Ayela, the Thai seafood restaurant at the Dream Cochin, Kochi, is named after a fish delicacy in Kerala. but that’s not the only thing that makes this endearing eatery special, says Maria Louis
The traditional blue fishing net that adorns the ceiling is at odds with the contemporary interiors of this Thai seafood restaurant at Dream Cochin. It does jar when you first see it, but it’s an endearing nod in the direction of the backwater setting of the five-star deluxe hotel making waves in Kerala. The centre of attraction in the main dining area is the Thai boat-inspired seating that comfortably accommodates 10 guests. Made of rich mahogany-finish teakwood, it is complemented by the warmth of its snug velvet-finish upholstery.
Launched on April 5 by Vikram Chatwal with his customary flourish (a throng of celebrities flew in for the launch), the hotel is still in a nascent stage and the restaurant designed by Kwanchai from Thailand was yet to receive its liquor licence when we visited. So, the typical Kerala sailing boat, sourced locally and waterproofed for the purpose, stood in readiness to receive its bed of crushed ice that would showcase the fish and lobsters of the day.
For now, it’s only on weekends that the restaurant really comes alive, when guests can enjoy their favourite tipple along with the fresh, organic fruit de mer.
Mahogany is also used for the collapsible partitions that segregate the three private dining-rooms that comfortably seat each. While the designer is from Thailand and all the ingredients and equipment used, not to mention the staff, are imported from there, the comfortably large chairs and custom-designed tables in different sizes and shapes were made in India.
With its mirror-finish ceiling reflecting the rich wooden furniture, marble flooring offset by Bisazza tiles adjoining the show kitchen, chandeliers that create a star-spangled effect and exclusive crockery, Ayela is a warm yet classy place to see and be seen. Once everything is in place, it promises to be the fulfillment of a dream for seafood lovers in Kochi.