Yes, Pondicherry (now officially Puducherry, but really who calls it that) is known for being a slice of France in India, but there’s so much charm in the Tamil culture too, isn’t there? That is exactly why I love Maison Perumal so very much. Digging into the heart of the seaside town, you’ll find that this one is really where East meets West. So think verandahs, courtyards and red oxide flooring courtesy Tamil heritage and the French touch of arched windows, colonnades and pillars. Oh! And most of the material has been sourced locally. We’re talking specifically about the cool Cuduppah and the rich teak furniture.
Rooms are a throwback to last century. The big brass door key emphasises that and lets you go right back into the past when simple wooden four-poster beds, minimalist furniture (think fauteuil chairs) and bed spreads cheer up the dullest day. If you’re looking for modern luxury then you’re barking up the wrong tree. The only sign of modernity here is the silent air conditioner. The windows, with a hint of France, are jazzed up with stained glass, making for a real treat. Throw in a morning cuppa, a just-out-of-bed look, and it’s a perfect photo opp. We tried and tested it!
While the French and other local eateries are just an adventurous rickshaw ride (or interesting stroll) away, stay in and devour the fresh seafood that Maison Perumal is best known for. The dining area, an airy space that’s casual and overlooks the courtyard, also moonlights as a gallery and exhibition space. So any time of year, you’ll be treated to works of local artists. But back to the food, Kozhi Murungakai Kulambu, a combination of curried chicken drumsticks and fried batter balls must be ordered, as should fresh catch of the day coated with fried curry leaves and served with tamarind rice. The latter is a traditional house speciality so don’t leave without trying it out. Era Meen Pasta - spicy, tangy fish pasta, is another dish we love, and highly recommend.