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Satisfy my Hungry Soul!

Sehiyon Restaurant – Waiting to be served!

It isn’t much more than a hole in the wall – the interior is Spartan, there are 32 plastic stools arranged around 8 plastic tables and the hygiene standards would just about pass muster. However, between noon and 3 p.m. Cochinites flock to this place like termite flies to an oil lamp – once inside the way people were stuffing themselves would make one wonder whether a food shortage was imminent.

The place is Sehiyon Restaurant, located near Pullepadi Bridge at Cochin. It was recently featured in a leading local vernacular daily – the article said that even the Who’s Who in town liked to order take-aways from this humble restaurant.

I have been to the place 2 – 3 times and found the food excellent. The service isn’t special, it isn’t even good – on my first visit I found a seat only after a 15 minute wait and sat there another 5 minutes hoping to catch the eye of the Wait Staff. No one took notice of my existence or my desperation. So, I walked out and had lunch elsewhere.

The next time I decided to take a seat closer to the epicenter of action and was rewarded with a toothsome meal. I made two more visits to that place and still have not had enough.

It is typical Kerala fare – no Chinese, Mughlai, Chettinad or Continental; the menu consists of traditional Kerala lunch time cuisine made the home-cooked way – a Kerala Thali or Oonu with a range of side orders.

Fish rules! A mouth-watering array of it – Pattichadhu, Pollichathu, Mulagu Ittathu, Varuthathu and Regular Curry, which roughly means roasted, baked, extra spicy, fried and so on. They usually have Prawns, Seer Fish, Squid, Mussel, Pomfret, Sardine, Anchovy, Shark, Mackerel and Crab; all these fishes are made in the different forms I mentioned in the previous sentence – so you have an array of 48 to 60 options depending on the types of seafood available that day. Chicken and Beef, again made Kerala-fashion, are the side-lights here.

Have I whetted your appetite?

Why is the Sales Coach blog featuring a story on this restaurant? Well, I am trying to figure out how my products can be so irresistible. Why aren’t my customers lapping up training the way customers were wolfing down food at this place?

One of my readers had written back in response to a previous article saying she has seen products selling in spite of poor service – and that immediately reminded me of visits to Sehiyon.

The Wait Staff aren’t friendly – they have no time to make friends. The place receives around 500 customers in a 3 hour period – each stool in the restaurant receives 13-15 customers, most of them repeat visitors; and then there are takeaways to deal with. Two guys to deliver just the main meal consisting of rice and veggie accompaniments and then couple of other guys go around taking orders for the Specials! Two others clear the empty dishes left behind by happy and well-fed customers and prepare the table for the next set of hungry mouths.  This eating machine worked with clockwork precision.

And while you eat there would be another person standing next you – No, it isn’t the owner or his Service Executive making sure that you are being served; it’s the next customer waiting to poach your stool the moment you rise. It’s that desperate! In the lunch hour practically every stool has a person standing next to it while one customer is enjoying his meal. Outside the building there are more hungry souls waiting to commune with the delicacy of their choice.

I discovered that it isn’t just the food but also the price point. The basic veggie meal is priced at just Rs.30/- (little more than 1/2 a dollar) and the side orders range from Rs. 40/- to Rs. 150/- (2/3rd of a dollar to 3 dollars) – isn’t that a killer proposition? You can figure out how much the owner rakes in each day.

Therein rests the magic – excellent product delivered at a price that can’t be refused. This man knows his business. He probably gets fish at special low rates each day – the merchants at the fish market, who have been supplying him for many months, may be offering their catch at rates that are way below prevailing market prices for the day. His staff is not the high-cost variety and the outlet isn’t fancy either.

Only the Chef matters here, he would be the treasured resource and probably gets paid handsomely for the magic he creates each day. The food tastes like a home-cooked meal and the portions are generous.

I am told the owner of Sehiyon is a Christian gentleman and he named the restaurant using the Malayalam word for Zion. I Googled and found a link for Sehiyon Pilgrimage Tours. Well, I know for sure that at lunchtime Cochinites religiously make a pilgrimage to this hallowed precinct to satisfy their hungry souls.

Bon appétit!

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  1. Kailash
    November 30, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Good One J, I’m the 1st one to read see 🙂

    • JayadevM
      December 2, 2012 at 6:42 pm

      Thank you, Kailash! 🙂

      I know I can depend on friends like you.

  2. Jamy
    December 2, 2012 at 7:33 am

    Jay, you have definitely got the attention of this foodie who will suffer and toil under the sun to get tasty food anywhere in the world..lol!! Wunderbar article Jay!

    • JayadevM
      December 2, 2012 at 6:56 pm

      Thank you, Jamy!

      I just got back from a 3 day trip to Point Calimere & Rameshwaram, in Tamilnadu. Had amazing food along the way. I have to write another article on food – this time focusing on the service element. 🙂

  3. Kailash
    December 3, 2012 at 5:42 am

    J I missed to mention about the restaurant ‘Tandoor’ in Kochi, MG road. At 1st floor they serve unlimited 🙂 Andhra Thali and one ground floor it’s typical resto-bar . And trust me the food was so very testy and so many hungry souls are getting satisfied daily. During my stay in Kochi me and my team were frequent visitor (mostly at dinner) on one sunday afternoon we planned to be there and we had to wait for almost 30+ mints and while talking to the waiter we came to know that on all week days at daytime too, it’s almost same rush. You must try it once.

    • JayadevM
      December 3, 2012 at 9:07 pm

      Hi Kailash

      Tandoor & Chillies are regular haunts – like you, I like their fare.

      Endorse fully the quality of food served there.

      To oblige you I shall visit them again. 🙂

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