Monday, March 14, 2011

Vegetarian Briyani @ Chat Masala, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur

Whenever I meet anyone new, I must admit I often quiz them on their favourite places. It's through these "poky" little queries that I've managed to unearth great finds. During my Macau trip, I was given this little tip about Chat Masala, whom one person proclaimed as very authentic and excellent. Being an avid reader of Eating Asia, I know the place is well known for its teatime snacks but since it was mid-day sustenance I was looking for, we were lost when we walked in to the busy restaurant. The best thing to do was eye up what people were eating around us and it pointed us to briyani. Turned out it was vegetarian and a choice of mutton or chicken. Throwing wind to the caution, we ordered each variety and prayed for the best.
           We hit the jackpot as bowls of the super aromatic and fluffy briyani rice (RM7.50 each) was placed in front of us on a platter filled with chopped vegetables in yoghurt and a vegetable puree with bits of cauliflower. The yellow rice was perfumed with fragrant spices, nuts and came with chunks of soy dressed as mutton (the darker ones) and chicken pieces. Having eaten pseudo meat before, I was skeptical but these soy chunks were darn tasty and almost as good as the real stuff. It was definitely one of the best briyanis I have eaten since it packed a punch of aromatics in each fluffy grain. I also enjoyed the eggplant curry but the deep fried bittergourd was mediocre. A quick glance at their menu made my mouth water as everything sounded scrumptious. Too bad my tummy was full of rice or else it would have been the teatime snacks. We did manage to include some sweets i.e. the kulfi, which was too icy and an interesting ice cream eggless cake, which despite its neon pink look turned out to be pretty decent tasting.
           Being in the neighbourhood, we walked around the newly revamped Little India. Buildings have been given a splash of lavender and the sidewalks now sported these colourful and garish looking arches that didn't seem to add much aesthetic value but worked well as great pigeon perches. Right smack in the road was the fountain built in honour of the Indian prime minister's visit - a monstrosity of sculpted elephants, and peacocks that looked a little out of place with the Sentral apartments as a backdrop. Even though Little India seems to have been given a new splash of colour, things don't seem to change with the main road being choked up with inconsiderate double or illegal parkers on the side. Maybe money should have been spent instead on new parking facilities?

Restaurant Chat Masala
259G Jalan Tun Sambanthan
Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 03-2260 3244

(Pork Free. Open from morning till night. Vegetarian briyani is available every day for lunch except Wednesdays. For more pictures on the restaurant, see this Flickr set. For more pictures on Little India, see this Flickr set.)

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. This review is time sensitive; changes may occur to the place later on that can affect this opinion. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from this place for writing the review.

*Pictures of the pigeons, fountain and the faces of Brickfields are taken by Splashie Boy with his Olympus PEN E-P2


Michelle Chin said...

I watched some programme on the travel and living channel and it is said that the pilaf somewhat resembles the briyani. I've attempted the pilaf before but yet to do so with the briyani. I wonder how it tastes like!

Kenny Mah said...

What an explosion of colours and flavours, indeed! I love briyani and all the curries that go with it. :)

As for the prettifying of our Little India, you're quite right... doesn't seem to add much and the traffic congestion issue's still far from being resolved. Whose idea was this, again?

Ellen Whyte said...

They've tidied bits of Brickfields up a bit I've noticed. Looks a lot cleaner.

Ciki said...

Love little India.. love the hidden gems for food. Hate what they did to it though.. with the gaudy deco.. not cool!

boo_licious said...

Michelle - briyani has more spices I reckon and with the basmati rice, it's low GI too. Good luck with the pilaf.

Life for Beginners - Morning, Kenny! While I hate the gaudiness, must admit Brickfields is still a splash of colour. Do give the veg briyani a try, simply awesome stuff.

Au & Target - yes, they got rid of the old stuff but it's all hidden behind these gaudy stuff.

C&C - yeah, not very nice. The lomo pix seems to soften the effect a little or else the garish colours would have put you off the food.

Baby Sumo said...

I was about to ask you on IG where the best banana leaf rice is in KL. Would love to give this place a try but the traffic here scares me.

Sean said...

actually your photos of the surroundings are great! it looks like an area that i'd like to visit, if i were a tourist! love how the briyani looks so moist and comforting too :D

Curious N said...


Loved your take on BF.. Elephant fountain and all! :) BTW you have a shot of my house too! :)

Dont like the Biryani @ chaat Masala.. Rather DONT like that restaurant at all.. coz they totally messed up with the Chaat part of it! :(

Really nice Biryani at Nagas and Vishalachirs though and at Kashmir Valley.

Had a few visitors from India the other day and took them around our version of "little India" LOL.. they were HORRIFIED!

Well now that Chennai and KL are sister cities, hopefully things will get better.

Once again, LOVED your pics of BF, sort of makes me proud of living around there!

Sre said...

ur photo really stunning! i feel like i wanna lick the screen. hahahaaa

J said...

Sigh. They spend so much time n money making it prettier but do not solve the traffic/ parking problems. =_=
(Mmmmmm. The briyani n eggplant look gooooood! This place is on my list for when I get my next major carb craving)

sb_jam said...

the food looks so good! feel like eating it!

and the pictures look great too~!

iamthewitch said...

The briyani really looks to-die-for! Coincidentally, I was just thinking of having Indian food for the weekend.. Funny how we usually have Indian food only during weekends? hehe well that's only me I guess.. but this sure looks like a place to try!

J2Kfm said...

The whole place looks nice now, but traffic's a horror. And the one-way streets ain't helping much either.

Thanks, now this should be another addition to the still-to-visit Vishal lunch.

Ami's Vegetarian said...

hi Nice to meet fellow blogger from Malaysia. I suggest you to write more about indian food options in kl.

Thanks, chk out my blog too..

Anonymous said...

RM5k give away - - i think its a pretty cool website. go check it out!

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