On my unceasing quest for thrilling food in the area, a month or so ago I came across a Keralan restaurant in West Byfleet. It was currently in the process of re-branding, but was due to open again soon as Travancore (15 Old Woking Road).
I kept an eye on their progress, and recently noticed they were offering a special vegetarian feast to celebrate the Hindu festival of Onam. I excitedly booked H and I in, but at the last minute he was unable to attend.
As it was short notice, I didn’t try to find someone else but instead I decided to go solo.
Lone dining is not my ideal option. Sure, I bring a book, but you can’t juggle a book and a knife and fork, and I end up feeling a bit self-conscious. However I didn’t want to miss out on some potentially awesome food, and my stomach had the deciding vote.
I duly turned up to an early booking, and after a few awkward “So, it’s just you?” clarifications, was settled at a window table. I ordered a mango lassi and extracted my book.
I had imagined there would be lots of other people here, but for a while, there was no-one! Eventually another solo diner arrived, then a group, but I presume I was just too early.
The majority of my dinner arrived at once – an immense and delicious thali accompanied by savoury snacks and chutneys.
I can’t tell you what everything was. New tastes to me included banana chips encased in jaggery (I found a recipe here), an incredibly salty yoghurt soaked dried chilli (something like this), a sharp sour lemon chutney, a pineapple curry, a grated vegetable dish, and an amazing aubergine curry that was meltingly delicious (I’m not a big aubergine fan so that’s why I’m gushing). I felt as full as could be imagined even without finishing it all, and there was still dessert!
A delicious vermicelli milk pudding (like this) and an unidentifiable coconutty brown sugar dessert (along these lines) were too warm and creamy to resist, and I polished them off before slumping back in my seat.
The whole thing came in under £20, including my lassi, and I loved it. The people working there are exceedingly polite and attentive, and it was a friendly and relaxed place to go.
I’ve avoided using names for any of the above dishes to minimise errors, but I’ll order from the menu next time so I can start learning them!
Note: Photo by me!