We are yet to meet someone who says they don’t like fryums. The little fried wheels of cornstarch and flour have this inevitable ability to light up eyes and make stomachs grumble. An endless supply could very well be a dream dinner for many, many children (and grownups too). So, at GR’s Searock Cookhouse, the newest coastal food restaurant in the heart of New Delhi, when we were served fryums and a kokum drink as soon as we sat down, the thought of work emails went out the door and we turned our focus on devouring them, as well-mannered as possible.
Munching on the ‘spokes’ of the wheels, we looked around and liked what we saw. Pretty blue and yellow tiles on the walls, a soothing grey and matt gold vibe with half boat hulls (well, it is a coastal restaurant) as décor pieces—it gave off an earthy ambience (somewhat ironic, we realise). Spread over two spaces in Connaught Place’s L Block and two floors, Searock started operations in August 2019. If you’ve been to Bengaluru anytime in the last 34 years, we are sure you’ve heard of the name and its famed coastal menu. We are rather glad to see that the notion of South Indian food is slowly undergoing a change in the Capital. It may seem impossible to compete with the idli-vada-dosa holy trinity, but the acceptance of curries, spices and appams have gained momentum, no doubt.
Searock specialises in coastal grub from Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, and the menu is diverse enough to keep customers satisfied. And if you’re not a seafood lover, don’t fret. The menu offers plenty of meat dishes from the southern regions to keep you happy. For true coastal food lovers, however, the distinct dishes reflect each region's speciality. Be it Kerala's rich diversity in terms of Moplah, Syrian-Christian and Sadya styles to Mangalore's ghee roasts and curries, Andhra's fiery Rayalaseema food to Tamil Nadu's Kongunadu and Pandyanadu delicacies, Searock is a place to try them all under one roof.
Starting off with a rather spice-laden prawn ghee roast (the smell of ghee rather divine) and Andhra spice-rubbed seer fish and then tawa fried—we were left licking our fingers. Beware, the ghee roast in spicy and leaves behind a hint of heat, yet we wanted more. The Kerala chicken fry wasn’t far behind in the spice meter but the seafood delicacies won the starters battle. We’d recommend getting a soothing buttermilk or a mocktail (the alcohol license is yet to arrive) to drink alongside if your tolerance level for spices is low.
As we hummed to an old Hindi number, the mains arrived. The kori gassi (a chicken curry from the Mangalore area) wasn’t too spicy and soaking up the curry with a stoic sannas, a heavy, block-ish idli (but we’ve had better) made for a good start. Our personal favourite was the mutton varutha curry, an indulgent Malabar delicacy made with roasted coconut paste, best mopped up with a Malabar parotta. The mutton soft and succulent and the curry consistency just right for the parotta, we knew we’d like to go back again for the winning combination. And finally, the sole fish curry, again from Kerala, oozing a tanginess just right, left its mark. The appam, however, could have been better.
The dessert choices are limited to ice cream, a palm jaggery halwa and ragi manni from Mangalore. We tasted the finger fillet pudding and though good, we just couldn’t imagine another bite, our stomachs telling us to change from jeans into something less restrictive around the waist. And we willingly complied, once back home, breathing a sigh of relief, with a content smile on our faces.
Where: GR’s Searock Cookhouse. 3,4, L Block, Connaught Place
Timings: Noon to midnight
Pocket pinch: Rs 1,700 for two