Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Annam Poorna Unavagam @ Masjid India, Kuala Lumpur

It has been more than a decade since I last visited Semua House. This was once a very prominent mall in Masjid India that was famous for it's hand phone shops and gadgets.  This is where, in the year 1996, that I bought my very first phone, a Nokia 100. One of those phones that were made in the Netherlands and one that still works till today. That time, I used to work nearby and would come here almost everyday for the food court that's located on the Basement level. For nostalgic reasons, I decided to drop by to see if that very same Indian shop is still in operation as I used to love their food then.

Indian Stalls

Rebranded and Renovated

The Place Seems Very Nice Now
As I walked inside, I was surprised to see the transformation that had been done with Semua House. Today, this seems like it is a famous textile shopping place and that's a complete contrast to what it was. The basement food court is still in operation but that too had been rebranded and it's now called The Eatery. The place had a modern look to it but the number of stalls had definitely reduced and this I am comparing to what it was in the mid 90's. 

Small Mineral Water Bottle @ RM 1.40
My Dad and I decided to walk around to see what's available. I then came across this drinks' stall which runs three stalls in this food court (E09, E10 & E11). They had a number of funky looking drinks that did not seem very appetising to me and I decided to just have a bottle of water. This was priced at RM 1.40 . That's expensive! Those days, this was a poor man's mall but prices are exorbitant these days.

That Very Same Stall

Good Variety

Vegetarian & Non Vegetarian Dishes Available
Finally, I managed to locate that very same stall that I used to go to and it's now located at Unit No E-12. The same lady was there manning the stall. The variety looked good. They had a number of vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes that were at display. My Dad and I then went for our selection, paid for them and returned to the table. Service was not as good as it was. The lady used to be very humble and friendly those days but today, she seemed a little more arrogant.  In fact, even when we were selecting the dishes, she wasn't patient till we had chosen all of them and was like rushing us to finalise it despite not having any other customers as it had passed the usual lunch time. Maybe she'd been having a bad day.

My Dad's Meal @ RM 8.00

My Meal @ RM 12.00
My Dad went for Rice with Fish Curry, Stir Fried Bayam, Long Beans Perattal, Petai Sambal and Anchovies Sambal and his lunch was priced at RM 8.00 . I went for some Rice, Chicken Gravy, Mutton Perattal, Prawn Sambal, Fish Varai (Sura Puttu) and two Appalam's and my lunch was priced at RM 12.00 . I feel that it is still very cheap bearing in mind the variety that we had taken. RM 20.00 for all this is definitely a good deal. I am very glad that at least these guys are still keeping their prices very reasonable. If only I did not have an other meeting in the afternoon, I would have surely taken more as most of the items looked good. Sorry for the quality of the pictures. The lighting was so off that it gave a greenish hue on all the photographs taken. Even we seemed a little greener in that lighting.

Fish Curry with Lady's Finger

Fish Curry with Lady's Finger
Before I get to the Fish Curry, let me speak about the rice. The rice itself was not fully cooked and it was very grainy. I wonder how they could make such a blunder as any idiot these days should be able to cook rice perfectly with all the available technology. And I did not expect this from one that is in the business for more than two decades. For me, the Rice shall only deserve a rating of 4/10 . Well, when the rice is bad, that get's extended to all the curries and dishes and kills the taste. So what we did, was just to have a little bit of that rice to fill our tummies and then moved on to eating the sides. That way at least, we get to savour the sides without being ruined by the rice. Now coming back to their Fish Curry. The gravy was nice, indeed it was but as mentioned earlier, the taste was ruined by the rice and so we could not appreciate the flavours of the gravy. If I were to judge it solely on the preparation, then I would give it a 7/10 .

Chicken Gravy

Chicken Gravy
The Chicken Gravy was thick and nice and the level of spiciness is one that would be suitable for all. None of the curries here are spicy, to be honest. They all come with medium spiciness. The flavours were good and just like the earlier issue, I could't really enjoy it all because of the grainy rice. Taste wise, I would rate this at 8/10 .

Inji Puli Thovaiyal

Inji Puli Thovaiyal
This is not the usual Malayalee style Inji Puli but a Thovaiyal that had been made using the same ingredients. The taste was very similar but the presentation was completely different. But, we both very much enjoyed this. I would rate this at 9/10 .

Stir Fried Bayam

Stir Fried Bayam
Their Stir Fried Bayam was good, in fact very good. Not too much salt, balanced spices and the vegetable was still crispy and juicy. I would rate this at 8/10 .

Long Beans Perattal

Long Beans Perattal
Not as good as the Bayam, nevertheless it was still tasty. The setback was a little too much oil and overcooked beans. I hate it when vegetables are overcooked. For me, I would rate this at 6/10 .

Petai Sambal

Petai Sambal
Their Petai Sambal was tasty. Once again, not really spicy but they had used the larger variety of Petai's and that had made them to really stand out in taste. Loved this! I would rate this at 9/10 .

Anchovies Sambal

Anchovies Sambal
This wasn't that great to be honest. I think they had added too much tamarind making it too sour and salty. The Fried Anchovies were also not crunchy and I didn't really like that. Nah,. not one that I enjoyed. I would rate this at 5/10 .

Mutton Perattal

Mutton Perattal
The Mutton Perattal was good. Not great, but just good. They were the right cut sizes, minimal bones and the marination and spices were adequate. And yes, these were all lean meat cuts. Both of us enjoyed these but this is not one that is to be compared with those Mutton Kings out there as it is nowhere close to that. Just a good Mutton Perattal in a normal day to day restaurant. I would rate this at 9/10 .

Prawn Sambal

Prawn Sambal
Their Prawn Sambal was just average and surprisingly, it was ice cold. Was it the air conditioning or something else? Hmmm I truly wonder. The shrimps too weren't very fresh. I have my doubts if these could simply be the day before's left overs. Whatever it was, the preparation was just quite ordinary and I would rate this at 6/10 .

Fish Varai (Sura Puttu)

Fish Varai (Sura Puttu)
The Indian Tamils would call this as Sura Puttu and the Ceylon Tamils call this as Meen Varai. In favour of the majority here in Malaysia, I shall stick with the previous terminology. And so, this Sura Puttu was just very ordinary. Nothing much to shout about actually. This I would boldly say that it wasn't very fresh, had a little too much eggs in it and it was just that. Seriously, I have tasted way better ones in other stalls. For this, I would only rate it at 3/10 .

In summary, some of the dishes were good and some weren't. The mistake that was done with the rice is one that I would not accept from a reputable and seasoned establishment like this. Prices were very reasonable, variety was good but unfortunately the service wasn't. If you're just on the lookout for a decent place to have your lunch amidst an air-conditioned environment, then this would be a good option. 

Address: Stall E-12, The Eatery, Basement 1, Semua House,  Jalan Bunus 6,
                50100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Opening Hours: 1000 - 1800 Daily 

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