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Padma Cafes in Kerala serving traditional food are a big hit

Dosa vada fare with sambar offered at Padma Cafe, Cherthala (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@b_joy)

The objective of reviving and rebranding the good old Nair tea shops – which once dotted Kerala’s countryside – into a chain of modern restaurants known as Padma Cafes by Nair Service Society is paying rich dividends. The five outlets serving only vegetarian fare launched in Adoor, Kottarakkara, Pathanamthitta, Cherthala and Aluva have already become popular among people.

These outlets serve traditional delicacies of the region like dosa, vada, puttu, parippuvada, and uzhunnu vada which appeals to the palate of the local people as well as visitors to the State.

Till 1990s the traditional tea shops were popular as they were run by Nair community members known for their culinary skills. The Arab and Chinese food dented their market and people started patronising food courts and restaurants. In 2017, NSS launched the Padma Café project and these outlets were started.

Sharing details about them, G. Sukumaran Nair, General Secretary of NSS informed that plans are afoot to launch more such pure vegetarian outlets across the State. The brand name is a shortened form of Padmanabhan and the Society wants to start at least 50 such cafes.

Apart from tasty delicacies, these outlets ensure that good quality food is served at reasonable prices and high standards of hygiene are followed at all stages of its preparation and service. Nair informed that cafes maintain safe and clean conditions and use only pesticide-free vegetables. Also, no leftovers are used the next day as it is either used by the staff or destroyed.

To make women self-reliant and independent, a majority of the café employees are women. Every outlet provides employment to as many as 25 women who are selected from self-help groups of NSS and trained after recruitment.