When one utters the words ‘South Indian cuisine’ what is it that comes to mind? Vadas, Idlis, Sambhar, Uttapams, Dosas of various types, perhaps curd rice, tomato and tamarind rice? Well, this is what used to be me a few years ago, till I was introduced to the variants of south Indian food. And what a mind boggling, intriguing but satisfying discovery it was! I witnessed south Indian non-veg for the first time in Bangalore. I traveled more, and discovered more. This was when the diverse Indian food was not as freely available as is now. At present, every big city, or even smaller ones, have most common regional cuisines available. Now south Indian is as ubiquitous as Punjabi or Chinese food, but of course, with tastes differing from place to place.
Ahmedabad is severely deprived of this phenomenon (apart from the regular Punjabi, south Indian and one Lebanese joint, there’s nothing much to explore). Though this does not happen to me when it comes to food, I visited a south Indian restaurant called Four Food, and I forgot about it. And then a close friend reminded me of it, after about two years, and I went again. And since then, within a span of two months, I’ve done six visits. And this is enough for anyone who knows me to conclude – I love this place!
Four Food is run by a Keralite gentleman, by the name of Thomas. His place (his home too) are located near Thaltej Circle, on the service road leading to the BMW showroom. Modestly furnished but well-kept and clean interiors, with 40-plus covers and an efficient set of people to serve, visiting here is a delight. Most of the clientele consists of south Indians, with a sprinkling of people like me, who love their food. You enter the restaurant, and invariably you’ll find Thomas sitting behind the counter, and he will welcome you as if it was his home you were visiting.The menu is large, consisting of Chinese, Mughlai and North Indian food, but the action lies at the end. The entire last page of the menu is dedicated to food from Kerela.
I’ve not even looked at what they have to offer in Mughlai or Chinese, it’s all been Kerala food for me. To combine all my visits till date, I’ve tried their Chicken Roast Masala (Rs 220); Mutton Fried (Rs 185); Malabar Chicken & Mutton Biryani (Rs 190 and Rs200 respectively); Kerela Paratha (Rs 15 each); Appams (Rs 12 each); Mutton Stew (Rs 200); Chicken Stew (Rs 200); Fish Moily (Rs 240) and Prawn Masala (Rs 240). I checked with a few people who belong to that region about the taste of Kerela Cuisine, and I discovered that Four Food is close, very close to being authentic. All the dishes are exemplary in their own right, while the stand-out ones are Fish Moily and Mutton Stew. The Fish Moily can be cooked as per the diner’s choice of fish, and the curry is so smooth and velvety, that a morsel of a pillowy soft appam dipped in it is pure bliss! Just the right flavors and texture, of course lots of curry leaves, this is surely a winner. The Mutton Stew is another hit, with the simple delicate flavors of coconut, curry leaves and mustard seeds, all blending beautifully and is best had with appams or a paratha. Though authentically stews are a bit runny, this one, and the chicken version, are thicker. But who’s complaining? Appams are served in a casserole, and don’t have the crispy lace on the outside, but are as good as any I’ve had.
They also have a small buffet set-up for Sunday lunch, which, personally, I would avoid. But as I said, the last page of the menu holds all the treasures that four Foods is all about. To further emphasize, I happened to speak to a couple dining next to my table, who belonged to Cochin, and to quote them- “this food is almost as good as what is cooked in our homes”. What more can be said?
Perhaps a better arrangement for rest rooms would be good, but other than that, Four Foods gets all the points! A must-visit.
Restaurant Ratings (out of 5):
Food: 3.5 | Ambience: 3.5 | Service: 3.5 | Overall: 3.5
Meal for two: Rs. 600| Alcohol: No| Credit Card: Yes | Home Delivery: No
Address: New York Tower B, Near Thaltej Cross Road, S G Highway, Thaltej, Ahmedabad |Telephone: 079-26851206, +91 9327029369