The Sweeter Times – Kalai Oh Kalai!November 4, 2010 | 2,650 views
The Giant Poori Face?
Pardon the lack of posts/passion/intensity/energy as of late. You would have realized that the writing’s not like my same witty self (hehe, self praise pulak) nor as punchy recently. Many things are happening in life now, and even during this moment when you’re pondering over this post sipping on a cup of teh tarik (Malaysian famous Indian-style pulled milk tea), Motormouth’s somewhere in the Klang Valley and adapting to situations. Or tribulations?
A complete set of ‘Banana Leaf’ Curry Rice @ Kalai Curry House in old town of Ipoh
Anyway, since tomorrow’s the Festival of Lights, or ‘Diwali/Deepavali’ as we know it, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all the Indian readers (and those celebrating the occasion, no matter you’re representing what faction/background) a very HAPPY DEEPAVALI! I initially planned to share a post on Buntong kacang putih (conversely speaking, the nuts ain’t white per se) but did not plan that this KL excursion would have taken me more than 3 days. So no pictures of the snacks. Yet.
But here’s a long delayed post I wanted to do on Kalai Curry House. Yup, used to be my absolute favourite place for South Indian cuisine in Ipoh (read my rave back then), but things started spiralling down during the last two visits. Read on to find out why ….
A poori set with their delicious rendition of dhal potato curry.
Before I was acquainted with Ananda Bahwan, Kalai was THE place for us to get some good old Indian breads; from my personal favourite of Poori to various Thosai and Naan. And not forgetting the evergreen Banana Curry Rice, whereas at Kalai, they’re using an artificial banana leaf to serve the splendid plethora of curries, vegetables and rice on. Somewhat treated with a glistening layer of shellac-like material, the leaves look cleaner but erm …. lost the fragrance, essence and the original authenticity?
A crispier Rawa Thosai filled with Curry
Anyway, I am not lamenting about the minor gripes. But more to the pathetic level of service during the last visit. We were seated in the middle of the premise, obviously within glaring distances from every single waiting staff running the place. Or running around the place.
But after a good 5 minutes or so of waving around frantically, NOT even to order our food yet, but merely signalling for the menus. Since our efforts were in vain, I took the menus from the counter myself and we pondered upon the dinner selection with glee. Yes, still. After another painful 5 minutes or so, nobody attended to our table. Not even asking what we would like to drink.
Which, by the way, you SHOULD try their Teh Tarik Susu Lembu (Cow’s Milk Tea) …. the BOMB, I might say.
Chicken Tandoori Set with Naan bread.
Until we lost patience after some time. Every other table was already tucking in and almost finishing their portions. And yes, some even came later than us! We finally managed to get hold of the lady boss (I assumed) and she took our orders.
But not before making her great escape BEFORE some of us even finished ordering our beverages! Huh. Very frustrating right?
Chicken 65 – A fried marinated chicken with spices, kind of delicious albeit slightly dry
Food arrived after another round of waiting. Worse was, Mum’s thosai (yeah, plain old Thosai) did not come until we all finished our meal!!! The dinner took about an hour or so, considerably lengthy as we were having breads mostly.
Enough condemnation. The food was still good, but I definitely have jumped to the Ananda Bahwan camp, when it comes to variety, quality and the overall dining experience. At least when I wanted to order Kottu Pratha, the people at AB did NOT reject me! (Yes, the lady said if I wanted that specially-made dish, gotta wait VERY VERY long)
Thosai laid out on a piece of real banana leaf this time. Hmm.
Very impressive eh? Hahaha … this picture reminded me of another one we took in Bangkok. Those good times ….
Teh Tarik Susu Lembu – In all its milky, creamy goodness!
Still, I will be back. But maybe not in the evening when the crowd can be slightly daunting. Breakfast is a very good time, when a Poori Set with a cup of tea will only set you back for less than RM5 per person. Economical and very filling, especially the potato masala served on the side.
So where will YOU be having your Deepavali-Indian Cuisine fix? Consider the newly reopened Pakeeza, with a facelift. Not sure about the prices, but definitely looking swanky now, in comparison to the old facade.
KALAI CURRY HOUSE @ No 38, Jalan Sultan Yussuf, 30000 Ipoh, Perak. Map and GPS coordinates to come later. In case you’re over-eager to find your way over, then drop me a mail or comment here.