Top in Town dishes out delicious food, specially for those who love Malayali food
Conversations at Top in Town, the catering group’s outlet, begin on a sweet note. Gothumba payasam says Rajeshwari Suresh, the owner, with a smile as she places a glass of the white, sweet kheer on the table. Even though the name of the group has become synonymous with palada in the city, they also prepare chakka, pazham and parippu payasam if the customer requests them, says Rajeshwari.“And these are available throughout the year.”
Founded by P. Natraj and run by his managing partners Hari Menon, K. S Suresh and his wife Rajeshwari Suresh, Top in Town, is two-years old and has already become one of the busiest food caterers in the city. They received so many Onam sadya orders this year that they had to close their palada and sadya service, a week before Onam.
Although, their main outlet in Palakkad, run by Nataraj, specialises in Malayali cuisine, the Coimbatore branch serves a multi-cuisine menu, says Hari. “We have a team of cooks from different parts of India to make tandoori, Chinese and other cuisines. We also arrange non-vegetarian buffets.”
Apart from food catering services, they also provide banquet halls for receptions, birthday parties and other social functions. “Many families approach us to arrange theme-based parties. In these cases, we get them in touch with the decorators,” says Suresh. They also take orders for college functions and events. “During these occasions, we set up a kitchen at the venue and our cooks make the feast right there,” says Hari. Their paladas are a big hit not just among Malayalis, but even Tamilians.
“The palada preparation is a long drawn-out process. The milk is stirred for at least 10 hours. That’s how you get the reddish tinge,” explains Rajeshwari. “We do not want to compromise on the traditional taste. There, they cook it on a wood fire. It adds to the richness of the payasam,” she says. The idea to begin a catering service in the city took shape when Hari, a commercial director of a group in Kuwait, wanted to venture into the food industry. He discussed the idea with his friend Rajeshwari, who ran a boutique.
“It was perfect timing. Suresh and I were thinking of starting a home-based venture.” She immediately informed Suresh who was working in Dubai with an IT company. He was initially hesitant. “The whole idea of quitting a 25-year-old profession sounded risky.” But Rajeshwari convinced him that a catering group for Malayali cuisine would work out well here as Coimbatore had a huge Malayali community. One of the immediate challenges was to cater to the taste of different kinds of Malayalis in the city. “Unlike it is in Palakkad, Coimbatore’s Malayali community is a mix of people from different parts of the state. And each district has its typical way of making a Sadya dish. So, we had to customise the sadya on a person-to-person basis,” says Hari.
While Hari steers the marketing and relations part, Suresh is the techie among them. He always has his laptop handy to supervise the procurement of raw materials and the logistics of sadya arrangements. And Rajeshwari takes the helm at the kitchen. “She knows where the salt and masala have gone wrong. And, since she runs a boutique, she has a way with the workers. If not for her, we would be in a fix,” smiles Suresh. They share a personal bond with all their customers, states Hari. “Relationship with the customer goes a long way. For instance, a family had approached us for the 60th birthday celebrations of their grandfather and then their daughter’s wedding. They called us again for her valaikappu ceremony. So, this way the bond continues to grow.”