Coconut Lagoon Review + Chef’s Signature Recipe
Experience untouched Kerala in Kumarakom at Coconut Lagoon.
You must arrive at the resort by boat as no roads lead to the resort. Enjoy the view of the glittering Vembanad Lake from your traditional Tharavad home.
Watch the chefs create extraordinary dishes during the cooking demonstration, explore the backwaters and unwind with a relaxing massage.
With authentic Keralan cuisine and breathtaking landscapes, Coconut Lagoon is a delightful feast for your senses.
There’s only one way to reach Coconut Lagoon: over the water. Their private jetty is only a kilometre away.
The 10-minute boat ride over the scenic lake, past the lazy coconut palms to the resort, set the tone of your holiday to come — novel and exciting, yet nurturing and relaxed!
Coconut Lagoon is 10 kilometres from Kottayam, the nearest town. It’s a 25-minute boat ride from the Puthenangadi boat landing and a 45 kilometres drive from Kochi. It’s 86 kilometres away from the Cochin International Airport.
Staying at Coconut Lagoon
Coconut Lagoon is located on Vembanad Lake. It’s one of the largest inland lakes in India. History and water are the defining elements at Coconut Lagoon.
The guest cottages are all individual works of art. Built in 1993 from the remnants of Tharavads (old mansions) that were once family homes of the nobles of the land.
All mansions were brought here in sections. Then, they were painstakingly reassembled by skilled craftsmen so that you could experience what it’s like to live in the celebrated and ancient houses of yore.
In homage to the environment that sustains and supports all, they have their own saved grove. It’s a piece of pristine forest that’s dedicated to nature and at the same time keeping with a time-honoured tradition.
Kerala Tharavadu Heritage
At Coconut Lagoon, the accommodations extend beyond the borders of contentment and comfort. They approach it as a distinctive experience — the one that you’ll fondly recall for its variety and uniqueness.
They have three types of accommodations at Coconut Lagoon:
- Heritage Bungalows: They have 27 Heritage Bungalows. All of them have partly open-to-sky bathrooms and private sit-outs. They’re all twin-bedded. One bungalow has specifically been designed for the physically challenged, with no steps and wheelchair friendly access and railings in the bathrooms among other amenities.
- Heritage Mansions: They have 14 Heritage Mansions. 8 out of the 14 mansions are twin-bedded and the remaining 6 are large-bedded. A duplex room is situated on the upper story and each mansion has a partly open-to-sky bathroom and a private sit-out.
- Lake Front Villas with Private Pools: They have 8 private pool villas. All of them are double-bedded. They all have a separate living room, a spacious bedroom, a closed bathroom, a passage, a private sit out and a private pool.
Regardless of the accommodation that you choose, it will have a mystique nested within that’ll captivate you in its own charming way. And just like humans, no two rooms are alike! They have their own secrets and charms to be discovered.
However, all guest accommodations are united by an aesthetic agenda that’s guided and inspired by ‘the natural’ and ‘the regional’.
They’ve sourced old artefacts, furniture and other materials directly from the traditional manors or are created by skilled craftsmen to manifest a rare holiday experience for you.
Amenities and Services
- Laundry service
- Sewing kit
- 2 bottles of packaged water every day
- Coffee and tea maker
- Cold and hot water
- Shaving kit
- Dental kit
- Minibar (chargeable)
- Complimentary WiFi
- Safe deposit locker
- AC rooms
- Check-in at 2:00 p.m and check out at 11:00 a.m.
- Ironing board and iron on request
Facilities at Coconut Lagoon
- Working Out and Walking. Guests are encouraged to walk around the property as much as possible to experience the unique character. Yoga classes are organised for the guests. Those who wish to work out more can head to the resort’s gym.
- WiFi Access. Stay connected with work and family throughout your holiday with Coconut Lagoon’s complimentary WiFi. However, it’s best that you enjoy the holiday minimally plugged or unplugged. Allow nature to lead your heart and eyes for a change!
