There are three restaurants at the Leela in Kovalam, Kerala: The Terrace, The Club (restricted to those staying in the costlier Club rooms) and Tides, a more casual beach-side restaurant serving Asian (Chinese and Thai) food. The tables look out directly onto the Arabian Sea. The brief wine list is aggressively priced. Grover Hills Cabernet Shiraz (no vintages were noted on the list was INR 2390 (£32) for a wine that you can buy in the UK for £6.50, and remember that this wine is from India, so it is not as if it costs as much to ship it here as to the UK.
Tom yum goong soup was acceptable, though the stock lacked the richness of a really good version of this classic Thai dish, and in this case I couldn’t detect any Thai basil. (11/20). Steamed prawn dumplings were disappointing, the prawns inside cooked OK but the dumplings themselves heavy in texture when they should be light (10/20).
Things declined when the main courses arrived. There was an attractive display of fresh fish and shellfish at the entrance to the restaurant, and so I ordered a lobster that arrived tragically overcooked, so much so that its texture was just mush; this was a tragic waste of a fresh lobster (10/20). Seer fish in dark soya and ginger sauce initially arrived visibly overcooked and stone cold, and when recooked arrived back merely visibly overcooked (10/20). Pad thai noodles had decent texture but also arrived barely warm. Given that at the time we ordered our food we were the only diners in the entire restaurant, to manage to produce two dishes cold takes some doing.
To be fair, the staff were very nice about the problems, and took the offending dishes off the bill without prompting. The chef also at least had the guts to come and talk to us about the issue, and we discussed how long he had actually cooked the fish and lobster or. As expected, the timings were absurdly long; he explained that some diners had complained that the fish had previously been undercooked, but to grotesquely overcook food is not the way to handle such an issue. The lesson for me was, when staying here, stick to Indian food.
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