Hotel Pathayam, near Thiruvambady Temple, Thrissur, looks like yet another vegetarian eatery that serves thali meals, chana bhatura and masala dosas. But it is a naturopathic food start-up that places health ahead of taste in its priority chart. Naturally, it is not a sensualist's getaway that pleases the eater with a row of rich and luscious dishes.
Pathayam has much more to offer than just vegan food. Situated in the heart of Thrissur city, Pathayam offers red pre-boiled rice, mildly spiced main courses, banana smoothies, and salads!
This homely eatery has an unpretentious reception which is crowded with organic products that help you adopt a naturopathic lifestyle. Gazing through the many tins and packets comprising of sorghum, millet and wheat, oils and home-made pickles, you descend to the basement which is the dining lounge.
The menu is limited, with some traditional south Indian nosh, but tweaked in an organic style. Raw payasam, bamboo rice payasam, wheat samosa, and fruit kit are some distinctive names in their list.
I opted for a special Pathayam meal which definitely did not excite my taste buds. Within 10 minutes of placing the order, the host kept a raw starter platter in front of me. It contained a bowl of sliced pineapples, another bowl of diced watermelon, some chopped papaya, almost two tablespoons of salted cabbage-carrot salad dressed in lime juice, a slice of cucumber and an ounce-glass full of banana smoothie. No, you can't skip your starters – the server shall wait until you finish the last piece in your fruit bowl to replace the platter with that of main course! Leaves and fruits are certainly appetising; their mild spices twitch your taste buds and make you want for more.
The main-course platter is crowded with aromatic dishes. A bowl of organically harvested boiled red rice is accompanied by not less than 10 sides, all spiced and dressed in different styles. The thali meal has an extra soft, thin roti in it, doubtlessly made out of some fine non-poisoned wheat grains. The row of side dishes include every type of vegetables – pulses, roots, leaves, fruits and flowers. The low-spiced coconut-pumpkin gravy (mathanga erissery) is the main side dish. Against the convention, it has been prepared devoid of red chilly powder which makes it mild and sweet. Now that's something that sets apart the Pathayam cuisine from those of other restaurants: they do not use red chilly in any preparation. Instead, they use pepper and green chillies to spice up their flavours.
The yummy chana masala (spiced chickpea) and a potato-cauliflower gravy side the roti. Curries those go with rice include a beetroot kichdi (grated beetroot in yogurt) two types of rasam (tangy soup), a coconut chutney, salad, spiced buttermilk and a saltless breadfruit (kadachakka) thoran (dry stir-fried vegetables).
While inculcating all basic tastes in the meal, the chef has also made it neutralising with ingredients that help enhance digestion and reduce gastric bloating. The rasams contain garlic, ginger, jaggery, pepper and all that promote digestion. The yogurt-based dishes help neutralise the basal environment in your stomach and limit gas formation. You also get a mildly sweet payasam as a dessert to close your meal.
Once you finish your meal, the host would serve a tablespoon of sting-less honey in your hand. Honey keeps away constipation, ulcers and digestive problems.
Pathayam is the perfect place for fitness-mongers and organic food lovers. It is as well a hideout for gourmets who wish to digest some healthy food and rejuvenate their souls.
Do not forget to bag some spices, skincare or food products from their naturopathic stall at the reception. So, if you are at the heart of Thrissur city with a fuming belly, and if you can't risk your stomach with junk, catch an autorickshaw to Thiruvambadi road where Pathyam chefs await you with their homely, healthy, organic cuisine!