This is a post on heritage hotel fort kochi and a review of its restaurant
In a NUtshell:
A boatyard of the colonial times now converted to a beautiful hotel, an eye for detail in everything , very well trained, warm and efficient staff, evening boat ride, cooking class, overall a memorable stay. Wud get bk again to stay here.
We ate at 2 of the 4 restaurants- good but not great. I wud not revisit
Address & other details:Brunton Boatyard
Meal for 2: ₹2000 onwards
Cuisine type : vegetarian & non vegetarian
Disclaimer:All restaurants / eateries reviewed by YUMMRAJ were visited by YUMMRAJ himself & he has paid for the full Bill & tips also. http://www.yummraj.com does not have even one featured / sponsored reviews. YUMMRAJ believes in going to a restaurant in anonymity, as a normal guest, experience everything & give a honest account of the same to you.
Paid the bill with room bill – so unable to reproduce it separately. Other non relevant items also included
I rate all the food items & then give a final overall rating which is a simple average of the individual item ratings. What the ratings stand for: 5 = Excellent, 4 = Very Good, 3 = Good, 2 = Fair, 1 = Disaster
Short description- in case u r in a hurry
When we were searching for interesting hotels to stay in kochi, we chanced upon this. We read the description below (agree to it after visiting) and liked it … it was a boat yard more than a century before and now it is a beautifully restored hotel.
We were impressed reading this and decided to book a stay –
‘This restored period building that is our hotel sits well with its colonial era surroundings and counterparts – the great trading houses of British India when pepper from Kerala was considered as precious as gold. Like the cultures they celebrate and display, Brunton Boatyard is a five star hotel whose interiors reflect an eclectic but tasteful blend of English, Portuguese and Dutch influences as seen in its high ceilings, hanging fans and a plethora of artifacts and curios from a great mercantile age known for its pomp and glamour. The scent of colonial history is all around you as you take a tour of the historic Fort Cochin area where the hotel stands. Though little remains of the fort itself there are legacies of its proud history to be seen everywhere’
Now that we hv visited the hotel, agree to the description and hence reproduced it here.,.,
The entrance to the campus is thru a narrow road (buses ply on that road). The road inside the compound is cobbled. The cars go and drop guests at a covered entrance to the main building.
Two canons are placed near the entrance.
A beautiful shop inside the campus sells traditional handicrafts and clothes. All clothes are from Auroville Pondicherry- nothing local. Loved some of the locally made toys and wood ware.
They have a very good kerala Spa.
As we entered the hallway, we reached the reception. On one side of the reception was a series of heavy wood tables and benches. Beyond that was a giant billiard board.
The other side had a palanquin and some interesting artefacts.
The entire hallway had ‘punkhas’ (fans) that were hand pulled those days. They still are in working condition.
The hotel building is in the shape of a rectangle with a grass courtyard in the center. A giant anchor rests on the middle of the courtyard.
The rear side of the hotel faces the water body. The pool of the hotel is also there.
There is a private jetty beyond the pool. Each evening the hotel conducts a nice 1 hour boat ride in their own boat. A lady from the hotel accompanied the group on the boat and explained the different sites around. She also patiently answered all questions that guests asked. We were taken to this amazing sunset point near Chinese fishing nets.
After the boat ride there was a cooking class. The set up was just wrong. Chef was cooking on the table which was 2 feet higher than the eye level of guests (due to the low chairs they were asked to sit). So guests just hear what chef was saying and smelled the aroma. They saw nothing!!! Meen moilee was being cooked. Tasted outstanding, in fact magical.
The room we chose was facing the water body. One could see the water from the bed and also from the bathtub!!! Needless to say all furniture was heavy wood.
Special mention to the bed – it was almost 4 ft high (with the bedding). There were steps to climb up!!!
Ceiling was high and the lamp shades were old fashioned and beautiful.
Loved the detailing of the beverage box – there were no packed sachets. Only loose tea of different kinds in glass bottles. A tea pot and strainer were also provided.
For coffee lovers there was a coffee French press.
There was no milk in the room – it was just a call away.
The Water heater that connects to the pool and bathrooms, runs on solar energy from panels fitted on the slanting roofs of the building.
Rainwater is collected, purified and used for cooking and also drinking – in room water bottles are all filtered rain water (micro filters and reverse osmosis). The bottles are old fashion glass bottles (so refreshing to see no plastic).
It was a beautiful memorable stay – very different yet very nice.
The hotel staff were excellent- warm, good to talk to, knew about things and were very helpful. I liked the fact that almost everyone we spoke to, were eager to talk about the city, the hotel, the history, places to visit nearby etc.
