Puchong Chettinad Mess @ Puchong, Macha & Co @ Kota Damansara & 3S Curry House @ Taman Desa

August 15, 2016

Possibly the Klang Valley's most secretive & well-hidden venue for banana leaf rice, Puchong Chettinad Mess began running in recent weeks in a first-floor shop-lot on one of Puchong's less-travelled streets (incredibly for Puchong, parking is a breeze in front of Puchong Chettinad Mess, with several vacant spaces even at noon). Look for the signboard of Chakra Catering Services, then head upstairs to the hushed, curtained hall, where you might have the entire outlet to yourselves. Chakra owner Param insists that he's not pushing for massive crowds or maximum profits here - he charges only RM5.50 per person for refillable helpings of rice, vegetables & curries, with a selection that changes everyday & comprises some intriguing choices.

The food here tastes top-notch, with no corners cut, from the rice to the light, crisp pappadum to accompaniments like a deep-flavoured mango chutney, onion raita that's rich with yoghurt, creamy spinach, & our favourite, the relatively rarely seen pisang kari, which tastes more like a cross between potatoes & tapioca than bananas, cooked with coconut & aromatic spices.

Good gravies too: The moringa dal packs a slightly more fiery wallop than expected, while the the chicken curry is simple & satisfying in its meat-&-potatoes purity. The surprise is the tamarind curry brimming with sundakkai vathal (sun-dried turkey berries), conveying a robust bitterness traditionally believed to possess medicinal properties.

Add RM5-RM6 if you'd like to bolster your meal with meat - we recommend the very tender & tasty mutton peratal; others may want the Chicken 65. Rasam (beautiful) & moru (a curd-based refreshment with hints of shallots & ginger) are complimentary. 

Puchong Chettinad Mess
11-1, Jalan 7/9, Bandar Puteri Puchong, Selangor. Mon-Fri, 1130am-230pm.

Cool name for a banana leaf rice joint - Macha & Co offers a satisfactory rendition of the familiar South Indian staple, with a refillable set of steamed brown rice, up to three vegetables (pumpkin & bitter gourd for our visit), papadums, fried salted dried chillies, acar, rasam, curry & dal clocking in at RM9.50. Add some protein to your meal with the green masala chicken (RM6.50) & fresh cow's milk. Macha & Co's menu actually has several other intriguing temptations, including fried roti canai, dal fried rice & roti durian tisu gula melaka, but alas, none of those were available when we stopped by for a weekday lunch.

Macha & Co
32-1 Jalan PJU 5/16, Dataran Sunway, Kota Damansara, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Tel: 03-6144-6444

At only RM5.80 per person, there's no complaining about 3S Curry House's banana leaf rice, available for lunch, served with three vegetables, plus all the curry & dal you can splash on your rice. Add less than RM10 for a fried chicken thigh, lots of liver & hearts to make for a meal that'll leave you feeling full for hours.

3S Curry House

30G, Jalan 2/109E, Desa Business Park, Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur. Banana leaf rice served Mon-Sat, 12pm-3pm.

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