- Club of Nature. Join the naturalists at Darter Club which is the interpretation center at Coconut Lagoon. Get to know the biodiversity of Vembanad Lake and its satellite ecosystems. If you’re a bird lover, then you’ll have incredible days of bird spotting.
- Trophies and Trinkets. All committed trophy hunters should visit the resort’s shop. They have a wide range of items from Kerala that make for the best souvenirs and gifts. From beautiful statues to stunning shawls, you have it all.
- Healing Time. Their Ayurveda centre offers a range of herbal therapies and massages to help you get rid of stress. The therapies promise to shape you up a little bit while you are on the holiday.
- A Lakeside Pool. Their swimming pool has two purposes: it helps you cool off on a hot day and soak in the grandeur and beauty of Vembanad Lake.
- Other Facilities: Butterfly garden, Yoga and meditation hall, Business centre, Nature and ecological interpretation centre, and Fish farm.
Things To Do
There are a lot of things to do when you’re at Coconut Lagoon such as:
- Explore Life on the Backwaters
- Dance Performance
- Instrumental Music
- Cooking Demonstration
- Environmental Tour
- Tabla Demonstration
- Craft Demonstration
- Dhoti/Saree Draping
- Kalari Payattu Demonstration
- Sunset Cruise
- Visit the Bird Sanctuary and Farms
- Bird Watching
- Visit the Butterfly Garden
- Try your hand at Kalari, the school of Martial Arts.
Activities outside the resort:
All these activities are chargeable but worth every penny!
- Lunch Cruise on the House Boat
- Kottayam, Temple Visit
- Canoe Ride into the Inland Canals
- Experience Village Life.
Food and Beverage
Kerala is known for its bewitching coastlines, misty mountains and dreamy waterways. Its polity and history are also reputed. But only a few know the specialness of its cuisine — enigmatic and unique!
Experience Kerala’s enchanted cuisine at Coconut Lagoon. They have the following restaurants:
- Aymanam: Situated on the lakeside, it’s a seafood speciality restaurant. The waterfront restaurant offers you a chance to experience the local Keralan food. The food is made with utmost care and lovingly served on banana leaves for authenticity. It’s recommended that you try the regional fish curry and tapioca with crushed bird’s eye chilli. Their buffet offers you a chance to indulge in Kerala’s rare recipes prized all around Kerala that are unknown to the outside world. Most of the dishes are centred around fish, notably the ‘Karimeen’ which is the legendary Pearl spot fish of the backwaters. Dine with an air of quaint serenity at Aymanam. Breakfast is served between 7:30 to 10 a.am., lunch is served between 1-3 p.m., and dinner is served between 7:30 to 10 p.m.
- Ettukettu: This restaurant celebrates Kerala’s authentic cuisines. Also, enjoy Continental and North Indian cuisines along with a rustic ambience. Lunch is served between 1-3 p.m, evening tea and snacks are served between 4-5 p.m. and dinner is served between 7:30 to 10 p.m.
- Vembanad Grill: Step into this garden cafe to relish the fresh catch of the day, grilled to perfection.
- Chaya Vallam: It’s a unique tea service that comes on a boat.
- Heron’s Pond Bar: It’s a fully-fledged bar that serves signature cocktails and mocktails.
Exclusive Dining Experiences at Coconut Lagoon
If you’re staying at Coconut Lagoon for over a day, it’s highly recommended that you opt for their exclusive dining experiences.
- Canoe Ride: Hop on the canoe with a picnic basket.
- Lakeside Dining: Enjoy a private dining experience on the lakefront with your loved one.
- Paddy Hut: Enjoy a private dining experience in the paddy fields with your loved one.
About the Chef
During my stay, I had the fortune of speaking to Chef Jerry Mathew.
He joined CGH Earth Experience Hotels in 2000 at its flagship hotel Casino after his catering graduation. He was trained in the fields of confectionery and bakery but transitioned into the field of Indian cuisine. So far, he has served in five properties of the CGH group including the Brunton Boatyard, Marari Beach Resort and Spice Village.
