Eat, shop…..repeat @ Kochi, Kerala

What would you call a perfect day? A day when everything goes as per the plan? A day which brings forth an unexpected and delightful surprise? A day of doing only the things that you enjoy? Or perhaps a combination of all the above. Vacations at home are filled with such days, it’s just revisiting the favourite haunts to taste the familiar and maybe discover something new.

Plan for the day:

9:00 am – Breakfast @Ottupura

10:00 am – Shopping @Mantra, Lulu Mall

12:30 pm – Lunch @Paragon, Lulu Mall

2:30 pm – Shop at Rouka

3:30 pm – Stroll along Marine Drive

4:30pm – Treats from Anns Bakery

7:30 pm – Dinner @Grand

The day was spent within the city and we skipped the favourite tourist spot – Fort Kochi. Walking is the best way to get around in Fort Kochi and with an overcast sky, the unpredictable rains, we’ll keep the walking expedition for another day.

Breakfast @Gokul Oottupura, Kadavanthara, Kochi

This is our favourite place for a veg breakfast in the city. The masala dosa & vada is our regular order. Light on the pocket, it’s a no-frills joint, conveniently located on the Kaloor – Kadavanthara road.

Masala dosa & vada, with coconut chutney and sambar
Masala dosa & vada, with coconut chutney and sambar

Shopping @Mantra, Lulu Mall, Edapally, Kochi

Probably the most famous of the shopping destinations in Kochi, this sprawling mall is always crowded. During the weekends, it is difficult to get parking space in the mall, hence a visit during the weekdays is more advisable; else opt for a pick-up and drop.

The Lulu mall houses all the popular Indian and foreign brands, but more on the affordable than the luxury side. Though we can spend a whole day in here, we make a beeline to a few select shops to see what’s new. And among the clothing stores, one unique shop is Mantra; pioneered by a designer named Shalini James. Enter the shop and it’s all colour and beautiful prints around, focusing on ethnic wear. You can’t leave without picking one and it’s even more difficult to limit to just one. It’s her only shop in Kochi.

Mantra by Shalini James @Lulu Mall, Kochi
Mantra by Shalini James @Lulu Mall, Kochi

Lunch @Paragon, Lulu Mall 

Soon it’s lunch time and there is only one place we want to have lunch from at the Lulu mall – Paragon. It’s not just us, it’s a very popular place and as proof, if you go after 12:30 pm, you will be in queue.

Again, Paragon has only one outlet in Kochi and its here. The Paragon restaurant is based in the Food Capital of Kerala – Calicut or Kozhikode and before the opening of this outlet in Kochi, people used to travel all the way from Kochi to Calicut for their famed biryani and travel back happy !! The biryani is the most popular dish; it’s accompanied by date pickle, coconut chutney and pappadam. Super tasty !!

Paragon @Lulu Mall, kochi
Paragon @Lulu Mall, kochi

Shop @Rouka, Valanjambalam

Rouka is venture by the designer Sreejth Jeevan. He has hand-crafted collections in western silhouettes sporting Indian motifs. This place though is closed on Sundays and finding a parking space in front of the shop maybe a challenge. But a visit to his shop is a definite treat.

Rouka by Sreejith Jeevan
Rouka by Sreejith Jeevan

Stroll along Marine Drive

This is not part of the old world Kochi, infact it is promenade built on reclaimed land. The views are spectacular and if you have time, you can venture out on a boat-ride. Else a stroll enjoying the sea-breeze and the views is fantastic.

Treats from Anns Bakery

There are several branches of Anns bakery in the Kochi city. Our favourite is the one with ample parking space, located on the Shihab Thangal Road in Panampilly Nagar. This bakery is based out of Kottayam and the food truck arrives by noon with the daily load to goodies.

We love almost everything here and it’s difficult to choose. The black halwa, the crispy banana chips, the meat samosas, the fish sandwiches, the banana fritters (pazham pori), cakes, pastries, cutlets……. the list is endless. They even have their own line of condiments, spices and mixes which are very good.  And during Christmas time, their plum cakes in tins are most sought after and fly off the counter.

Dinner @Grand 

Grand Hotel is located on the MG Road and is famed for its sea food. The most notable dish is the Karimeen (Pearl Spot) Pollichathu. The Karimeen is first lightly fried, then coated in a tasty myriad of spices and steamed to perfection in a banana leaf. To accompany, we had the famous Kerala Parottta.

Karimeen (Peal Spot) Pollichathu
Karimeen (Peal Spot) Pollichathu

Most tourists will request a visit to a shop to buy or see the Kerala sari, delicate and pretty in off-white colour with gold border. The shop Kasavu Kada is famous for this, but we are not visiting the place this time.

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