The story of Palaaram—how it became one of Kochi’s popular naadan food outlets
Palaaram has nearly a decade of history before the restaurant established itself in the minds of gourmands in North Paravoor in 2015. We learn this story only when we meet the co-owner Shaheen Abdul Salam at their latest outlet at Kumaranasan Nagar, Kadavanthra.
“My mother Shamla Salam used to take orders for naadan dishes like pathiri and biryani from 1995. My brother, Shameel, along with our family and friends decided to brand it only in 2015 and started a restaurant in Paravoor, near our home. A year later, we started our first outlet in the city in Kakkanad,” says Shaheen.
The rest of the story is familiar to the foodies of Kochi—about how they expanded their property on Seaport-Airport road from a 50-cover outlet to a 115-cover one and became a mainstay in the dining circuit.
The brand is now relying on the popularity of their naadan recipes to drive into the heart of the city with a new 110-cover outlet at Kadavanthra.
Set on two floors, Palaaram’s new location opens to a set of glass shelves exhibiting local snacks like kuzhalappam and kaja madakku.
“All our snacks are made at our mother’s kitchen in Paravoor. Besides our popular traditional dishes, we also serve North Indian and grilled dishes such as Bombay chicken curry and mutton BBQ chops,” he informs, as we glance through the extensive menu running into a few pages.
As we seat ourselves on a table on the first floor, sipping on a refreshing naruneendi drink, Shaheen orders in some specials for us.
One dish that is a must-try here is a kunji pathiri, we learn. The platter is a rather hot blend of steamed rice coins with pieces of well-cooked beef. If you prefer something less spicy, the quirkily-named Noor Jahan (a dry preparation of rice strewn with prawns) loaded with the flavour of curry leaves might be up your alley.
We also try the kozhi pidi—naadan rice dumplings and supple chicken in a thick and gooey gravy with taste reminiscent of a stew. Appetising indeed. What catches us by surprise, however, is the Malabar delight sundae. The use of avalose podi (roasted rice flour snack) alongside other ingredients like red velvet cake and Spanish delight ice cream makes the dish a different experience when it comes to desserts.
From 11 am to 11 pm.