The name 'Nangur Raman Memorial' may not sound like the name of a hotel but the board bearing that name is the only signage marking the hotel run by Chandrasekharan and his wife Valsala at Peechi Junction in Thrissur.
Now popularly known as 'Sekharettan's shop,' but minus any name, this hotel is probably the only one of its kind with the status of a memorial.
That is not without reasons. This hotel has been running for the past 55 years. Nangur Raman, Sekharettan's father, established this tea shop 55 years ago at Peechi Junction, on the road leading to the dam. In 1974, it was handed over to his son Chandrasekharan and the shop came to be called 'Sekharettan's shop' since then.
Along with the management of the hotel, the taste of the beef curry-porotta combination is also carried forward across generations. Students of the Government Higher Secondary School across the road from the hotel get introduced to beef dishes here. Many of the students will not have enough money to buy these beef items so for them, Sekharettan makes loose gravy. Many come back to Sekharettan's shop on a nostalgic taste-hunt, years later.
The unique taste of Sekharettan's dishes come from the home-made masala. He never uses packed masala powders. All the dishes are cooked on hearth with firewood. Sekharettan and Valsala run the shop all by themselves. On Sundays, they close the shop around 10 am after breakfast. It is time for cleaning and recharging.
Any two of the traditional breakfast items such as puttu and kadala (gram) curry, idli, peas curry, appam etc are served daily. The breakfast timing is from 7 am to 10 am. The beef curry and porotta will be ready by 12. Normally the school children are the first customers for lunch. Along with the regular local customers, at least two or three from far off places will be there for savouring the unique taste of the famous beef-porotta combination. The beef curry is kept on a low flame on the hearth till it gets over. It usually lasts till about 6 pm. But it is always better to arrive earlier.
From afternoon till about 7 pm, tea and traditional Kerala snacks are served.
Though the porottas here are nothing extraordinary, the beef curry and the snacks are simply unbeatable and so are the breakfast dishes.
Despite all the fanfare about the shop, Sekharettan maintains his rustic charm and his beef curry maintains the mouthwatering taste carried over from the past generation.