By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen

Air Asia has popularised the idea that now ‘Everyone Can Fly’. Then came Airbnb with its ‘Belong Anywhere’ branding where the whole world is one huge accommodation marketplace.

Now with ‘PlateCulture’, everyone can entertain at home.

At Home’ in this instance is not at your home where you have to prepare, cook, serve and that most dreary of chores – washing up – but at the home of the Chef. The PlateCulture Chef is someone deeply in love with cooking and ready to show his/her cooking skills to people appreciating good food. These hosts range from professionally-trained chefs to the most passionate and practiced home cooks. PlateCulture Chefs cook and host pre-arranged dining events at their homes.

Events take place in Chef's homes. So if a Chef is different – the place will also be different. After you book, Chef confirms the booking and you make the payment.

The first Plate Culture experience to arrive in Ipoh is at the home of Mallika and Subash. Located at Ipoh Garden East, their home is cosy with the only other caveat for you the diner, is to be a dog lover. Three lovable and extremely friendly Shih Tsu’s who will only want your love and attention, will greet you enthusiastically on arrival. But Mallika will lock them away if you’re dog shy.

Mallika and Subash specialize in Biriyanis which they offer on Plate Culture (https://plateculture.com/) as the Ashley’s Biriyani Experience. Mallika who loves to write and has a blog 'My World in Words' has this to say on their entry into the world of Plate Culture:

“My husband and I love cooking! He picked up his culinary skills whilst studying in the UK and I was an ardent student under the tutelage of my mum and my mum-in-law.

We are also avid travellers and what we discovered during our travels was the difficulty in finding a really good, taste-bud satisfying plate of Biriyani! This prompted us to experiment and slowly but surely we derived a mouth-watering concoction of our very own version of Biriyani! You will love it!

Besides the main course of Biriyani, of which we have either chicken or mutton, we serve a fresh yoghurty vegetable and fruit Raita, a tangy Mint Chutney, mildly explosive Raisin Chutney and Papadam. To wash down your meal, we serve freshly squeezed limey-lemonade.

For our beloved vegetarian friends, we have a mildly spicy vegetable Biriyani, served with all the side dishes mentioned including a delectable, tingling Ginger pickle known traditionally as Injee Puli.

To us, cooking is almost a religion - at least we think so - one's heart has to be clean and the energy one transfers from one's hands to the food must flow with positive vibes -a sacred act prepared with love and care will only manifest good health.

We take the preparing of meals for our family seriously – it is a labour of Love – and most importantly, when our family sits together to enjoy a meal, we bless our food and take our time savouring each morsel. Food is sacred business, you know!

On that note, we would love to invite you all to our home to get to know you and share in our Biriyani Experience! See you soon!”

I can certainly vouch for the Biriyani Experience as a most delightful and enjoyable one. The enthusiastic greeting from Mallika’s three Shih Tsu’s just tops Mallika’s own welcome, a gracious presence complemented by Subash’s more reserved one. Their sitting room is comfortable and apple juice was forthcoming almost immediately the moment we sat down.

The meal is served in their dining area adjacent to the kitchen which was spic and span. The spread was already on the table when we sat down, Fried Chicken Biriyani, Mutton Dum Biriyani, fruit and vegetable Raita and three different chutneys, the mint, ginger and raisin, hard boiled eggs and papadum.

Fresh made lemonade was served throughout the meal and Mallika and Subash couldn’t have been more thoughtful, hovering or sitting and chatting with the three of us who were there.

Of the three different Biriyanis which I tasted, my favourite was the Mutton Dum biriyani. This style of cooking involves marinating and cooking the meat with its own delectable spice blend, then added to the rice, the pot sealed with a flour paste and   left to cook in its own juices. The pot is only unsealed just before serving, stirred to distribute the flavours, topped with added fried onions and garnishes and the end result is delectable rice heaven. The other biriyanis are equally tasty albeit more toned down and probably appealing to the less fiery palates. The Mutton Dum biriyani can also be changed to Chicken Dum Biriyani for those who don’t like mutton and the style of cooking remains the same.

We ended our meal with an Indian classical dessert, the Falooda, made with basil seeds, rose syrup, vermicelli, sweet milk and topped with crushed almonds and cashews. Indians believe that Basil seeds are ‘cooling’ and it was indeed a most refreshing dessert.

A typical menu on their Plate Culture website looks like this: 

  • A refreshing Welcome drink – Orangena or Applecious
  • Chicken /Mutton Biriyani
  • Vegetable/Fruit Raita
  • Raisin Chutney/Mint Chutney/Papadam
  • Vermicelli Pudding (Falooda)
  • Free flow of freshly squeezed limey-lemonade with a hint of ginger and mint!

This is priced at RM41 per guest, with a minimum of two guests and a maximum of six.

However, Mallika and Subash are happy to cater and deliver to your home at the following prices per head with a minimum order of 10 and a maximum of 20: Chicken – RM18; Mutton Dum – RM20; Vegetarian – RM16; Fried chicken – RM18. These come with mint chutney, raitha, ginger chutney, papadum, hard-boiled eggs which is included in the per head price. Eat-in comes with lemonade, papadum and falooda.

Ashley’s Biriyani Experience
9 Lebuh Perajurit 3, Ipoh Garden East. 
Mallika Madhavan-Subash and Subash Damodaran.
018 245 7886 and 018 298 5466.
https://plateculture.com/where-to-eat/ashleys-biriyani-experience?city=ipoh