Jeeraka Vellam, Morum Vellam, Papadom.
Last month I had done a photo story called 'A taste of home' for MumbaiBoss.com. One of the restaurants I had visited was Sunny's in Chembur. It's 'expensive' by Malayali bachelor standards. They are used to a Mohan Lal size meal in Fort for Rs.35 to 40 but the taste here is worth the slight relative premium.
The taste here is different from the Fort and Mahim Malayali joints. Compared to the standardised Malabari Hotel food served there, here you get a more Kochi and Travancore Kerala taste, just like the name Sunny. In Kerala, Sunny isn't Gavaskar. He's an actor who started his career with the left leaning KPAC theater group that came from Central Travancore. It was a very popular name in the last century when this restaurant opened.
Bi-Bil (Bible). Like in Marathi, Malayalam has the character 'ळ '
I eat my fill of prime rib and gravy; I smack my lips. It's time to shout praises! Psalm 63:5
The seating area is a little cramped but there is a certain 'homeliness' about the place that takes you to Kerala. But more than the decorations and warnings, it's the food here. It's the closest you can get in Mumbai to home-cooked Kerala food.
In Kerala, they only serve you warm, boiled water at any restaurant. In homes, the water is boiled with Jeerakam (Sonf) and it's the same here in Sunny's. While you sip warm water, you can watch the Malayalis eat around you. It's better to see the rice being made into large balls and tossed into the opening below the thick mustache than me explaining the process.
This is the vegetarian "oon" or meal.
And this is the Beef fried and ready to be served in the kitchen. You can see pieces of coconut in the meat. Coconuts are a necessary ingredient for food that comes from a state named after the Coconut tree (Kera).
The other favourite ingredient are the curry leaves or Karivep Ella.
The Kerala version of the Biryani. And for the adventurous, there's a Desi Daaruchi Dukaan next door so that they can smell like a typical Malayali after a hard day's work. As you can see, the bottle is empty. Trust the Sakav (comrade) to finish it in one sip. Aaaaaamen!
Special thanks to my partner in gluttony: Deepak Shasikumar.