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“Cheap and friendly”
Review of Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal
Ranked #124 of 1,016 Restaurants in Kochi (Cochin)
Cuisines: Indian
Restaurant details
Reviewed June 4, 2013

This review isn't about the restaurant as such, more about the homestay. Cheap room in the area but still walking distance from anywhere with significance. They had one room with A/C which looked very nice but he decided on the cheaper option without A/C which was good enough for us. Shower en-suite room was satisfactory as well. Not 5 star hotel at quality at all, but if you're looking for a cheap place to stay and friendly people to stay with, then this is a great place to hitch up. Right next to the St. Francis church as well.

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Thank Jamesh1994
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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26 - 30 of 34 reviews

Reviewed April 28, 2013

The paneer butter masala and the prawns roast are the best I've ever tasted. I've eaten here half a dozen times, and the food has always been outstanding. And I'm getting used to hearing other diners enthuse over the food, or comment on how low the cost of the meal is when the bill comes.

But the restaurant may not be what you're looking for! I took a couple of friends there, and they were grumpy that the service was so slow: the restaurant is basically someone's back yard, and so there is one person cooking in her family kitchen, so if lots of people arrive and order at once, the last to order could be waiting up to an hour. I don't mind - the food is freshly prepared and stunningly good, but if you want fast food, this may not be the place for you. Also, keep in mind that there is no backup generator, so if there's a power cut you'll eat by candle light, without fans (so spray on the mosquito repellent first!)

So, if you want a slick, safe restaurant with quick service, go somewhere else. But if you're happy somewhere with less of a neutral/tourist ambience, then I can't recommend this place too highly.

(Hint: if you're worried about a long wait, have a look in through the gate - go to the "back" entrance, on the alley that leads to the Kathakali centre, and just look in to the yard. If it looks packed, then the Tibetan place across the alley is pretty good, too, and there are several other places out on the main road, straight on as you come out of the alley.)

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1  Thank NomadicH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 26, 2013

The Taj Mahal in Fort Kochi (Fort Cochin) is not just a fantastic restaurant, serving some of the best food we've had since we moved to Kerala - it's also a homestay, and runs cookery classes too. Do check out Usha's video on You Tube (www.youtube.com/ushatajmahal) for more details!

My partner and I live in Fort Kochi, and go the to Taj Mahal regularly. At first glance, it looks rather basic, which is something we often look for because usually, the food will be more authentically local, less likely to be toned down for tourists... and very often, quite inexpensive!

The Taj Mahal is devoid of upmarket frills, all of which would of course, increase the price of the food. Instead, diners sit at tables in the garden of the homestay, which is covered by a rudimentary tarpaulin and bamboo roof. The only thing separating the dining area from the kitchen is a bamboo blind, so it's possible to see your food being prepared and cooked... I love to watch other cooks at work!

By the way, the photos outside the entrance in no way reflect the food within - they do not do the superb cuisine any justice at all! (Please see my photos above.)

On our first visit, we ordered aviyal (as seen in my pics) - a mixture of vegetables cooked with coconut, curry leaves, and yoghurt; plain boiled rice; and chemmeen olathiyathu - roast prawns with spices, curry leaves, coconut, and kodampuli (kokum). This is quite possibly the best prawn dish I've ever tasted! The mild and slightly sweet aviyal (which was tremendously delicious) was a perfect foil for the slightly fiery,slightly sour chemeen, and both went extremely well with the freshly-squeezed, unsweetened, lime juice soda we both had. When the food was ready, it was brought to our table by the family - Usha and Anil, and their children - all carrying a dish each; it was lovely to meet them, and to say hello!

Another of my favourite dishes at the Taj Mahal is their thoran; traditionally, a dry dish made with spices, coconut, and various vegetables, such as gourd, yam, beans, jackfruit, etc. It's very mild, full of flavour, and something I could eat an awful lot of on a regular basis!

Service can be a little slow, particularly in the evenings when it is often busy; however, this is a small price to pay for freshly-cooked, delicious food. Bring something to read, an iPad, a deck of cards, have a conversation, check your email, etc., and just chill out while your meal is being cooked! This is India - you can't hurry things here, so just go with the flow!

The only drawback to the Taj Mahal - and the reason I've given it four, instead of five stars - is that like most restaurants we've been to here in Kerala, they allow smoking at the table (which is odd because apparently this is against the law!). Although it's not at all pleasant, fortunately, in our experience, a lot of people who eat at the Taj Mahal do not smoke... or seem to not smoke while in the restaurant.

Smokers notwithstanding, the Taj Mahal is not only THE place to go for excellent food in great surroundings but it is extremely good value for money. For example, the cost for our first meal there (aviyal, chemmeen olathiyathu, plain rice, and two lime sodas) was 315 rupees (approx: £3.80 / € 4.30 / $5.80) - seriously, can you get any better than that?

The Taj Mahal is at 1/939, close to the Santa Cruz Basilica, on K B Jacob Road, behind the Kerala Kathakali Centre, Fort Kochi. (The restaurant entrance is around the corner, tucked away in the little alley which leads to the Kathakali Centre.)

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Thank Yumsome
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 1, 2017
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Thank Екатерина Ш
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 25, 2016
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Thank JustineC25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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