Keralan food is totally different to the food you will find in most Indian restaurants says Benny James, the founder of Thanal Restaurant in Newark.
Fish is a primary feature of South Indian cuisine which in main is due to the industry of creekside communities on the Malabar coast. One of the signature dishes of the head chef, Benny's brother Biju, is the saltwater kingfish. The kingfish is a staple of the cooking in Kerala. You will also find beef on the menu as Kerala is one of the parts of India that uses beef in cuisine.
One of the renowned dishes is poached beef with nuts, fried potatoes and cocunut milk which is making my mouth water as I type. The seafood selection includes fish braised in cocunut milk with shallots, ginger, garlic and fenugreek seeds and pan-fried pomfret with kerala spices and tamarind, served with kizhangu cheer curry.
A big bonus is the prices are not off-putting. All main courses are under a tenner and starter and desserts under a fiver.
Customer service is second to none. Thanal's motto is 'Treat your guest equal to God'