By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen
It is interesting as well as unusual to find a restaurant that combines both the more aristocratic North Indian Moghul style cuisine with the robust and fiery South Indian banana leaf variety. While the southern style relies more on coconut milk and rice and is more spicy, the northern staple is more wheat based and utilises yoghurt to temper the heat from spices. It is also milder.
This club cafeteria has been around for many years with the current catering having changed hands 16 years ago. Under the able management of Karthar Singh, the restaurant has garnered a following of loyal supporters who enjoy the choice of cuisines, coming both for lunch and dinner for a change in textures and flavours.
Lunch is buffet style with one going to the counter and selecting the food which is then presented at your table in portions while dinner is à la carte. For lunch, as is usual with the banana leaf style of service, rice is served on your banana leaf with a choice of 3 vegetables and a dhal curry. These come in pails which are heaped on to the banana leaf in whatever quantities you wish for and top-ups are also included as part of the meal. For vegetarians, this is an economical meal for RM5 per person, with Rasam (a sour clear soup with herbs and spices) thrown in for free.
The lunch buffet has a wide selection of items. The Mutton Curry was tender, medium spicy with well blended flavours. The Dry Chicken was spicier with a more robust coating. There is a choice of cutlets made from fish or chicken. I opted for the fish which turned out to be spicy and very tasty. The fish curry was mild, with a smooth creamy sauce and the cauliflower and potato dry curry rounded out the meal nicely. Our total meal for two came to RM23 which was a very satisfying meal indeed.
For dinner, a printed menu is available from which to choose. There is the classic Tandoori Chicken, marinated with exotic herbs, spices and yoghurt and grilled in a clay oven. Our portion which was the entire thigh and drumstick, was grilled to perfection, slightly charred on the edges, marinated just right, and still succulent inside.
We had a Mutton Vindaloo which was delicately spiced and cooked with potatoes. The mutton was tender with a very dry gravy, the potatoes providing a slight thickening. A dish worth noting is the Fish Methi, pieces of boneless fish cooked in a thick sauce with methi or fenugreek leaves, a powerful herb containing many minerals and vitamins. The blend of spices in the sauce was robust and most appetising.
The back of the menu had a list of Chef’s specials and I was recommended the Sizzling Tandoori Chicken, which arrived as its name implies, on a sizzling platter, smothered with a sauce which I found too sweet to my taste but which went down very well with my guest – RM12. I also noted on the same specials listing, Fish Head curry which is priced at RM25-30.
To accompany our meat dishes, I ordered the Brinjal or Eggplant Masala, prepared with onions in a spicy sauce. This was delicious, the eggplant with a perfect ‘squishiness’ and great with the Cheese Garlic Naan which was a large serving-plate-sized oven baked bread topped with the aforementioned ingredients. To temper the spiciness of all the various dishes, Raita, a yoghurt ‘salad’ of finely-chopped raw vegetables mixed in yoghurt completed the feast.
Vegetarian Banana Leaf Meal: a choice of
3 vegetables and dhal – RM5
Dry Chicken – RM4
Fish Cutlet – RM2
Chicken Cutlet – RM2
Fish Curry – RM4
Tandoori Chicken – RM8 per portion
Mutton Vindaloo – RM9
Fish Methi – RM8
Sizzling Tandoori Chicken – RM12
Eggplant Masala – RM6
Cheese Garlic Naan – RM5
Raita (chopped vegetables in yoghurt) – RM4
Old Andersonian Club and Cafeteria
932 Jalan Hospital
Tel: 05-241 1615 or 012-501 7377
Business Hours: 11am-3pm & 6pm-10.30pm, closed every 2nd Monday
GPS: 4° 36.244’N, 101° 5.240’E