Restaurant industry in the Malabar region is on a course of major transition, thanks to the pandemic induced crisis. Medium and premium restaurants in the region are increasingly seen a new trend of restructuring their menu and introducing innovative tastes to woo customers.

Food sector has always been a flourishing and evolving business in the Malabar region. However, the recent restrictions owing to the pandemic has a cascading effect on the very existence of many outlets. This has forced the restaurant owners to rethink and take a different path by reforming the existing menu and introducing the continental varieties which were not available in medium restaurants in the past. While many present a fusion menu of continental dishes combined with traditional ones, many others purely serve items such as pastas, soups, starters and transnational main courses which were not accessible to the customers before.

For the last decade, Arabian tastes have dominated the menu of almost all types of food outlets in Malabar. From eateries along the roadsides to premium restaurants alike were competing with each other to serve popular Arabian dishes such as Alfaham, Mandi and Shawarma. But, some of the budding entrepreneurs feel that unchanged tastes are the major reason that keep the customers away from eateries. They are of the view that introduction of new varieties is essential to maintain the crowding in restaurants and thereby to rejuvenate the sector from the loss during the pandemic years.

A group of young entrepreneurs who recently launched a continental restaurant named ‘Call E Flower Eateries’ in Kottakkal in Malappuram district point out that understanding the customer perspective is indisputable mantra in the food sector. “Human beings are always looking for unrelished tastes and new dishes. If we cannot provide them items what they are looking for, this sector cannot withstand the present crisis”, they say. “’Call E Flower’ is an attempt to touch the pulse of food lovers in Malabar. We offer world-class multi-cuisine items which were no longer available here before on reasonable price”, they add.

Chef Hamza Kuniyil, who has more than a decade of experience in preparing continental dishes in a renowned restaurant group in Abu Dabi, UAE, endorses this view by saying that at least a dozen of continental varieties are very much suitable to the tastes of Kerala’s food lovers. “Introduction of these dishes will only support the already embattled food outlets in our region”, he said.

Similar to the practice of the ‘Call E Flower’, the move to introduce transnational foods gained momentum in the region with many established restaurants in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts replacing the existing items with the continental varieties. Moreover, a range of new restaurants are slowly mushrooming in these districts with the continental menu as their major attraction.

Healthy Menu
The pandemic has set a stage for the emergence of healthy menu in restaurants. “People are increasingly becoming health conscious after the pandemic. Many of them prefer to nutrient rich and low-carb diets to stay away from life-style diseases. Of late, we often receive more enquiries for healthy dishes and owing to this our menu has found a place for special health items”, said Chef Hamza Kuniyil.