At the Brunton Boatyard, he always ensured a touch of local taste both at the History Restaurant where a unique menu is influenced by ancient traders of the Arab, Jewish, Portuguese and Dutch era and at the Seafood Kitchen where the freshest Seafood is carted.
Chef Jerry is an exponent of serving fresh foods and he leaves no stone unturned to provide the diners with the best quality foods. The efforts put forth by the chef in starting a garden restaurant coined “Farm Kitchen”, where he successfully implemented the ‘Farm to Fork’ concept at Marari Beach is laudable.
He then moved to Spice Village, Thekkady, known for the best species in India. Unlike many of today’s younger generation chefs, he practices the art of ‘Responsible Cuisine’ with passion and awareness. The 50-mile restaurant and the articulated spice cuisine at Spice Village deliver food experiences to travellers with great respect to the local community and the environment. His hand and glove relationship with the naturalists gives the added advantage of knowing every ingredient from its original perspective.
Chef Jerry proved his mettle once again on this trip to South Africa. He was invited by the famous Legacy group of hotels to train their chefs on different Indian favours. Food festivals and press events were conducted to promote Indian cuisine.
Currently, he heads the Coconut Lagoon culinary team. He specializes in authentic Kerala Cuisine. Therefore, Coconut Lagoon is loaded with wonders of its distinct culinary tradition: real Kerala food made with care as you would make at home served on banana leaves.
The humble chef has acquired the skills of putting on the plate local superfoods of the tropics in the way nature wants it. His in-depth knowledge of infusing flavours helps him to use it holistically, a step above the regular use of spices in cooking.
Kootu Curry and Chilli Coconut Rice Recipe
Kootu Curry is a thick curry-based dish made of legumes and vegetables. Serve it with Chilli Coconut Recipe to enjoy festivals such as Vishu and Onam. They’re one of the most important dishes of Onam Sadhya.
100 g black chickpeas, 400 g mixed vegetables
For dry roasting:
1 sprig of curry leaves, 3 tsp coriander seeds, 5 shallots, 5 cloves of garlic, 1 cup grated coconut, 2 tbsp coconut oil
½ cup of Coconut milk, ½ tsp Fennel powder, Salt (to taste), ½ tsp pepper powder, 2 tsp coriander powder, 1 tsp chilli powder, ½ tsp turmeric powder, 1 sprig of curry leaves, 2 onions (finely chopped), 2 green chillies (finely chopped), A small piece of ginger (finely chopped), 3 dry red chillies, ½ tsp mustard seeds, 2 tbsp coconut oil
Thoroughly wash and clean the black chickpeas. Boil them with salt until done. Drain and keep aside. For dry roasting, saute the grated coconut in oil with coriander seeds, curry leaves, garlic, dry chillies and shallots. When the grated coconut turns golden brown in colour, remove it from the fire and make it into a fine paste. For the gravy, heat oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and let them crackle. Toss in the curry leaves and red chillies and stir. Add and saute chopped onions, ginger and green chillies. When the onion turns light brown in colour, add turmeric, coriander and chilli powders. Saute and add the roasted paste of coconut with mixed vegetables. Allow the vegetables to cook before adding the boiled chickpeas. Continue to cook for a few minutes. Stir in the coconut milk. Stir in the pepper and fennel powders. Serve hot with Chilli Coconut Rice.
Chilli Coconut Rice
1 tsp cashew nuts, 1 sprig of curry leaves, Salt, to taste, 5 whole red chillies, 1 tsp Urad dal, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 3 tbsp coconut oil, 100 g grated coconut, 500 g rice
Boil the rice and keep it aside. Heat oil in a thick-bottomed pan and allow the mustard seeds to crackle. Add split cashew nuts, Urad dal, curry leaves and whole red chillies. Saute for a few minutes before adding the grated coconut. Saute again for a few more minutes and add the boiled rice along with salt. Mix well and cover with a lid. Continue to cook on a low flame for a few minutes. Serve hot with Kootu Curry.
