Hailing back to those pre-oven, caveman age, Kochi has just opened its first raw-food restaurant. No, it’s not just crudités, Primate in Panampilly Nagar has an array of high-end raw dishes.
Conceived and built by Eldho Pachilakkadan, an architect- turned social worker, Primate doesn't limit itself to preparing and serving food, it propagates a lifestyle.
A perfect hang out for the health fashionistas, the restaurant offers you pasta, cheese cakes, French fries, spring rolls, burgers, biriyani and the like – and we repeat, it’s all raw. The crew attempts to recreate the taste and texture of cooked food in the uncooked.
Pachilakkadan considers it thus: “I myself don’t see Primate as a commercial food court. Primate is a food cafe where you can learn and get familiarized with a new way or perhaps a really old food culture. My recipes are open to curiosities. I actually want people to take our recipes home.”
Start with the tender coconut soup, which comes in a matki shaped ceramic vessel, and garnished with a delicate coriander leaf. Against all anticipations, the soup is hot, spicy and appetizing. The hot flavor of ginger dominates the mouth. Garlic, cinnamon and coriander make their presence felt – their mixed flavor dance on the tongue even after you finish the soup. Wait for a minute before you pig yourself on the Mexican Taco salad ready on your table. You need to contemplate on 'the' soup and the very last fume of garlic that goes out of you with a burp.
Now there is a sturdily raw North American awaiting you. Taco salads have always been the way forward for healthy eaters. With finely chopped veggies and an ambrosial Mexican sauce that blends the distinct flavors and that mighty lettuce leaf, which carries it all, the platter is so full of color down here at Primate. Roll it and tuck it in your mouth and enjoy the soothing taste of juicy raw veggies.
Time for a dessert? Primate doesn’t disappoint you. Find in this small bowl next you, a combo of three raw sweet preparations: a slice of creamy chocolaty cheese cake, a date-chocolate toffee ball and two walnut biscuits stuck to each other with honey.
“I serve at Primate, all that I have felt to be the food of humans,” says Eldho. “Every plant has a plan for its seed. A paddy plant doesn’t wish its child to be undressed, boiled, cooked and get mixed with fish gravy. It wants birds to eat its seeds so that the seed will germinate somewhere far. But a mango tree has a different plan. It wants primates to eat its fruit and throw the seed away. There is a function, a natural responsibility that is carried out through the process of eating. What if honey bees switch to a fruit diet? The entire balance of the nature will be lost! Primates have a responsibility too. Nature screams for our return. I propagate this very responsibility,” he adds.
Eldho’s company is very well a tasty side dish for anyone who visits Primate. He tries to spend a good amount of time with every customer, explaining the ideology of raw food. The restaurant’s ambiance itself calls for a return to the nature. Designed with log-benches, wooden stools and bean bags, the crew has made the space very cozy and homely. You can find ripen oranges on the pot-grown trees, and there are bamboos in the corners. The open kitchen renders enough recipe transparency.
Never forget to read their tabloid catalog ‘Prime Time’, which narrates the raw-food propaganda as veggie-featured news stories. Primate satisfies your hunger with a gluten-free menu, while still exciting your taste buds in the right way.