We had the benefit of a 20% off voucher, picked up at a recent food festival in Woking, and so H and I decided to go for Sunday lunch.
We’d booked a table but the restaurant was pretty quiet when we arrived around one-ish. I had already spent considerable time looking at the menu online, but was torn between another sadya/thali experience or something different. As H had missed out on the Travancore sadya, he was set on having one here, and went for the Kayal Special Sadya, which included soup and a dessert.
We had an assortment of crispy snacks to get things started, accompanied by some lovely fresh pickles and chutneys.
As you can see, there were all types of different colours and textures, including Nenthraka Varuthathu (thin crispy banana slices – note more like a plantain than a sweet banana in taste), and the ornate Achappam, which resembles a flower. Definitely a step up from just plain pappodoms!
They were accompanied by a sour, punchy lemon pickle, a smooth coconut chutney and I wasn’t sure what the third one was – a somewhat spicy concoction, pictured in the middle, below.
After crunching our way through these, our starters arrived. I had opted for Uzhunnu Vada, and as H enjoyed his almost bisque-like fish soup, I ate my way through yet more fried delights. The vada were crispy on the outside and soft, almost spongy, inside. The portion was generous, and by the time I finished off the last crumbs, I was already starting to feel a bit full.
Then the monster of all masala dosas arrived for me (see the top photo in the post). Crammed with seasoned potatoes and veg, and wrapped in a deliciously tangy, crispy fermented dosa, there was no way I could finish it. Well, to be honest, I probably could have, but H would have had to carry me to the car moaning feebly. I had also ordered a side of Beans Thoran (trying to get my 5-a-day and all that) and I found the crispy texture, slight oily sheen and shreds of coconut surprisingly addictive.
I forgot to mention that we had both opted for mango lassi to drink, which with its creamy yoghurt base isn’t the lightest of beverages.
H was well and truly daunted by his sadya.
Not only was there an array of delicious curries including dahl, lamb and fish, there was a portion of rice and the most roti canai-like paratha I’ve ever come across. All wonderful, and I tried a taste of everything for “research purposes”.
H’s meal also included a dessert – thankfully only a small bowlful – of Semiya Payasam. It reminded me most of the tapioca my mum used to make – sweet, milky and very comforting. In fact it started me off on a milky pudding retrospective at home, and I’ve recently made a few with more planned.
We both thought Kayal was great. It is hard to directly compare it to Travancore as I ate quite different things, but I plan to return to Travancore with H to test out more of their menu, and no doubt we’ll go back to Kayal at some point too. Very reasonable prices, and a light and bright decor with good service complete the picture.