Kootu Curry and Chilli Coconut Rice Recipe
Ingredients required to make Kootu Curry
- 100 g black chickpeas
- 400 g mixed vegetables
For dry toasting:
- 1 sprig of curry leaves
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 5 shallots
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 1 cup grated coconut
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- ½ cup of Coconut milk
- ½ tsp fennel powder
- salt to taste
- ½ tsp pepper powder
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 2 onions finely chopped
- 2 green chillies finely chopped
- A small piece of ginger finely chopped
- 3 dry red chillies
- ½ tsp mustard seeds
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
Ingredients required to make Chilli Coconut Rice
- 1 tsp cashew nuts
- 1 sprig of curry leaves
- salt to taste
- 5 whole red chillies
- 1 tsp Urad dal
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 3 tbsp coconut oil
- 100 g grated coconut
- 500 g rice
Ingredients to make Kootu Curry
- Thoroughly wash and clean the black chickpeas. Boil them with salt until done. Drain and keep aside.
- For dry roasting, saute the grated coconut in oil with coriander seeds, curry leaves, garlic, dry chillies and shallots.
- When the grated coconut turns golden brown in colour, remove it from the fire and make it into a fine paste.
- For the gravy, heat oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and let them crackle. Toss in the curry leaves and red chillies and stir. Add and saute chopped onions, ginger and green chillies.
- When the onion turns light brown in colour, add turmeric, coriander and chilli powders.
- Saute and add the roasted paste of coconut with mixed vegetables.
- Allow the vegetables to cook before adding the boiled chickpeas.
- Continue to cook for a few minutes. Stir in the coconut milk.
- Stir in the pepper and fennel powders. Serve hot with Chilli Coconut Rice.
Directions to make Kootu Curry
- Boil rice and keep it aside.
- Heat oil in a thick-bottomed pan and allow the mustard seeds to crackle.
- Add split cashew nuts, Urad dal, curry leaves and whole red chillies.
- Saute for a few minutes before adding the grated coconut.
- Saute again for a few more minutes and add the boiled rice along with salt.
- Mix well and cover with a lid. Continue to cook on a low flame for a few minutes.
- Serve hot with Kootu Curry.
Culture, Community and Ecology
- Cows Calling: Only a handful of resorts have cows in their gardens and permit guests to closely interact with them. Coconut Lagoon is a museum and home to the rare breed of cows that originate in Vechoor (a region nearby). This unique breed of indigenous cattle, recognised by their short stature, are dying out. Coconut Lagoon is hoping to revive it through its committed interventions for its wellbeing.
- Heritage Conscious: The traditional wooden homes you see at Coconut Lagoon are actually old houses. They have been carefully dismantled and relocated to this property from surrounding villages
- to create a singular living experience for our guests. They also did this in order to protect them from being stripped down and sold as souvenirs in the vast antique market. It is their way of paying homage to and preserving an old but venerable style of architecture and house building that is fast approaching extinction.
- Vocal For Local: They believe Coconut Lagoon is an extension of the village with no physical or metaphorical walls. They closely interact with the local community and have built up an intimate association with them, who they deem as neighbours and friends. Locals also benefit economically from their operations as they give due priority to local sourcing.
- Not Wasting Waste: They turn our wet waste into vermicompost and biogas, which is used as manure and cooking fuel respectively. Some of their dry waste is used in truly creative ways. The plastic is used to make for attractive interim building material while bottles, cups and paper cans are up-cycled into decorative items for various events at the resort.
- Local in Spirit: Their people hail from local communities and neighbourhoods, and the experiences they offer stem from the character of their location and reflect the true face of the land.
For reservations, contact them via:
Telephone: +91 484 4261711/+91 481 2526200
Address: Coconut Lagoon, Kumarakom, Kottayam District, Kerala-686563
Located in the enchanting and sheltered cove in Kumarakom, Coconut Lagoon reflects the magnificence and diversity of Vembanad Lake. It’s a CGH Earth experience that respects the delicate and rich ecosphere and the vibrant culture of the Kuttanad region. The hospitality is unparalleled and I highly recommend you choose their resort if you’re planning to visit Kumarakom.
Shristi is an avid reader, recipe developer and wellness enthusiast. She’s probably making a mess in her kitchen right now.