Coimbatore gets a Kerala-styled dhaba update with LorryWaala
Lorry tyres with weathered pieces of wood placed on top double up as makeshift tables, textured steel folding chairs, flashing yellow signage lights and a colourful truck are some of the things that catch our eye as we make our way to our tables at the newly opened, Kerala styled dhaba, LorryWaala. Now if the words ‘Kerala-styled’ left you perplexed, fret not. A detour of the Punjabi dhaba experience that offers the familiar comfort of phulkas and dal fry, the food truck affords an array of Kerala’s favourite fast food from Unnaikaya to Erachi Pathil. Owner Yusuf M says the concept restaurant signals the changing face of the dhaba culture. “Whenever one says dhaba, everyone unanimously thinks of Punjabi cuisine, but almost every state has its own version of a highway eatery. LorryWaala is an attempt to bring to the foreground this culinary culture.” However, the irony in the use of an anglicised Hindi word in naming the eatery is not lost on us. A quick smile flashes across operations manager, Azeem Abdulla’s face as he tells us that Hindi is widely spoken among truckers in Kerala. “In fact, most of the music that they listen to is also Hindi.” This explains the Hindi-Malayalam remix of Thakara’s Puttu Paatu that plays in the background.
Tea makes everything better
Seating ourself next to a notice board that details the journey of the owners as they set up the restaurant, we come across a storyboard sketch of what the LorryWaala finally looks like. We learn that the interiors and design for the 50-seater, semi al fresco eatery was envisioned by Ajayan Chalissery, art director for Malayalam flicks Maheshinte Prathikaram and Parava and is currently working on Madhavan’s latest Maara. Starting off by sampling a couple of their speciality teas, we try the Special tea and the Mohabbat. Made with a varied mix of tea leaves and spices, the Special tea is a milk-based concoction and is nothing out of the ordinary, while the Mohabbat reminds us of the Sulaimani chai from the Malabar region, a delicacy that is not easily available in Coimbatore.
Situated within the Prozone Mall premises, the 800 sq ft joint targets shoppers and offers quick eats like chicken nuggets, fries and burgers—all of which are made in-house. Hearty and delicious, we love the crisp chicken patty in the burger, what we relish even more, however, is their chicken cutlet. Though a deep-fried mixture of minced meat and potatoes without the breading, the pocket-sized dynamite of flavour is perfectly spiced, melts in the mouth and reminds us of savoury filling of the meat puffs and samosas available at one of Kerala’s most revered bakers Mambally Bapu’s bakery chain, Best Bakery.
The house special shakes are also not to be missed. We choose the Mango Cheesecake and Mango, avocado and strawberry mocktail. Made from real fruit and milk without additional ice cream, the drinks are thick and quite filling.
Rs 400 for two. Open from 5 pm to 10.30 pm.