This shop in Kozhikode in Kerala has been around forever. Started by Bhaskaran and Kumaran over 60 years ago, their sons run the place now. I’m not sure it even has a name, but people call it Bhaskarettante Kada (Brother Bhaskar’s shop) or Paal Sarbathukkada (Milk Sarbath shop).
They do only one thing — sarbath — and you can get it with milk (paal sarbath), sparkling water (soda sarbath) or water (sarbath) or masala (masala sarbath). I used to love drinking this as a kid, but now I reserve this special treat for when I’m in Kerala. I can’t imagine a more refreshing drink than one of these to beat the mid-day heat (I usually get the soda sarbath or plain sarbath). It also makes for a wonderful dessert drink after a meal at the equally popular Paragon restaurant next door.
Translated from the original in Malayalam, thanks to my cousin Deepa and Olam:
At the heart of the sarbath is a syrup made from the root of Indian sarsaparilla, locally called nannari. It tastes sweet, earthy and medicinal; a little like a mild root beer, but not quite.
It’s perpetually crowded, there is no queueing system — you just have to find a way to place your order, and a drink will magically appear in a few minutes. The only thing that has changed in all these years is the use of those over-sized gloves in the name of hygiene.
Bhaskarettante Kada is near Paragon Hotel, Kannur Road, Near CH Orbits, Kozhikode, Kerala 673 001