Shruthi mess at Varadoor in Wayanad district hardly looks or feels like a hotel. It has the cosiness and comfort of a home. Moreover, the dishes that are served here taste like they have been prepared not in the fancy kitchen of an eatery but in the quaint kitchen of your homes.
Rajan and his wife Leela never forgets to add a bit of their love too in the food that is served here. They cook only for a limited number of people. Rajan says it is easy to cook clean and tasty dishes by adding the ingredients correctly when food is prepared in small batches. Food that could feed up to 50 people is cooked for the lunch service in this hotel.
Rajan insists on serving good food that fills not just his customers’ stomachs but their hearts as well. Interestingly, Rajan’s in-house pickles have become extremely popular and foodies from all over the state come here to taste his special pickles.
From peppercorns to rose petals, Rajan has a unique skill to turn anything into a tasty pickle. Rajan has an impressive ‘collection’ of more than two hundred varieties of pickles in his pantry. Eerkil (coconut leaf midribs), orange peel, quail eggs, beef, fish, leaves, big banana and mixed fruits are some of the most popular pickles here. A shelf lined with bottles of pickles is what welcomes the customers into the hotel. Some people even buy a few bottles to take home the unique flavour of Shruthi mess.
There are many takers for a special pickle called speed which is made with peppercorns and medicinal herbs. Leela explains that the unique flavour of the peppercorns and the herbs prompt the customers to eat rice on an impressive ‘speed’. The quaint mess can only accommodate up to ten people at a time. Rajan and Leela are also the servers here.
They say that they won’t be able to serve dishes for everyone if lots of people are having food at the same time. Their daughter Pushpa and her husband Satyaprakash help in running the hotel. They are the ones who manage the kitchen. Meanwhile, the kitchen at Shruthi mess is small like the ones that are usually seen at homes. Traditional wood fire stove and gas stove are used for cooking.
Traditional dishes including a special curry made with plantain stem and green grams are mostly served for lunch here. Fish curry would be mostly sardines or mackerels. If booked in advance, Rajan and Leela would purchase special fishes and make separate curries for the customers. You could end the satisfying meal with a few gulps of refreshing buttermilk spiced with crushed ginger and coriander leaves. Most customers would make sure to call and book their meals in advance.
This family doesn’t aim to make overwhelming profits by running the hotel. They are worried that the magic in their fingers would be lost once they concentrate on money more than serving good food. Rajan and Leela have been running Shruthi mess in the Meenangadi-Panamaram road for the last four decades. It was only recently that this eatery, that had been the favorite food destination of the people of Varadoor, began getting noticed on the social media.
People began flocking this small hotel after a few bloggers wrote about the great food that is served here on various social media platforms. Even though the number of people visiting the eatery has gone up, lunch service ends when the food gets over. However, you could buy as many bottles of pickles as you want from here.