For dinner on our first night we travelled to “Curve”, an outdoor mall. It wasn’t as modern as “Midvalley” and it didn’t have as many enticing retail options. Although this is the only mall with an authorized Lego store and a Hello Kitty shop. It also had its own small skating rink and market bazaar lit in neon pink.
Though for the locals, this mall with its outdoor pavilion is better known as a food hot spot. The outdoor annex to the mall has its walkways marked by strings of lights, bridging the gap from establishments on the right to the ones on the left. There were two levels of restaurant after restaurant. Each standalone had its own well designed theme and look. It all felt like you were walking along a street, instead of in the courtyard of a mall. They had American classics like Red Lobster, Johnny Rockets, and Bubba Gump. And more options that were one of a kind serving both traditional Malay and other international cuisines.
We ate at the Indian chain, “Macha & Co”, also referred to as the “banana leaf restaurant”. As its sub title explained, it is a restaurant where you eat off of banana leaves. They take this traditional practice and market it to a mainstream audience, giving the food and restaurant more of a fast food vibe. A friendly way for tourists, like myself, to participate in this tradition in a casual setting.
It is customary to eat with your hands and then wash up at the sinks built within the dining room when done. And when your meal is at an end, the way you fold our leaf “plate” over indicates your appreciation for what you had. Folding it inwards, towards you indicates enjoyment.
The “Banana leaf set meal” starts off with a banana leaf placemat. Then one by one servers come to give you options on what you can have to eat off of it. They carry metal caddies and bowls that are ladled and scooped out before you. This includes white and/or brown rice, three of their vegetable dishes, two papadams (thin fried flour sheets), fried salted dried chilli, acar (a spicy pickle vegetable mix), and your choice of curry out of four.
Our indecisiveness got us a taste of all four curries including daal and a fish one. The veggies were steamed long beans, stewed cabbage, and fried lady fingers (okra), which I enjoyed the most. This assembly was a celebration of flavour.
We also tried their “Chicken 65”. An Indian style fried chicken seasoned with 65 spices. They were juicy white meat chunks, that surprising were not overwhelmed with all 65 spices. All little bowl of them went along way with spicy bites and herbaceous after notes.
The “Mixed tandoori” was a sight. Served on a hanging skewer table stand, that your server helps you remove meat from stick table side. It is really for the show, it worked on me wanting to order it. This one was with prawn, fish, lamb sheesh kebab, and chicken meat. Served with a cooling dip and undressed slaw. The quality of the meat was just okay, the prawn were overlooked and flavourless, the chicken meat drab and dry compared to the one above; and the lamb was seasoned the best, but it too needed some extra chewing to break its meat down.
My host also had a cup of “Masala tea”. It is served in a metal cup, with in a bucket.
For dessert we had their “Signature roti durian tissue gula melaka”. This is a cone of crispy cracker that is not soft, but thin and fragile like tissue. It is dressed with condense milk, durian syrup, and shredded coconut to finish. It was more fun to eat than it was delicious to taste. Not enough durian flavour and the shredded coconut took away from it’s enjoyable crispy texture.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
This was a great way to dip my foot into more traditional Malaysia cuisine, on my first day. Tourist friendly staff serving delicious food, off a menu that I am sure everyone can find something to enjoy on. Don’t deny your cravings.