We are travelling from Kasargod to Kochi, a 10 hour journey by road with only one stop; at Calicut for lunch.
Calicut is known as the food capital of Kerala. We have only one place in mind to have lunch from at Calicut - Paragon. We have eaten their famous biryani at the Paragon restaurant in Lulu mall in Kochi, but never from their home state of Calicut. Setting off from Bekal by 9:30 am, we reach the Calicut bypass by 2:00 pm and have to venture into Calicut town to reach Paragon.
We reach the Paragon restaurant on Kannur road by 3:00 pm. It's Monday and we are in queue for a table. If it was a weekend, waiting for a table at 3:00 pm at Paragon was understandable, but on a Monday also !!? There are three functional divisions for the restaurant - non A/C, A/C and deluxe A/C and all the three places have long queues. We are determined only to eat from here and we wait our turn patiently.
After 15 minutes, we get a table. The staff is incredibly courteous. Despite the rush and crowd, things are cleared and served in an orderly manner and we are very very hungry. We order the famous chicken biryani and it arrived wrapped in a parcel of aluminium foil. Opening the foil, revealed another layer of banana leaf and the glorious biryani !!
The sides of coconut chutney, date pickle and raita have to be mentioned. We also ordered a side of tawa fried seer fish. It looks fiery red, not that spicy; but extremely tasty. We wash all this down with a tall glass of lemon juice. Payasam (kheer) is what they suggested, sweet temptation; but having wolfed down one full biryani each, we just couldn't eat anything more. We are visibly happy and delightfully content with the lunch. The biryani and the combo was super good and worth the detour from the highway and the long wait.
Back in the Jeep and we resume our journey to Kochi. Paragon boasts of its year of inception as 1939, originating in Calicut. Biryani aficionados used to travel all the way from Kochi to Calicut to eat the famous biryani. It's been a few years since Paragon opened doors in Kochi and now in the capital city Thiruvananthapuram also. The queue however has not reduced a bit and Paragon biryani is a must try !!