Nowadays, Indian cuisine is justly renowned all over the world but when people speak about Indian food they often mean north Indian tastes, usually influenced by Mughal and Punjabi styles. South Indian food is also becoming well-known, but the undiscovered jewel of the subcontinent's palate is the culinary expertise of Malabar.
When visitors arrive at Malabar's premier resort, Neeleshwar Hermitage, they have the chance to sample and enjoy the little-known delights that comprise the Flavors of Malabar. As a spice-trading state with a long coastline, Kerala and its northern province Malabar have always featured seafood as a staple of their menus. The fresh fish curries here are legendary and very varied. Sea Bass, Pomfret, King Fish, all cooked on a slow heat and served in a banana leaf accompanied by aromatic rice or lightly prepared vegetables, are typical examples. Whatever the main ingredient, whether fish, prawns or lobster, all Malabar dishes create their unique character by a subtle blend of local produce: coconut, banana, mango and the assorted spices that have been Kerala's gift to the world for centuries - ginger, fresh pepper, cloves, aniseed - and many more. Whether you are looking for an authentic local snack, a family feast or a romantic dinner, Malabar has every culinary base covered.
Following the Ayurvedic philosophy that nourishment is not confined to what is on the plate, all the food at The Hermitage is served in attractive and calming surroundings that silently work to increase the enjoyment. The main restaurant, the Annapurna (named after the Goddess of Nourishment) is built in traditional style as an airy and tranquil space under a high-raftered roof supported by beautifully carved teak pillars in temple style. Our seafood restaurant, the Meenakshi (named after the Mother Goddess) is an informal beachside meeting-place set amidst the coconut palms, with the stars twinkling above and the natural soundtrack of the waves gently lapping on the shore. The food here could not be fresher, as we buy our fish each morning from the fishermen just down the beach, and the menu is ever-varied, depending on what has come in that day.
In addition to these venues, we can also arrange an exclusive candlelight dinner for romantic couples or special gatherings: a beautifully decorated table at the poolside, on your cottage verandah or in the lush gardens.
One thing is for sure: you may not be a foodie when you arrive at The Hermitage but we guarantee you will be by the time you leave!