kera. Unfortunately I also missed it when we lived there because it closed before we left. Tucked away down a side street in the entrance to an industrial estate, the so-called Wood Green Cultural Quarter, it didn't really get the business it deserved to. It was my introduction to Keralan food and I've loved it ever since.

It's not like the stuff you get in your average British Indian restaurant, actually more likely to be Pakistani or Bangladeshi, where meat comes smothered in a cloying, heavily spiced sauce and too much ghee. It's lighter, can still be nicely spicy and is full of flavour.

So, we were pleased when we came across Backwaters restaurant in our new home of Sunderland. The food is just as good as it was in La Kera, if not better, the staff just as friendly and unfortunately just as hidden from passing trade. We're not the only people who like the place either, check out the reviews on Trip Advisor. If I have one criticism, it's the decor and the tables but don't let that put you off, it's the food that is the star and when it's this good, I really couldn't care less about the lack of a table cloth and the use of paper serviettes.

More people need to know about this place and go and eat there on a regular basis because it deserves the trade. We were there last night and at 8pm on a Saturday night there were only 6 diners. When we left, suitably sated with brilliant food, the number of diners dropped to zero.

I've never felt any desire to go to India in general, it always come over as too busy, noisy and smelly for my liking but from what I've seen of Kerala, it's not like that at all. It appears much quieter, more laid back and the Backwaters look absolutely beautiful. Here's hoping we win the lottery soon and we can make the trip.

Finally, if you live anywhere near Sunderland or are visiting here any time soon, please, please, please make sure you eat at this hidden gem of a restaurant. 

30th June 2012 - went past Backwaters last night at 8:30 and the shutters were down. There was a note to say that they would be closed at lunchtimes during June but no mention of evening. We rang them tonight in the hope of going for dinner but there was no reply. Has it closed? Is there some sort of problem? We'll just have to wait and see.

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