Little known outside the Malayali community, Kozhikode Star is a hugely popular, pukka authentic Malabari chain of restaurants. This Qusais flagship branch is easily recognisable from the lunchtime queue outside its entrance, especially now that the number of tables inside have been reduced in compliance with C-19 restrictions. The interior resembles what I imagine the inside of an active beehive looks like – buzzing with activity. Everything is streamlined to maximise throughput – you are attended to almost as soon as your butt hits the seat, and you are served within seconds (I kid you not) of placing your order. Wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am.
I was here to try a combination of their Legon (or Leghorn) Chicken Biryani, a Calicut speciality, and their lunch thali – served on a traditional banana leaf. The first thing that strikes you with the biryani is that it uses short grain rice and that it is far less spicy than, say, a Pak Liyari biryani. Less spicy it may be, but it’s no less fragrant or delicious. The Legon chicken everybody had been raving about tasted just like, um, chicken. The thali was simply brilliant and included bhaji, curd rice, pickles, curry, rice and a fried king fish so pungent and spicy that even I thought twice about having seconds. Mixed in with the curd rice though, it was manageable, yummy even.
Malabari food in Dubai is so often stereotyped with Calicut Paragon or Naluketta – both amazing in their own rights. Having dined at both (and then some) I can tell you that Kozhikode Star is no less authentic, no less special. In fact, most of my Malayali friends prefer it to the places publicised by the WhatsOns and TimeOuts. Like the others, Kozhikode Star’s menu includes an extensive seafood section as well as a sub-section to the restaurant next door which specialises in grills. Service is friendly and Speedy Gonzalez fast. So, if you’re in the neighbourhood and craving an authentic Calicut meal, I strongly recommend you give this buzzing restaurant a try.
#1 Food Blogger on Zomato Dubai – 2018, 2019 and 2020
Xerxes (pronounced Zûrk’seez) physically dines at, or orders from, each and every venue he reviews. He pays in full for whatever he and his companions eat, drink, take away or occasionally throw at each other. Xerxes accepts no money, gifts, discounts or free meals in return for reviews or favouritism. What you have read was NOT influenced in any way by the venue. Join his culinary journey on Instagram: @ravenousxerxes or reach out to him via email on email@example.com.