When I am in Petaling Jaya, along Jalan Gasing to be specific and hoping for some indian food, as oppose to the usual cafe variety I am accustomed to, I head to my good ol’ favourite indian restaurant -Shanar Curry House. Which was what I was doing until I stumbled across this cafe. Shanar Curry House operates using two shop lots and in between these shop lots, there is a stairway heading up to the first and second floor. Lankan Cafe is located on the First floor. Since that is the case, it is easy to miss it, but I do need to give them credit though, for trying to take several measure to make their existence a little more obvious.
The stairway heading up is kept clean and brightly lit. So ladies who intend to head there alone, it is very safe.
I have only tasted Sri Lankan/Ceylonese dishes twice and that too at a higher end restaurant – Aliyaa in Bukit Damansara. Whatever they cooked tasted good but then again, it was a higher end eatery, so whatever they produced had to and did taste delicious lol. I do not have much prior experiences to compare this with. I do not think it is fair to compare this with my experience at Aliyaa. It is like comparing Milo to Van Houten Cocoa. Both taste yummy, but it’s obvious they belong at different levels – it just isn’t fair comparing both against one another. Same goes here, it simply isn’t fair to compare Lankan Cafe to Aliyaa, which would explain the lack of experience I have with this cuisine. I do however love indian food, which I am sure offers quite the resemblance to ceylonese cuisine. I figured that since Sri Lanka and India are literally next to each other , only being separated by water, specifically the Gulf of Mannar. However, that does not stop the citizens of these two countries to travel to one another. So, I figured based on that geographical reasoning, while there may be a slight difference between the indian and ceylonese cuisines, the basics are pretty similar.
Well, first up, I find this cafe’s arrangement and decor a little weird. A quarter of the shop’s floor is covered in fake grass. Why? Why do that? Green against red isn’t a good mix, and what about the other 3/4 of the floor? I do not understand that. It seems like the cafe is divided into 2 sections – the red and the black? The red was brightly lite, the walls were painted red, lights everywhere and then there is the black section, as above – where everything is mostly dark. Most cafes these days would hire someone to advise them on how to maximize the potential of their cafe, which would include everything from design, color, arrangements, furniture, presentation, marketing and etc – it is pretty obvious this cafe did not do that. Perhaps this is exactly what they intended, to just put 2 and 2 together and somehow make it work. If that is the case, then I guess they succeeded. Once you get over their weird colors and arrangement, it’s a pretty decent looking cafe. It exudes a feel of homeliness. The kind you feel when you head to your grandma’s house – indian style lol. The lighting and the bright colors may not resemble it but the furniture used and arrangements of things do provide you that feel. I must say, i kind of grew fond of this whole weird concept midway through my meal. It has a way of creeping up to you like that.
Lunch Set 2 – Rice with Chicken Curry + 2 Vegetables, 15.90 Ringgit
This set came with with rice ( I usually prefer indian rice/ brown rice , being health conscious and all, but they did not have they usual variety an indian shop would provide), a bowl of chicken curry with 4 pieces of chicken, a small bowl of sweet onion pickle and petola ular (Malay)/ butternut squash ( I dont know if I got the right name for the vegetable served). For those who do not favor rice and want something lighter, they can opt for puttu or iddiyappam (made from rice flour) with an addition of 2 ringgit.
This dish did not do it for me. Being an Asian, be it an Indian, Malay or Chinese – we all love our spices. I’ve heard of the Sri Lankan Devil’s Curry which was suppose to taste delicious. What I got here though is what I assume is definitely not the Devil’s Curry. This chicken curry was watery and almost tasteless, it lacks spices and chilly. The chicken chunks in the curry barely meat and had plenty of bones. I did not like the curry, disliked it so much that I decided to skip it and use the little gravy I acquired from the sweet onion pickle, with the rice. The onion pickle was delicious obviously, however since it was not one of the mains, I only received a bit of it. It was sweet and crunchy and tasted appetizing. The Butternut Squash tasted as it should be, a bit of sourness and bitterness. Although both the vegetables were nice, I would give this dish a miss the next time.
Breakfast Set 3 – Appam with Tea , 7.90 ringgit
This was a good dish. The paal (milk) appam, was soft, sweet and gooeeyyy on the inside and crunchy on the outside. It was very yummy, yummy enough that I contemplated ordering another one only to ignore that thought because I had a plate of rice + chicken to gobble up. The tea that accompanied this appam was nice. It did not taste like those pre-made tea some restaurants like using. Here, they use good tea, good milk and the combination tasted nice enough that I drank it like that without a pinch of sugar. I was satisfied with this set. If you are in Petaling Jaya vicinity, have a craving for something sweet but you do not think the conventional desserts like cakes and ice creams would satisfy it, then do consider having this appam.
Would I head here again?
Errmm Nope, I do not think I will unless I feel like having some appam. I am excited that I have discovered a new place nearby that offers good appam. I do not come by many restaurants/cafes that offer delicious appams, besides Hoppers ( Hoppers KL – M in Loveeeee! ) that is. In terms of a solid meal with rice and curry and vegetables, I would rather head downstairs to my favourite indian restaurant – Shanar Curry House. Maybe sometime in the future, I may give their Iddiappam a go when I feel like it. If that dish taste good, then perhaps they would see me frequenting that cafe quite a bit. However, until i reach that “sometime in the future”, I will give this cafe a miss cause I love my chicken curry and they messed up mine. I am going to head to a corner and sulk for a bit.
Address: 388, First Floor, Jalan 5/59, Bukit Gasing, Petaling Jaya.
Opening hours: Tuesdays to Sundays, 10 am – 10 pm.
Signing out now, Ciao.