- 03 Nov 2016
- Rheanna Mathews
If you go down Shanmugam Road, Marine Drive in the afternoon, you’d see a restaurant, hardly a month old, brimming with happy foodies and techies on their lunch break. The rush of customers dies down in the evening, but Zanafar and Faizal, the duo who runs Pathumma’s Kitchen, are around to welcome those who come to the basement restaurant, drawn by the promise of fulfilling food.
When asked about Pathumma’s Kitchen and how it came into being, pat comes the reply. Faizal and Zanafar have been friends and self-proclaimed foodies for a while now. Indulging their passion for food took them to places all over the country and gave them an awareness of the nuances of South Indian cuisine.
When home at Kochi, they realised that restaurants featuring most other cuisines have been done to death and decided that it was high time someone highlighted the rich food heritage of the south. Once the idea took root, there was no stopping them.
When asked about the story behind the very quaint name of the restaurant, they seemed to relish the telling of it. Faizal enthusiastically described how Pathumma is an ubiquitous name, present in almost every household and that they wanted to bring that sense of familiarity to their kitchen. And it’s true, they’ve hit the nail on the head, the name Pathumma’s Kitchen conjures up images of a familiar space with promises of wholesome, mouthwatering dishes just waiting to be scarfed down.
And the food doesn’t disappoint. At all. The advantage to going to a restaurant run by foodie owners is that the food is bound to be delicious. Faizal and Zanafar, reminiscent of the erstwhile Laurel and Hardy, cannot contain their enthusiasm when describing the food on offer. With their focus on South Indian fare, in the menu, they’ve included a significant number of recipes from Mangalore and traditional recipes gleaned from grandmas and home cooks.
When asked about their must-try dishes, they insist that it’s for the customers to say. But they did explain that the erachichor, the neer dosa, chicken ghee roast and the chicken kabab fry move quickly. This writer can attest that the ghee roast, the kabab fry and the neer dosa do, in fact, exceed expectations. With a variety of dishes that hero meat and seafood, a smattering of vegetarian dishes and a number of special dishes prepared only on Saturdays, Pathumma’s Kitchen caters to all tastes. A kulukki (a sweet drink with half a green chili thrown in) at the end nicely rounds out any meal.
They food wouldn’t taste nearly so good if the staff weren’t as affable and welcoming. This pervasive attitude makes it seem like you’ve gone to a friend’s house in the countryside for a meal. The décor contributes to this idea too; amber light from dozens of hurricane lamps glancing off pale walls, the ceiling with exposed wooden beams and covered by traditional woven thatch and tiny facades, at both ends of the room, that seem to lead into huts that one only sees on film sets these days.
A meal at Pathumma’s Kitchen leaves you with good food in your belly and a sense of having found that most rare of places, a restaurant synonymous with heartwarming food and company.
Words by Rheanna Mathews Photographs from The New Indian Express