I zoom past rows of shophouses on my way into and out of town every day on the road that leads to the YMCA on one side and St John Ambulance on the other and never pay attention to the various restaurants on the side of the YMCA just after the bridge or before depending on the direction I’m going, until as usual, Ginla Foo points out to me a great place for banana leaf curry.
A relative newcomer to the Banana Leaf curry scene, having only taken over the premises slightly more than a year ago, Mr and Mrs Anba who run the restaurant with a team of helpers, offer home-cooked Indian dishes on a choice of banana leaf or plates in a restaurant that spans two shoplots with one side being air-conditioned and the other fan-cooled. Although the day I was there the air-conditioning was having hiccups, they were considerate enough to lay on extra standing fans for the group of us “hotties”.
Like most banana leaf restaurants, the curries and dishes were all pre-cooked and displayed for selection. As we were celebrating Ruth Yates’ birthday that afternoon, we went to town and ordered just about everything they had on offer – for lunch that is.
A big disappointment for me was the fact that their fish head curry was already sold out and it was only 12.45pm when we arrived which told me that in future, I either had to reserve the fish head in advance or check if its on the menu that day. We settled for the fish curry which had the same curry gravy and had the perfect tangy, tart, just right spiciness and a smooth mouthfeel. RM5.00 per portion (PP).
The semi dry mutton curry was delectable, not too spicy, well coated with sauce and meaty without too many bones. My son who was with me that day and who hates bones in any of his meat, just loved the fact that he didn’t have to ‘battle with the bits’ as he calls it. RM6.00 PP.
The fried chicken was well flavoured and crispy crunchy as fried chicken should be; RM5.00 for a plate of about 5 pieces, while the dry curried chicken was searingly spicy and a tad on the sweet side. RM4.00 PP. The vegetable korma which went very well with the briyani rice was excellent, mild with a nice mix of vegetables and very tasty indeed. For the non-vegetarian, the briyani comes with mutton at RM7.50 and chicken at RM6.50. Eat these with the vegetable korma and you’re in Indian food heaven. The vegetarian set with unlimited vegetables, rice, poppadum, chutney and the ubiquitous cucumber salad goes for RM5.00.
Unfortunately, it was a weekday when we were there otherwise I would have loved to have tasted their crab curry which is a special on Fridays and Saturdays only. As crab prices are seasonal, one just has to go and pot-luck on the appropriate days. Given the standard of cooking here, the crab curry promises to be good.
The restaurant is open from 7.00am till 10pm and as is usual with Indian restaurants, they serve Thosai, Appom, Vadai and most of the famous Indian breakfast bread dishes here in the morning. They even have Nasi Lemak. From 3.00pm onwards, it’s the Malaysian favourite Roti Canai.
Restoran Rishi Bavan
#38-40 Medan Istana, Bandar Ipoh Raya
Tel: 05 241 9139
Owner Mr Anba: 012 515 8581 Open 7.00am-10pm Closed Sundays
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