Following my horrifying ordeal at the hands of the Ayurvedic sado-masseuse, I was really in need of some serious pampering – and this time it wasn’t for my mission, it was just for me. The long-suffering dashing gent by my side suggested that the best therapy at a time like this would be to whisk me away for an amazing evening of sumptuous food and fine wine (he knows me so well). Thus I was introduced to the magnificence that is the History Restaurant, located in the Brunton Boatyard Hotel, in the lovely town of Fort Cochin, Kerala, India.
The History is an ingenious concept in stylish travel –– why trudge around musty museums to learn the antiquity of your destination when you can explore it through your taste buds?
The History’s menu is quite a tome but makes for a pleasant perusal over an aperitif, as it gently guides you through the story of Fort Cochin’s origins, immigrants, influences and advances. But don’t for a second think this is pedantry! Knowing Cochin’s past only helps you to relish the present, as Head Chef Sanjay De takes you on a gastronomic adventure, starring the invading Dutch, conquering Portuguese, visiting Arabs, Kutchi Muslims, Tamil Brahmins, Jews, Konkanis, Anglo-Indians and more.
The food is exquisite and makes an exciting change to more typical Indian cuisine while retaining the exotic flavor and spice to which I am becoming accustomed – as most of the dishes sounded unfamiliar, we asked our lovely waiter for recommendations and were far from disappointed. Service was warm and friendly but unobtrusive, the décor was elegant and the views from the window, before the sun set, were sublime. When washed down with some surprisingly good Indian wine, and accompanied by the strains of a trio seated on cushions in the corner gently drumming out traditional tunes, the evening was the perfect antidote to some of the madness India can throw at you.
The Brunton Boatyard is considered one of south India’s finest boutique hotels, however if staying here is out of your price range (as it sadly was for me), make sure you pay a visit to the History restaurant, for your education as much as your stomach. Better yet, complain enough about how much your massage hurt to convince your significant other to treat you to dinner. It’s an experience that’s good for mind, body and soul.