Pickles have always had a prominent position on the Malayali platter, adding the perfect flavour balance to meals, with its spicy–tangy goodness. If you want to try out some incredibly delicious pickles, then head to the Pillechan's eatery in Muthiyurandiyar near Kulamavu, Idukki.
The small eatery is known for a variety of unique pickles including fish, meat, wild mango and lemon, which are served along with lunch. The hotel, run by Soman Pillai and his wife Rama Devi, was begun as a small wayside shop which served lunch and delicious curries. However, when the taste of the pickles that were served along with the lunch began to draw more foodies, Soman decided to bottle it and sell, without compromising on the taste and flavour of the pickles.
It is Rama Devi who prepares the pickles with locally sourced fresh ingredients. Those who have lunch at Pillechan's shop wouldn't forget to purchase a few bottles of these special pickles as well. Soman Pillai's son Rahul is the one who handles the pickle business, and has recently started distributing their famed pickles in Idukki, Kottayam, and Ernakulam. The fish pickle is, in fact, their highlight, which has great demand.
Rs 50 for lunch
The hotel, started by Soman Pillai's grandfather was taken over by him after the latter's death. He, however, is particular about upholding the legacy of his grandfather, who was an excellent cook, by serving some mouthwatering dishes to the customers. Delicious avial, sambar, and thoran (stir fry), besides pickles, would be served along with piping hot rice. Lunch costs just Rs 50 per head and people throng to enjoy this tasty meal. Specials like fish pickle and fish fry have to be ordered separately. Food is prepared using locally sourced fresh ingredients which enhances the taste of the dishes. The coriander and other masala mixtures are roasted and powdered in-house.
Breakfast, too, is served at Pillechan's eatery. The evergreen combination of boiled tapioca and fish curry is a must for breakfast. Soman Pillai says that many food lovers travel to Idukki, just to have a plate of his special tapioca and fish curry. Besides this, appam, porotta, puttu, chapati, and dosa, too, are served. Lunch is served from 12 pm to 3.30 pm, after which, Rama Devi and her assistants get busy preparing delicious tea time snacks. Customers can choose from crispy and tasty banana fritters, dal vada and uzhunnu vada to accompany a glass of hot tea.
Special Ammachi puzhukku
The 'ammachi' puzhukku (a local dish in which vegetables, tapioca, yam, and colocassia are cooked in spiced coconut mixture) is a unique dish which is served at Pillechan's hotel. However, this dish is prepared only on order. Similarly, boiled purple yam, too, is served with some spicy and tasty side dishes to go with it. Pillechan's hotel is the perfect place to enjoy some authentic local dishes, which are not too costly.