It’s hard to deem that this deferential lounge bar has 21 genera of brandy, unrelenting assortment of wine, beer, rum and whiskey in the cellar with an emphasis on esoteric and forthright producers. But that differential lounge also got a kitchen that is a continued success where the 1,100-degree coals have been especially favorable to fish, like a butterflied whole black Pomfret or the regal tawa fish vented with vertical slashes and served with green veggie-lime vinaigrette. Chef John is a major talent in his own right, with an aromatic coal-fired grill and a knack for herb-blasted seasonality that give his flavors a refreshing and vivid boost.
Few wines other than Brandy have been pigeonholed into a small window of seasonal as well as daily drinking of Kerala quite as much as Tea, which has primarily occupied our sipping consciousness. Thus, when the latest, the fruitiest, unaged version of any famous grape brandy is released in India, Kochi becomes the launching pad. But savvy drinkers know this grape snifter is capable of far greater depth, aging potential and brand value. And at Diwan, the spread of Brandy assortment is well kept and served with its deep golden brown hue, aromas of stony earth, ripe grapes, and an almost lush burst of oak casks that has a sparkle of cracked pepper on the finish.
With good ambience and a distinctive hospitality to give it the symphony, this lounge is especially versatile when it comes to drinks and food and more than makes its case as an ‘evening-life’ worthy. And in an era in which food and cocktails has become common enough to go beyond its onetime novelty status, the food at Diwan which excels at comfort and savor is paired with drinks in perfect balance. It’s celebration central for a senior slice of Kochi diners and travelers. And while it may not be the most personal setting, it is nonetheless a reliable for an upscale dinner of high-quality seafood, classic indulgences, local delicacies plus a lively bar scene.
Diwan’s continued success proves not only that an energetic lounge bar can spark a downtown revival, but that a great one can age gracefully and remain relevant even while the landscape around it rapidly changes. Amid this rustic room’s boisterous tendencies, as in reliably great, and even exciting, the menu here manages to draw the kind of powerful flavors from traditional cooking in their detail-driven tribute to classic Kerala flavors. Thus the Kappa-Fish Curry is a big draw here. Turmeric yellow tinge of mashed tapioca seasoned with mustard, curry leaves and fried chilly slices is an ever convincing combo with the oceanic whiff of velvety sardine curry in red chilly gravy. Tapioca Biriyani, Appam and Stew, Traditional Malabar biriyani, Mussel Stir Fry, Kerala Style Beef Fry and Malabar Parotta - the delicacies will surely pamper the fondness for your favorite brews.
So, welcome to Diwan Lounge, innovation and antiquity entwined in a fresher high-toned style. At this imperial atelier, enjoy your favorite brew with a touch of oak spice and preserved fruit notes; backed by the food menu, a real cuddle of a palate. Up a notch? Snoop to Dylan Thomas poem that hums in the Kochi breeze - “Though imbibers at their drunkest know sober is right……..”