By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen
Once in a while the hankering for a sweat inducing, fiery meal grips me and my gustatory juices start flowing, prompting me to seek out the next ‘hot’ spot to sate my culinary yearnings. That was when Vivien Lian my girl Friday who is my assistant on the 2nd edition of my Foodie’s Guide (yes there is going to be a next edition soon….watch this space) suggested Sri Khalisa.
Established in 2014, Sri Khalisa Restaurant & Catering is an unassuming corner shop offering home-cooked style, mouth-watering, South Indian cuisine with oodles of little touches that set this place apart.
One of the highlights of the family-oriented dining spot is it’s not-so-common crab masala (RM7 per piece) featuring almost bite-sized flower crabs that you can enjoy, either the dainty or down-home, use-your-hands way. Bursting with flavours notably of anise and fenugreek, the juicy white meat is drenched in delicate ribbons of egg to thicken the sauce which is umami and yummilicious. Your rice or the free-flow of pappadum will sop up the addictive spicy sauce! This special dish is served about three times a week, depending on the availability of fresh crab at the market. A must-have.
Other all-time favourite dishes for lunch include the chicken varuval (RM5 per plate), mutton pretal (RM7 per plate), petai sambal (RM5 per plate), butter prawn (RM7 per plate) and briyani (RM7.50 per plate). All the ingredients are sourced locally.
Chicken varuval and petai sambal pack a strong kick that isn’t toned down, for which those seeking the real deal will adore. Meanwhile, the mutton pretal and butter prawns are more restrained in their burn factor. Of special note is the mutton pretal for its tender, well-cooked mutton chunks immersed in the curry gravy that is a meat-lover’s dream.
To cool these fiery sensations, A. Jevan, the owner, suggests trying their plain lassi (RM1.50 per cup).
The amiable Jevan explained, “I did engineering, having studied in London and Melbourne. My father-in-law had a restaurant earlier by the same name at Kuala Kangsar Road which was closed down. So I decided to shift the business and begin one here.”
“Our main regulars are factory workers from the surrounding area. We receive the biggest crowd during breakfast. We also have customers coming from as far as Johor and Singapore,” he said.
Brimming with variety, the breakfast menu features Malay, Chinese and Indian delicacies such as nasi lemak, yau char kwai (Chinese fried churros), kuih (cakes), appam (Indian pancake), idli (Indian savoury cake), thosai (Indian pancake), fried noodle, fried rice and more.
With a seating capacity of 70, the restaurant provides a free-flow of pickle and rasam (pepper soup). As for the catering side, Sri Khalisa has catered for plenty of governmental functions.
“Our catering capacity is up to 5000 people. In a day, we can cater up to five weddings of 1000 pax each in Ipoh!” Jevan added.
Sri Khalisa opens daily from 6am till 7pm, thus one can enjoy its homely fare all day every day!Sri Khalisa Restaurant & Catering Sdn Bhd (Halal)No. 71, Jalan Raja Perempuan Muzwin, Taman Rishah, 30100 Ipoh, Perak.016 532 1514 (A. Jevan) / 016 566 4302 (K. Priya)Business hours: 6am-7pm daily 24/7