It's been plugged already in local publications such as The Bedford Clanger, but I really feel that The Cochin needs to be sung about much more loudly from the rooftops because the success of this restaurant will be in part reflective of our attitude to our town and of the issues that it faces: namely, diversity and independence.
As you’ve probably noticed, here at Planet we’re always banging on about the importance of independent retailers because we provide the diversity not seen on every high street. One of the gripes I had when I first came to Bedford was the lack of diversity of restaurants especially given - ironically - the actual scale of ethnic diversity in the town. One thing I particularly yearned for was South Indian food, as I had been to the South of India a couple of times and got a real taste for it. As an example of how much I loved it, on my last day in India a friend and I were employed as film extras in a Bollywood movie and the most exciting prospect for us was that payment would, in part, be in the form of a Masala Dosa!
For the uninitiated it needs to be emphasised that South Indian cuisine is very different from the food of North India. After all, India is a sub continent and to expect the food of Delhi to be the same as that of Bangalore is like thinking that Greek nosh will be the same as German food. Whereas the use of many of the same spices is in evidence in South indian food, for me it is the marriage particularly of curry leaves with coconut that produces the quintessential flavour and aroma of South Indian food and takes me right back to the Thali houses of Bangalore and Mysore. The owners have rightly ditched the usual North Indian curries that they at first offered alongside the South Indian ones, forcing diners out of their Chicken Tikka Masala comfort zone and into the new and very different world of Keralan flavours. Like a baby giving up its dummy though, curry addicts need something appetising as a replacement and The Cochin does not disappoint. The dishes served up here are as dense with flavour and richness as a Shakespearean play is with poetry. So if you haven’t sampled its fragrant - and, by the way - reasonably-priced delights, I urge you to book a table immediately. After all, if we don’t use it, we’ll lose it. And that would be a culinary tragedy.