With clay tiles forming the roof, the place has a sense of originality to it infiltrated by the modern day aesthetics of a neighborhood restaurant. Portraits of political personalities — right from the freedom struggle movement to modern day leaders are all fitted across the length of the wall.
Once we occupied our bench, we were given a array of options to choose from. The curries – Naatu Kozhi (Country Chicken), Kaadai (Quail) and Mutton were served steaming hot on plantain leaves alongside the main dishes – Biriyani, Parotta and Dosa. Pepper was the first flavor that hit the taste buds as we savored the slow cooked, tender meat suffused with some spicy, tongue tingling flavors. “Green chilly is not something that is native to our region so we use Kuru Milagu (Black Pepper) that is available locally.” –responds the chief cook, when enquired about the usage of pepper across all dishes to an extent that one tastes the curry leaves for its share of garnishing.
“The taste is in the cooking methods. Right from the proportions of the constituents that are used for making gravies to the usage of locally available species and oils –these recipes have been practiced by our family throughout generations” – says Maheshwar, the family’s third generation to venture into business
Just like every other place that serves good food, Selvam Mess also carries with it a wonderful story – the story of a family, whose food journey started back in the 1970s when Rukumani Ammal ran an Idli shop alongside the same road. The family has embraced the business ever since. It was the women who were working on the dishes earlier, but now the show is run by Rukumani Ammal’s sons Selvaraj and his four brothers. The preparation begins at four in the morning and breakfast is served from 7 am featuring the Raththa Poriyal (Lamb Blood Fry) as the highlight in which the lamb’s blood is fried in addition to chopped onions, grated coconut, cinnamon, star anise, curry leaves and coriander leaves.
The lunch is served from 12 noon with rice and dum briyani as the main dishes with a variety of delicacies – prepared from Chicken, Lamb, Prawn, Crabs, Quail and Fish. Suthu Kudal, Brain Fry and Prawns occupy one’s wish list for lunch as they require expertise and experience to prepare, making it unavailable is most eateries around Pollachi.
It’s the modest of places like these which holds the true magic of nativity in the food we eat – for each recipe is passed down generations with the sole motive of giving a satisfactory meal for both the local and the traveler alike. The people are charming, the food is delicious and the drive to the place is breezy.
Located in Aliyar Road, Selvam Canteen is open on all days from 05:30 AM to 10:30 PM.