Kera Garden [North Brunswick, NJ]

We happened to be at the Middlesex County Roads Department Saturday, so we tried Kera Garden, just up Route 130 from them. Kera Garden has the usual Indian fare (tandoori, chaats, dosas, vada, …), but also Kerala specialties, which is what we went for. The “decor” is minimal, pretty much like one of those primarily take-out Chinese strip mall restaurants, but minus the photo menu above the counter. There are about a dozen tables for eating in. If you want utensils, they’re all plastic.

Mark got the luncheon thali with mutton. I should have taken a photo, but I never remember. So IIRC, it had papad, roti, matta rice, achaar, soup (rasam?), upma, mutton curry, yellow dal, bhaji curry(?–it had green fibrous stalks in it), probably at least one or two other vegetable curries, yogurt, gulab jaman, and jalebi. Most of these were in 100ml metal dishes. (This was $12.99; with only vegetarian curries, it would be $9.99. There was probably not $3 worth of mutton in it.) I had the Shrimp Theeyal for $12.99, which had six reasonable-sized shrimp. We shared a lot of the items. I liked my dish a lot; it was very flavorful without being overly spicy. The matta rice was a nice change from the usual basmati (also available), and soaked up my sauce very well. I also liked the upma and the vegetable curries (except for the fibrous stalks). I am not a big fan of meat with a lot of bone, gristle, and/or fat, so the mutton curry was not to my liking. (Mark, on the other hand, prefers meat “that fights back.”) We also had a mango lassi, which tasted a little less sweet that I expected.

Were it closer, we would go more often, but we will definitely keep it in mind the next time we find ourselves in that area.


I love Kera Garden. I went for their beef fry and malabar parotta a few days after it opened. Looking forward to go back to try their lunch thalis and fish curries.

Anjappar down the road and Arusuvai are other Southern Indian restaurants nearby, though those are Tamilnadu and not Keralan. The only other Keralan one I know is Aroma in Warren.

1 Like

I am not very knowledgable about the differences in regional Indian food. How would you describe Keralan cuisine?

Kerala is the most southern state of India, best known its beaches, its coconuts, spices, and seafood. Usually a bit spicier than other regions. It shares some overlap with a few dishes in Sri Lanka. It’s considered Indian food with an islander twist.

Popular dishes include a variety of whole fish fries, prawn/fish curries in coconut milk and spices, and many dishes are typically cooked in/utilizing banana leaf. In addition, it’s one of the few states where beef is consumed, thus the dish beef fry (slow stewed dry beef, filled with spices and chopped coconut/veg) and malabar parotta (super flaky layered flatbread) is a nostalgic favorite of many from Kerala.

Because Kera Garden offers daily lunch thalis, in mutton, veg, or fish, it’s a great way to introduce oneself to the flavors.


Thank you for this information. I’ll be paying closer attention the next time I’m deciding where to eat.

1 Like