PETALING JAYA, Feb 15 — After a drought of not finding any good places for banana leaf rice, I seem to have turned the corner with this discovery… in the heart of Mutiara Damansara.
Known as Kari Kepala Ikan Mutiara Damansara (MD), its day to day focus is Malay fare.
In the morning, many flock here for the nasi lemak kukus with their sambal power, lontong Singapore style or even dry lontong. Lunch is an array of dishes to select from like their famous fish head curry or asam pedas Melaka.
For weekend lunch (12pm to 4pm), it transforms into a banana leaf rice joint. You will be spoiled by the thick flavourful fish curry that you will want to slurp up and well-cooked vegetables, especially those crunchy thin bitter gourd crisps.
And don’t forget that amazing peppery rasam with its shock of flavours that will leave an everlasting impression.
Pair your rice and vegetables with a side order of deep fried breaded calamari.
Your basic banana leaf rice set is priced at RM12. You get a mini mountain of white rice — drizzled with the curry of your choice — on your banana leaf with dollops of vegetables.
Who says vegetables are boring? Even the cucumber tairu is delicious with crunchy pieces tossed in a thick, tangy yoghurt. You also have stir fried cabbage masala anointed in sunshine yellow and spinach dhal.
There’s no need to fuss with bones if you order their Chicken 65.
I especially liked the mango chutney that adds a nice tanginess to the whole meal. There’s pappadums of course to give crunch. Don’t ignore the rasam after your meal. That shot of hot rasam with its peppery notes will warm the belly with its heat. It’s seriously good stuff and probably the best I have tasted so far.
For the meal, add on the Chicken 65 for RM8 per plate. It’s done differently here where cubes of chicken are deboned and served sans skin. It may look dry but each piece was juicy and well marinated. Eat it with the fried shallots that garnish it.
The fish curry has such depth of flavour that I was practically drinking it down to the last drop.
Regulars drop by during the weekend for their banana leaf rice fix here.
I was torn between the crispy fried mushrooms or the deep fried breaded calamari. Eventually I picked the calamari (RM12). You get perfectly cooked calamari that is not rubbery. The batter isn’t the type which is overly crunchy though.
Even though I was keen to try the fish head curry, it would have been too much. Instead I settled for a piece of curry fish; here they use ikan jenahak. where the price ranges from RM17 to RM25, depending on the size you select.
On the side of the restaurant, find this eye catching mural which everyone uses as a backdrop for a group photo.
I wasn’t a fan of the texture of the fish but that curry was very good. It was thick and flavourful from the assortment of spices used making it super addictive. You’ll be eating up every drop of it with rice.
If you’re not into curry, there’s also a variety of fishes like tenggiri, bawal, jenahak and kerisi that are deep fried. Next time, I must try the highly recommended kerisi fish.
Find the eatery at a corner lot right opposite the surau and Nasi Kukus Ilham.
Apparently they also do masala tea but I was stuffed with all that good food, so I didn’t get a chance to try it.
Restoran Kari Kepala Ikan Mutiara Damansara, No.32-1A, Jalan PJU 7/16B (Opposite the surau and Nasi Kukus Ilham), Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya. Open: 8am to 4pm. Closed on Thursday. Tel: +6019-2869989. Facebook:@karikepalaikanmd Instagram: @karikepalaikanmd
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