They have 4 restaurants- the history restaurant, armoury resto bar , terrace grill and pier dining.
A note about the history restaurant on the website – ‘Dining at the tellingly titled ‘History Restaurant’ at Brunton Boatyard is a gateway to experience culinary history at its best. Every dish we serve reflects the culture of a different community. Chuttuly Meen speak of a Jewish heritage, while fish lovers savouring a Samak Bil Harder Asful sense the looming presence of Arabia. The Fish Moilee comes to you with its distinctive Syrian Christian aura, and The Vindaloo is sure to set you reminiscing about Vasco da Gama and the coming of the Portuguese to India.’
The history restaurant is an indoor restaurant with wood & glass French windows. It had live instrumental music playing in the evening.
Armoury cafe had plenty of armoury on its wall and near its entrance. We went there for breakfast. The cafe also has a open air area for having breakfast beside the water.
We chose the terrace grill restaurant as recommended by one of the guys in the hotel. He talked highly of the way they grill fresh catch of the day.
The restaurant was located on one of the open terraces of the hotel. The terrace has the main road on one side and water body on the other. There are trees around which visually look good but also reduce the breeze. It got hot several times in the evening. The hotel did not have fans for all tables. 2 lucky tables got the fan (strange) – I don’t know how it works.
Apart from us and another family, all other tables were occupied by Europeans. It’s seemed that was the usual ratio. This ratio of Indians to non Indians turned out to have 2 strange side effects – the salt was on the lower side in most food (specially the grill in the dinner and some breakfast items) and seeing us Indians the hotel staff on 1 occasion discouraged us to order an Interesting item on the menu.
The waiting staff were super polite and nice but I would have preferred to talk to people who understood the food better and who would be excited about what was being served.
We opted for Seafood grill seeing the catch of the day lined up outside the kitchen – we had to choose the fish and they would grill it and give to us.
Seafood salad was too good – not too many places in india serve such good seafood salads. Crunchy veggies and leaves. Light and non interfering dressing.
Super fresh seafood with full blown flavours and no interruptions…. wah. Rate the salad 4.5/5
Lobster bisque came ‘part of the package’ . I wud not hv ordered it as I hv not had too many good lobster bisque in the past one year or two. This one turned out to be very good – rich, creamy, full flavourful , robust soup with super soft and yumm lobster meat. The texture of lobster was just perfect. Rate it 4.5/5
It was interesting to see the Traditional grill (fired by coconut shell and wood) in the see thru kitchen.
We chose Yellow snapper. The grilled fish was accompanied by some marvellous grilled veggies. Loved every bit of it.
We were also served a superb stir fry of amaranth leaf and grated coconut. Super loved it.
Our server Insisted to have the fish filleted rather than serve the full fish. We agreed and said we want the fish with the skin. We were asked ‘u mean u want it with the scales ‘!!!! Chef interfered and understood and got us the fish the way we wanted.
The fish was soft but was breaking off. It could not hold the flakes. It was juicy but the juices had flown out to the plate. Fish was very fresh. I was expecting a smoky flavour but that did not happen.
Rate it 3.75/5
Vattelappam – a local Syrian Christian delicacy made from Jaggery and cooked coconut cream custard was outstanding. Strangely when we ordered it, our server said ‘It is just like caramel custard’. We thankfully ignored the suggestion and ordered it. It turned out to b Memorable. The flavours of coconut and jaggery beautifully complimented each other. the texture was lovely. Loved the hint of bitter and ‘not so sweet’ sweetness of the custard. Rate it 4.95/5
Overall rating of terrace grill averages out to 4.4/5
Breakfast @ Armoury
They said ‘your breakfast will be cooked to order’. We were impressed. It turned out to be some interesting egg options and some South Indian vegetarian food options.
Loved having fresh juices from these bulbs
As we waited, came a beautiful bread basket with some in-house baked breads. Loved the croissant.
We ordered oatmeal porridge with coconut milk, cinnamon and nuts. The reason we ordered it was the coconut milk. However it turned out to be the usual oatmeal porridge. No effect of coconut milk – no change in flavour / taste. Rate it 2.5/5.
We ordered egg dosa that was quite interesting- soft, home like thick dosa with a coating of egg. It was served with chutney and sambar. Rate it 3/5.
Coconut and papaya salad was too good – unique, never had b4 : Ripe papaya, grated coconut, tossed in curry leaves and lime, garnished with fresh ground black pepper. Excellent quality papaya, great medley of tastes and textures. Rate it 4.75/5
Overall rating of breakfast at armoury cafe averages out to 3.4/5
To recap – great stay, ok food. Wud like to stay again, go out at dinner and breakfast at better local restaurants.