The problem with most Banana Leaf places is that no matter how superlative the food, most of the time, you are eating hot stuff in a hot place! With tears streaming, sweat pouring, and nose sniffling, the entire Banana Leaf eating experience is often diminished.
Now a new Banana Leaf experience is conveniently located in Meru Raya, near where I live, where I can savour all my favourite fiery South Indian delectables in cool comfort.
Called Daun Pisang, the restaurant’s specialty is Claypot Fish Curry with a wide choice of other dishes cooked in the inimitable South Indian tradition. This is a restaurant that specialises in fish and chicken prepared in a wide variety of styles.
Aside from their Claypot Fish Curry with a choice of Red Snapper (Ikan Merah), Tenggiri (local mackerel) Pomfret (Bawal Hitam) in sizes small, medium and large, (S: RM12; M: RM22; L: RM38) they also offer the same with chicken cooked and served in claypot at (S: RM8.50; M: RM16; L: RM30).
Their Claypot Fish Curry is tangy, with just the right sour notes, spicy enough though not searing and cooked with ladies fingers, brinjals and tomatoes. Fish head too can be ordered and, as they use Red Snapper head, is priced according to market price, ranging from RM48-RM60 depending on the size. Do ask before ordering or better still, order a day ahead to ensure they keep one for you. Red Snapper fish head is becoming scarce and hard to find these days so having it available at Daun Pisang is a boon.
Because they specialise in serving primarily chicken and fish means that the chef has more time to focus on the quality, getting the freshest fish available. Both the fish in the fish curry as well as the different fried fish which I tried were all ocean fresh and well selected.
In the Fried category, their special marination of the fish for 24 hours and served with crispy fried onion rings and curry leaves, lifts the dish from the ordinary to the very special. The choice of fish for frying which is done a’la minute as you select, ranges from Tenggiri RM8; Kembong (a smaller type of local mackerel) RM7; Senangin (also know as local salmon), Bawal Hitam (black pomfret) both at RM8 per 100g; and Ikan Bulus or Chinese Sar Chui Yu at RM2 per piece. And when freshly available, they also have fried sotong (squid).
Another fried dish is their Chicken Berempah which is well marinated for at least 24 hours, fried a’la minute as you select your piece, arriving at the table piping hot, crispy at the edges, juicy and tender inside and encrusted with bits of the spices used in the marinade. Totally yummilicious at RM5-S and RM8-M.
Wet dishes include their Chicken Varuval and Paratal or Spicy chicken priced at RM8.50 per portion while their Chicken Rendang is priced at RM9.50. All well spiced, not too chili hot and well coated with sauce. Occasionally mutton is available and usually served in the Varuval style.
There is a large selection of vegetables and accompaniments of Indian mouthwatering pickles and interesting tidbits. Their spiced green banana coin shaped chips are made fresh, rubbed with dried spices and fried crisp. Wonderful to nibble on while waiting for the rest of the food or to take home and served with cocktails. Their crispy fried chillies which I love, were eye-wateringly spicy but little bites in between provided for me the tantalising scorch on the tongue that I crave for. Their vegetarian banana leaf spread consisting of 3 vegetables, papadam, pickle, rasam (a sourish soup that is reputed to settle digestion and also to clear the palate), sambar (thin lentil gruel with mixed vegetables) and dried chilli fritters. RM8.80.
As they also open for breakfast, their breakfast fare include Thosai, Appam, Murtabak, Roti Canai and a whole host of other Indian specialties ranging in price from RM1.50 for plain Roti Canai to RM5 for a chicken Murtabak. Of special note are their chutneys that come with their range of Thosai. Every Thosai is served with three chutneys, and these are all made fresh every day, as are their Thosai. The Thosai I loved the best was their Rawa Thosai, a thin crispy pancake with holes and laced with hints of fennel, and other Indian spices – RM2.80. These breakfast items are served from early morning until 11am when the lunch service begins and resume again at 3pm. Don't forget to also try their Masala Tea.Daun Pisang Restaurant Claypot Fish Curry (Pork Free; Halal certification coming soon)#93, A-G, Jalan Meru Bestari B2Medan Meru Bestari, Bandar Meru RayaTel: +6014 921 6889 Prem Kumar Manager 05 525 3995 Business hours: 8am-10pm. Closed Sundays.