It’s funny how sometimes accidental food experiences turn out to be quite amazing. My cousin and me along with a dear friend decided to make the most of our trip to Pollachi. It was nice for a change not to have a set plan and just go with the flow. When the stomachs signaled hunger we weren’t sure which eatery to visit. Out came the phones and several calls later ,we decided to meet our Pollachi friends for a quick meal at the recently opened Thamizhar restaurant on the Pollachi -Coimbatore highway.
On first sight it seemed very clean. Simple white washed walls and bamboo slats were covered by a thatched roof that made the intense heat bearable for the diners. A small rekhla was positioned just at the entrance to add to the charm of this eatery specializing in tamil village cuisine. Our friends had eaten there before and were very appreciative of the quality of food that they had tried.
Their lunch menu comprises of mostly rice with different meat accompaniments.The variety of tiffins like idli , dosa and parotta are served usually for dinner. However seeing that we were enthusiastic foodies they offered to bring us a few portions of kari dosai and chappathis for lunch along with what they called ‘bai veetu biryani’. The soft chappathis went so well with the aromatic chicken gravy.I never thought I could enjoy a hot gravy in the midst of summer but there’s something so comforting about a typical nattu kozhi kozhambhu. It just flows on the tongue in a way that you can pick up the intense flavours of chilli , garlic, corinader,onion etc and yet not feel it over powering.
The biryani was of 4 flavours. Chicken,mutton egg and plain. We opted for the plain biriyani. It turned out to be mutton biryani without the mutton pieces. Perfect ! I for one enjoy the flavours of a mutton biryani but am not too fond of the actual meat in a rice dish. It was served with a vibrant green pudina chutney , onion thayir pachadi and a thick brown gravy,again meatless.
We had ordered only one plate to be shared among three of us,a few delicious mouthfuls later we knew that it just wasn’t going to be enough! We just had to order one more ! This biryani did bring out the gluttons in us ! It wasn’t the least bit spicy but each grain of rice was infused with bags of flavour !
None of us had ever eaten a biriyani with a pudina chutney before ! A South Indian muslim biryani is usually accompanied by a watery brinjal gravy called dhalcha. Since the owners feel that it may not suit the the palates of the people around that area , they serve it only on special request. The pudina chutney however was ,for me,quite a revelation. After tasting the biryani and chutney combination I felt as if I had been doing a dis-service to the biryani all this while ! The small serving of chutney was more than enough for the generous portion of biryani and we made sure that we left both vessels bereft of even the tiniest morsel of food.
Having enjoyed a meal so completely,my companions and I were naturally curious about the story behind this new place on the highway.(I was having a Rocky and Mayur moment !)The place belongs to Ajmal and his younger brother Rafeeq. The latter is a passionate foodie and believes in living an organic lifestyle.The recipes they follow are traditional family recipes that have been handed down over the years.Hence the name “bai veetu biryani”. They own a small plot where they grow some vegetables along with herbs like coriander and curry leaves. They use only goat manure for enriching the soil. The chickens too are free range with the chicken weighing not more than 3kgs and a rooster about 5 kgs. Ajmal says that though some customers complain that the chicken is not meaty enough they are loathe to serve the broiler variety. They use only cold pressed oils from neighbouring farms and all the dry masalas are ground at home.
On Sundays they have a special selection. So pigeon,partridge ,laapa (stuffed parota ) are all reserved for the weekend. Ajmal says that he doesn’t like to see his customers disappointed. The wry expressions and glum faces have forced him to serve ice cream at his restaurant. But he adds that he makes sure to hide the bottles of aerated drinks behind the cash counter. It comes out only when a diner becomes very insistent!
These gents who are in the textile and coir business have opened this space to showcase their home cooking in a manner that sustains farms and contributes to good health. I couldn’t help but agree with my friend when she finished her meal,nodded and said’ “Rombo fantastic” !
Thamizhar Family Restaurant
Coimbatore – Pollachi highway
Opposite Bharath Vidya Niketan School
Phone# Prabhu 96882 22233
Saranath 98657 05413
Meal for 2 with mineral water – Rs.400/
Non veg biryani- Rs.140 per plate
Veg meals -Rs.70/-