Malluland Drive

Ducking out of another hotel dinner, I put my fate in the hands of taxi driver Ainaz, who promptly took me to Zam Zam in nearby Thiruvanthapuram.

A short drive from the hotel, Thiruvananthapuram (I hope I don’t to write that again – even copy-paste is tough) turned out to be (disappointingly for a capital city of a state) a small and somewhat rundown town; possibly a reflection of Kerala’s communist dysfunction. Civic infrastructure – roads, sidewalks, garbage, traffic lights – were mostly non-existent, giving the town a feel of the uncomplimentary kind of backwater. We wound through the city’s main road (named, with the usual inevitability, after MG), past mostly uncrowded shops and jewellers, past Tripadvisor #1 Azad Restaurant to the end of the road – Zam Zam.


Now the one thing to be said for the place is that unlike the rest of the road, Zam Zam (and its three neighbours) were buzzing with cars and people. I nearly came back out since there was no place to sit, but the waiter took pity on my obvious out of town helplessness and cleared up a table for me.


Zam Zam isn’t what I expected – its biggest menu successes are not remotely mallu. Shawarma, fried and rotisserie chicken rule the roost here. I ordered an Iftar special – mutton kuruma and Ottu roty (some kind of rice roti) but apparently that had run out, so malabar parthas. They were decently nice, certainly more mallu than all the pitas and shawarmas swarming around led me to expect. Zam Zam also pushes a whole lone line of juices, ice creams and things called ‘parafites’ and ‘sandaes’ but for obvious reasons I kept my distance from them.

Still waiting for appams…

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