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Fancy dining in a three-storyed restored 300-year-old Dutch manor? Head for Villa Maya, a stone's throw from the international airport in Kerala capital Thiruvananthapuram, which has hit the headlines after it was ranked fourth among India's top 10 restaurants by travel portal Trip Advisor.
Entering this eatery, owned by the Muthoot Pappachan Group's hospitality venture - MPG Hotels and Infrastructure Ventures Private Limited - is like entering a bygone era as every bit of the structure has been lovingly restored to the original.
One can choose from a variety of cuisines - Italian, French, Mexican and Moroccan, not to mention the Kerala platters, be it seafood or otherwise.
"This is not the place for someone who wants to have a quick meal. This is a place where one needs to spend time. From start to finish, a minimum of 90 minutes is required," executive chef Shine S. Visakha told IANS.
As guests arrive, a complimentary welcome drink is on hand, besides two varieties of snacks.
Then begins the real eating experience, with 15 vegetarian and non-vegetarian appetizers, seven different varieties of salads and eight mouth- watering soups.
"For the main course, one can choose from more than 50 dishes. Along with the main dish are accompaniments like appams, rice, naans, rotis and numerous varieties of paranthas," said Visakha who has been at Villa Maya since it opened more than two years ago.
Moving on to the desserts, ice cream is the one thing you will not get here as the focus is on a dozen offerings like baked yoghurt, wattalapam from Sri Lanka and hazelnut brownies, to name a few.
"Before we say goodbye to our guests, there is a Barista coffee of choice," said Visakha, who has served as a chef on luxury liners for close to two decades.
All this comes at around Rs.1,000 per person. One can also choose from special dishes like a Kerala vegetarian platter at Rs.650, while the non-vegetarian one costs Rs.1,000.
The signature dish at Villa Maya, which is the highest priced, is the Kerala seafood platter, which comprises three jumbo prawns, two portions of seer fish, shrimp masala, chettinad style fried fish and squid. It costs Rs.1,500.
Also not to be missed are the two maharaja beds if reclining while eating is your style.
Basking in the glory of owning this plush outlet is Preeti Muthoot, director, Muthoot Hotels Division, who said she was delighted Villa Maya has been ranked fourth in the country. She promised guests they can look forward to an even better experience in future.
(Sanu George can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)