When J’s parents mentioned a new Indian Malaysian restaurant, Sri Devi Curry House, had popped up where Mak’s Place and later, Ipoh’s Corner, used to be, and that it was far superior to its predecessors, we were only too happy to join them for lunch to find out for ourselves.
In the interests of science and blog research, of course.
Upon arrival, we bumped into two of J’s parents’ oldest friends, who had decided to drop into Sri Devi last minute. With our group boosted to six, it meant more hands (and bellies) on deck to try out the food on offer.
One of the biggest draws of Sri Devi, for J’s dad, was the Saturday special, fish head curry. As we waited for ours to arrive, we spotted an older Chinese gentleman eating an entire bowl solo, with Just a small bowl of plain rice and a glass of water. A good sign.
Fresh pink snapper heads were used in this curry, swimming in a light curry sauce that packed reasonable heat and a great tang from the added tomatoes, lemongrass and turmeric.
Enjoying fish head curry is a relatively new thing for me – it always used to be “mum and dad food” at home – not a kid favourite, and therefore, cooked with extra chili.
We also shared two serves of vegetarian biryani ($7.00), which came laden with whole spices (cumin, cardamom), with lots of curry leaves and coriander mixed through. I found the biryani a surprise stand out. It was fragrant with just a touch of heat, and would have satisfied my appetite on its own, without the addition of meat or chicken.
J’s mum was more keen on murtabak ($12.00), and now I can totally understand why, after trying this one from Sri Devi.
Minced chicken, onion and egg are wrapped here in a thin roti canai (paratha) dough before being fried on the flat top grill. J’s mum and I got to chatting about the relative merits of murtabak, both agreeing that most places add way too much onion, leaving you with an unbalanced mix of flavours and textures. The onion to chicken ratio here was spot on.
The choice of chicken (instead of the usual mutton) was great too, as I’m not the biggest fan of mutton, generally. And if you’re feeling fishy – there’s even a sardine option too. (I assume ayam brand in tomato sauce? :))
Neither J or I could go past the roti canai, $6.00 for one, served with a meat curry sauce and dhal.
The roti canai here is *almost* as good as my mum’s. Or maybe my aunty’s. It’s smooth and silky on the inside, without a hint of toughness (a sure sign of over worked dough or too little ghee) and fried to flaky, golden perfection.
Frankly, I could eat these unadorned, every day, Monday through Friday – if overconsumption of ghee wasn’t at all a concern.
Teh tarik (“pulled” tea, $3.50) is on the drinks menu, and is the perfect thing to take the edge off the chili heat of your meal.
Alternatively, you might find other Malaysian favourites like Teh ice, Milo tarik or Nescafe (hot or cold), more your thing?
The food was so good that J and I still weren’t satisfied, a full week after this meal. We found ourselves unmistakably craving roti canai ….
This time, we also sampled the Idli and sambal (a serve of 2 idli, $5.00) a South Indian specialty usually served at breakfast time.
Idli, if you haven’t tried them, are steamed savoury cakes. They’re made from a sourdough-like fermented batter, that contains finely ground rice and lentils. Once they’re steamed, they become light and fluffy, and they’re served hot – usually with two kinds of chutney (one chili-based, and one coconut-based).
Thosai are also offered on the menu – we shared one with J’s parents on our first visit (no picture, because we were too busy eating, sorry). Plain, egg, onion, cheese and masala options are all available, starting at $7.50 each.