Dhe Puttu, Dha Thinnu*…
My love for food is well-known among my friends, and a few of them are too happy to drive me to restaurants, just to watch me eating. Most of my happy memories revolve around food. It is a gift I give myself to keep me entertained, sometimes even to console myself. Nothing could cheer me up than a properly set ice cream or a hot spicy cheesy pizza from a moment of despair. This love for food began from my home, which I should say has an always open kitchen. My mother loves her little space, where she cooks, cooks and cooks!
The reason why I talked so much about food today is my visit to the newly opened ‘Dhe Puttu’ in Kozhikode, a place where you could get varieties of puttu (Kerala steam cake), the traditional food of Keralities. The shop has a celebrity face since it is owned by the Mollywood star Dileep. Besides, it was shining like a star because of its well set ambience, with texture-painted walls. The walls were further adorned with the caricatures of characters that Dileep played in movies, especially the famous ones like Meesa Madhavan, Kunjikoonan etc.
The welcome itself reflected the traditional Kerala style as there was a huge Nilavilakku (the traditional lamp) lighted and kept at the entry. As soon as you seated, they keep a ‘Sulaimani’, the spiced lemon tea in Malabar. Although it did not match up to the lemon tea I had from Thalassery, it did energize my taste buds. The pappadam, another traditional inevitable item the dining tables of Mallus around the world too soon took its place.
By the time we had a little chit-chat and tea, the waiter dressed in yellow t-shirt addressed us with a smile, with menu card in his hand. I was little disappointed with the menu card, not because of the items listed in it, but because of its appearance. I could spot a plain white A4 sheet with the food items printed on it. Perhaps, they are printing new ones sooner.
The foods listed in them too had the names of the characters Dileep played in movies, such as Sringaravelan Puttu, Meesa Madhavan Puttu, Ring Master Puttu etc. I already had enough by seeing those movie, so I decided to stick onto the other varieties listed on the menu. I choose chemmeen puttu (Kerala steam cake with prawns in it), while my friend decided to go for a Kallummakaya puttu (Kerala steam cake with mussels in it). The waiter took order in his iPad (perhaps an app installed in it). He was kind enough to suggest us the contents of the foods listed in it and also guided us to choose a fish curry, as the puttu we ordered would be dry in nature. Abiding him, we chose a dice fish masala curry, which has the regular aakoli fish dices in it.
The food reached the table much before we anticipated. Chemmeen puttu looked like the chiratta puttu (Kerala steam cake baked in coconut shell) and Kallummakaya puttu was the regular tunnel shaped item with three pieces in it. The dice fish curry tasted more like Goan fish curry. Nothing to quote specifically about the taste, as it would only make you feel like puttu and curry mixed it in. It was spicy and you would better be ready to ask for extra tissue papers at the end.
The eating was fun in such an ambience, and we took longer time to finish. We were busy clicking pictures, commenting on the people around us and obviously, posting on Facebook about Dhe Puttu. As any other meal, we decided to end the food like a feast and ordered a Faluda Capitol, which I should say was a wrong choice. It was huge to eat and not really good to go with a spicy lunch, though it gave my instagrapher friend a few beautiful clicks.
And, there we were, after a heavy lunch (which became heavy after eating Faluda Capitol). The final decoration landed, the bill that beefed up the heaviness. Before leaving the premise, we asked permission to take a few clicks, and they were generous to nod a yes. I am leaving the below pictures to speak more about the place, and would add that Dhe Puttu, Kozhikode is a place you should visit for its ambience, to have a fun time with your friends and never alone.
*The title is a mimic of the famous Malayalam dialogue “dhe poyi, dha vannu” (He we go and there we come), which is said in the Malayalam television program ‘Ningalkkum aakaam Kodeeswaran’ (the Malayalam version of the program Who wants to be a Millionaire?). The title says “Here is the Puttu (Dhe Puttu) and I just ate it (Dha Thinnu)”.