Food

Kochi gets a new multi-cuisine address

Supreme’s Upper Crust serves a combination of cuisines from continental to traditional Indian

When Kollam-based Supreme Food Company set up its first bakery in its home town in 1984, the best-sellers were bread and naadan snacks such as unniappam, achappam and others.

Today, almost 30 years since, 12 bakeries and five restaurants later, their offerings extend well beyond these. Supreme opened its first outlet and restaurant, Upper Crust, in Kochi, earlier this year. The multi-cuisine restaurant offers continental, Mediterranean, Italian, Chinese and Indian food.

The traverse from Kollam to Kochi took time, but Afsal Musaliar, managing director, says when they did finally come they wanted to do it properly.

“We wanted to showcase some of the best cuisines, combined with the concept of fine-dining,” he says. Putting together the menu took more than three months and the chefs were trained by specialists. “For Arabic food, for example, we brought a Syrian chef who worked with our chefs for a few months.” The tasting, Afsal jokes, resulted in a few kilos gained.

The restaurant, on the floor above Supreme Bakers, can seat close to 110. Large glass windows have dual advantages—a view of the NH Bypass and ample natural light. The result is a bright restaurant at daytime, and a good view at night.

As we await our meal, Afsal tells us how, way back in the 1950s, his grandfather opened what was possibly the first mall in the heart of Kollam—a couple of theatres (Grand and Prince) and a few shops. In fact, he says, “The beginnings of our involvement with food lay there, in the movie halls, where we maintained a canteen for cinema goers.”

The first dish to arrive is creamy paya—mutton soup. Made from leg of lamb, paya is considered healthy and wholesome. Different parts of the country have their own versions of paya, which literally means trotters. The soup, flavoured with coriander, is comfort food, with mutton bits that add heft and bite. Salads follow — fresh and crunchy fatoush with fried squares of pita, and a classic Caesar.

Afsal says that most of the meats, especially lamb chops, beef and salmon are imported as the meat available locally doesn’t suit their requirements. The beef medallion, which is steak served with a potato mash and grilled carrots, potatoes, and broccoli, is the signature dish. The meat is tender, and works well with mash, that lives up to its name—‘creamy mash’. If beef is not your thing, try the then grilled salmon.

The hand-tossed Pollo Alla Diavola pizza has a thin crust loaded with cheese, vegetables and chicken. Cannelloni, chicken-stuffed lasagna, and spaghetti Bolognese are a nod to Italian cuisine.

Kochi gets a new multi-cuisine address

What is multi-cuisine in Kerala without the ubiquitous Arabic? We try the opulent lamb ouzi: a ‘portion’ is enough for a big family — the grilled lamb sits on a bed of flavoured rice. As much as a treat for the palate, it is one for the eyes as well. Stating that it is popular on weekends, Afsal says, “on weekends we have specials such as whole grilled fish and chicken.”

Kochi gets a new multi-cuisine address

All grilling is done on stones, charcoal is a strict no-no, says executive chef Shamon. The seafood platter too is massive, ideal for a family of four or five, offering obster, calamari, prawns and king fish.

The dessert menu, given that there is an in-house patisserie, is lavish.

Runs in the family

The idea of Supreme Bakery was Najuma Musaliar’s, Afsal’s mother. She took the initiative and set the ball rolling. The family runs educational institutions, notable among them is Thangal Kunju Musaliar (TKM) College of Engineering in Kollam. The operations in Thiruvananthapuram are looked after by Afsal’s sister. “The whole family is involved in the business.” Although initially the menu had bread and traditional snacks, today it makes 10-15 varieties of the former and 60 varieties of the latter; 30 varietals of cookies, French pastries, patties, and Indian sweets. The Kochi store has a gourmet ingredient section. “All the snacks are made in-house, nothing is outsourced. That way we have control over the quality.” Halwas are very popular, made with either coconut oil or ghee, this is made the traditional way in urulis, on wood-fired stoves, stirred by hand. “That is why we are able to maintain the confection’s taste.” The company makes around 20 types. Nutrifud is another arm of the company.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 5:15:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/supremes-upper-crust-serves-a-combination-of-cuisines-from-continental-to-traditional-indian/article29725145.ece

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