Tucked in a narrow street named after them is the quintessential fast food joint run by The Pai brothers at Kochi. What started as a small “Thattu Kada” (a push cart food stall) from the verandah of an electrical shop on MG Road (Mahatma Gandhi Road) has grown into a much loved fast food joint for the locals. The talkative brothers from Udipi migrated to Kochi some 20 years ago and started a Thattu Kada in the most humble way and the rest is history.
Your definition and opinion about dosa changes once you look at the range Pai brothers have to offer. You are in a state of ambivalence as you enter the restaurant, for, the brothers can dole out a mind boggling 57 varieties of dosas for you ranging from Leaf dosa, Kancheepuram dosa, Bulls-eye dosa, Egg dosa, Egg Podi dosa, Lasooni dosa, Mini dosas, Quail egg dosa, Duck egg dosa, Ghee roast to name a few! Each one of them has a unique taste that makes you crave for more and wanting to come back.
Open from 5:30 pm in the evening till 2.00 am in the morning (or when the Dosa batter finishes!!), Pai’s Thattu Kada is a famous stop over for all late night snackers, movie watchers, students,..etc besides other diners. One look at the number of people that throng this joint at any given point of time in the night will give you a fair idea of the quality of the dosas served and also its existing popularity.
Started by the 4 Pai Brothers with their Mother & families, today the operations are controlled by 2 of the brothers with helping hands from the second generation. They have 3 outlets in Kochi at Palarivattom & Kakkanad apart from the MG road outlet. All outlets are manned & staffed by Family members. They had a branch in Dubai, which they later closed down, not due to demand, but due to lack of team members to man operations!!! “On an average we get 3-4 foreign enquiries a month for opening our outlets in far flung lands across Europe & Gulf” says, Pradeep Pai a second generation Dosa expert.
Their joint is a hall with a capacity to hold around 40-45 people. The walls of the restaurant are decorated with the famous tales of the Pai Brothers as appeared in various newspapers and other media. It’s a site in itself to watch these brothers turn the batter, lade on the girdle and swirl it round with the back of the ladle followed by big dollops of ghee. The home made lemonade and fruit juices goes well with the food and are a must try.
Kochi is well connected by road and rail to almost all the bigger cities and few small cities as well (check Indian railway’s website for more details).
Your visit to Kochi is incomplete till you try out the sumptuous dosas at Pai Brothers and its easy to reach them, just ask anybody once you reach MG Road!
And to close – a bit of trivia – they even have a Malayalam movie named after them – “Pai brothers”!!