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A Paragon of Restauranteur Virtue
Oct 30, 2008 04:35 PM 11223 Views

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Most visitors to Kozhikode (Calicut) are interested in one thing-to check out the culinary specialty of the region, the famed Malabar Biriyani! While a number of restaurants cater to this need, some to the exclusion of all other dishes, one of the best in the business over the last two decades or more has been the Paragon Restaurant.

For a long time, and perhaps even now, Paragon was not the first choice for visitors to the city. It was hampered by its location, under a flyover, old style of construction with poor amenities and lack of parking. As a result the clientele were mostly from the lower strata of the society and the high flyers contented themselves with ordering take-home packages. All that changed once they acquired some more land, built a posh restaurant capable of seating an army and provided loads of parking space.

Today,  the restaurant boasts a clean and modern ambience with air conditioned and ordinary areas. the clientele include prominent businessmen, professionals and even cine artistes. In peak hours, there is often a queue waiting outside the restaurant, for seats to fall vacant. As the restaurant is always crowded, it would be too much to expect the place to be calm and quiet, and if it is a romantic getaway that you are after, better look elsewhere!

Paragon is first and foremost an eatery, and they excel in providing you with food that tastes fantastic. I have never tried their vegetarian dishes and so my comments are based solely on my experience with the meat dishes. I believe that they make the best Kerala Parathas in town, and it would be worth a visit just to try this dish. Of course, other delicacies like Vella-appam, puttu and a variety of rices are also available as the main dish. The biriyani is also excellent, but then this is the land of biriyani and there are a number of other candidates vying for the title of the hotel with the BEST biriyani in town. Exotically named dishes such as Fish Kombath (fish on a tree-branch), Chicken Pallipalayam etc are definitely show stoppers. Add the fact that practically any Kerala dish you can think of, such as Fish Molly, fish pollichathu, prawns in different avatars, squid, crab, chicken and mutton dishes are on the menu, and you have a winning formula for a successful restaurant.

The only weakness that I have discerned in their menu is in the desserts section, which is limited to a few familiar ice creams, caramel custard, fruit salad and the like! But then, why crib about trifles when your stomach will be somersaulting with joy after a culinary treat!

The fame of the Paragon Restaurant has spread beyond our boundaries, and the firm responded by opening its first overseas branch, The Salkara Restaurant, in Dubai. One of my friends was witness one day to the secret of their success (other than the great food, of course). While he was waiting to get a seat, he overheard the person at the counter taking a order for a meal for a family, to be home delivered. After taking the order, he called up the hotel in Dubai, and transmitted the order, giving an address in DUbai! Apparently, the caller was an NRI from Kozhikode, who called the number of the establishment in Kozhikode by mistake, while intending to place an order to be delivered to his house in Dubai. Instead of just asking him to call the local branch, the teller had actually taken the entire order and then transmitted it to the concerned branch, demonstrating the art of taking care of the customer! With such panache while dealing with clients coupled with sublime cooking, this restaurant is set to scale still greater heights in future!

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Paragon Restaurant - Kannur Road - Kozhikode