I wrinkled my nose in disdain when asked by our marketing manager Ramesh if I`d like to check out a ‘newish’ restaurant opposite ACS school in Jalan Lahat. “What type of food?” I asked, and on being told it was a mixture of Indian, Western and Malaysian Chinese, I was immediately put off as I suffer from this prejudice that a restaurant that tries to be all things to all people cannot serve good food.
After eating at Flavours Restaurant, I`ve had to eat my words as both the Indian and Western dishes I’ve tasted were well up to my ‘foodie’ standards, some items well surpassing them. Their menu claims to be the ‘One Stop Restaurant’ serving authentic South Indian cuisine as well as western and Malaysian cuisine. Pork and beef free, their chickens are slaughtered by Muslims while their mutton is either from Australia or fresh locally.
Driving Force Alice
Proprietor M.S. Sebastian, his wife Josephine and his daughter Alice Selvi Sebastian, who is the main driving force in the kitchen, operate Flavours in an old two-storey shop house that can accommodate 50 for banquets upstairs and 50 for diners downstairs in high ceilinged airy premises, (with air-conditioning) kept spotlessly clean.
Alice who has a Diploma in Patisserie from City and Guilds and trained in western food preparation, is an avid baker and makes all the cakes, cheesecakes and other desserts on offer. Her breads are freshly baked daily and are available for sale and takeaway from a counter at the front of the restaurant. I was intrigued by her low-glycemic-index bread and asked to try some. I found it very tasty and even bought a loaf home.
The Indian food is authentically Chettinad, prepared by a Chettinad cook from India who whips up Thosais, Parathas, Puris, Uttapams, plain or otherwise and served with two delectable chutneys, as well as sambar. The good news is that unlike a large majority of Indian restaurants, these are served all day. From RM1.20 for a plain Thosai to RM3.00 for an onion and tomato Uttapam.
Their Mutton and Chicken Masala packs a fair sizzle on the palate and are as tasty as they come. Served in value sets at RM6.50 for the chicken and RM7.50 for the mutton (they also do fish curry) that comes with Sambar (a kind of dhal gravy), Rasam (a sourish soup) two types of vegetables, this is a great value meal; while their chicken curry made from Alice`s own home-blended curry powder, is mild and great for those who prefer less pungency – RM6.
Their pièce de résistance though has to be their Bryanis. Available on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only, their Bryanis are prepared `Dum`style, that is the rice and either vegetables, chicken or (mutton only on advance special order) are a quarter cooked on the stove top and then sealed in the pot and finished cooking with hot charcoals on the lid. A curry gravy can be requested to go with the Bryani. The portions are very generous and at RM6 for a vegetable Bryani, RM 8 for the chicken and RM9 for mutton, this is the place to go on weekends.
For those with no palate for the ‘hot stuff’, Flavours also serves up creditable Western standards like Chicken Chop and Fish and Chips RM12.90; an American Mixed Grill with chicken and lamb chops, sausages and egg RM29.90; Chicken Maryland RM13.90; and Chicken Cordon Bleu RM15.90. I tasted this dish of Chicken Breast stuffed with chicken ham and cheese and served with salad and mashed potatoes. This came with a gravy that Alice described as home-cooked from scratch, the traditional French way: bones and vegetables are baked in a low oven for one and half days, before deglazing and all the flavours extracted to make the sauce. Flavourful and satisfying.
With all the care and attention that goes into the preparation of food and especially with the assurance that no MSG is ever used in the kitchen, Alice and her parents are set to garner a corp of loyal diners. May they continue the standards already set.
56 Jalan Lahat, 30020 Ipoh
Mobile: 012-5197297 (Alice) or 012-5198056 (Sebastian)