I’m not sure if I’ve told you this before, but my bestie (not to be mistaken with the BFF) and I have a strange anecdote for a bad day. We’ll meet up, rant and numb ourselves with a blistering huge dose of Indian curries. Indian food is like music, if made right it is a symphony of taste. Each dish has its own intricate beat and rhythm, like the fleeting strum of the sitar or drumming of a tabla, as the flavours hit our palate. Food is, after all, the music to our bellies and calms the soul.
Our love affair with spices may not have been very long nor noble, but Indian cuisine enjoys a special place in our hearts. The very first meal I’ve ever had with Lis was an Indian one. Back then we were just two odd and uncool (or were we just too cool for the other wannabes in designer-labeled jeans?) strangers forced for company. It was lunch and nothing fancy. We had roti telur with fish curry at a mamak stall just around the corner from our art college. I can’t remember if we’ve eaten them with extra onions or sambal, but I remembered we had a good time poking fun at the other weirdos in our class. That would be the start of many more Indian-inspired breakfasts, lunches, tea breaks, dinners and suppers shared over the next 2-years of our miserable lives studying there. After college, we’ve each set out on our own ways to opposing sides of Australia, and never really kept in touch.
It wasn’t until I was back in Kuala Lumpur a couple years later, through the advent of
This time our hot session brought us to Malabar Palace in a dark and tiny corner of Hartamas Shopping Centre. The ambience is nothing as regal as its name suggest, but the food is definitely laced with gold here. Our first taste of the vegetable chutney with finely chopped up French beans, carrots, and bittergourd confirmed everything we’ve ever read about this nondescript Northern Indian restaurant. We wiped the shot glass clean with a basket of paper thin pappadams before any of the starters arrived. Next, the Chicken Tikka Wrapped in Indian Thin Bread was plated beautifully like something off a high-end joint, but its unpretentious prices definitely hold no hint of that fact. Perhaps, the chef’s experience working at the Mandarin Oriental and Shangri-la Hotel has something to do with its artistic flair.
We loved the Vegetarian Tandoori Grill that came with a combination of paneer tikka (grilled farmer cheese), chunky cauliflower tandoori (covered with a sour and mildly spicy yogurt marinade seasoned with garam masala, garlic, ginger, cumin, cayenne pepper and red chili powder) and bhara potatoes (which is stuffed with dried fruits, nuts and cheese) sizzling on a hot plate. The highly recommended Malabar Palace Special Chicken Curry is an immaculate creation with tender chicken pieces cooked in an ultra buttery and tangy coconut gravy – flavoured by mustard seed and curry leaves. Its rich sauce made the perfect dip for our fluffy Naan orders.
At this point we were beginning to feel stuffed, but as always we would have ordered more than we can chew. Having said that, we also find the portions here slightly bigger compared to most Indian restaurants in town – definitely value for your money. Our lunch was completed with the arrival of the Meen Masala and Aubergine Masala. The former is a sauteed fish dish which is underwhelming compared to what we’ve tasted so far, while the diced aubergine sauteed in ground spices and herbs was bursting with creamy flavours.
Desserts were definitely out of the question this time around. We’ve learned to leave some room for sweets when we have another bitch and curry session here in the future.
Like I said earlier, this wasn’t an expensive meal at all. Starters are no more than RM10, tandoori and curry dishes ranges from RM15 to RM30 depending on your choice of meat; while the choices of Naan average about RM3.50 each.
And by the way, Happy Valentine’s day everyone. May your days ahead be filled with love and everything sweet.
G-13A, Ground Floor,
Hartamas Shopping Centre,
60 Jalan Sri Hartamas 1,
50480 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: +6012-264 5045.
Business Hours: Mall operating hours.
Note: It is best to reserve a table for dinner as there is limited seating available.