Friday, 11 November 2016

Star Briani Bistro @ Tanjung Malim, Perak

Star Briani Bistro is the latest addition to the list of Tamil restaurants in Tanjung Malim, Perak. This restaurant is located along Jalan Masjid Lama and is opposite Bank Pertanian. I am sure many of the locals are familiar with Maanikama Store, this restaurant is just two doors away. Previously, there was another restaurant at this very location that lasted for about one year. I had done a blog entry about them as well and my verdict was that the food was not up to my expectations and true enough, they didn't last long. This time, it is run by a seasoned restauranter who also happens to be my junior in school. I didn't really know about the switch of management until one evening I saw a different banner up which was different to the previous one. On enquiring at Maanikama Store, it was her, the lady boss, that told me about the new management and that the food is much better now. Having gotten some feedback from her, I decided to check the place out. The food items below were consumed over a period of one week. I wanted to write about more of their food items and hence this cumulative post. 

The Design Reminds Me Of Those Indian Mess

Just A Wooden Structure

Dishes In Claypots
Being in those pre World War 2 shops surely has some limitations. The structure is wooden and the space area is quite limited. I think if there's 20 customers in this restaurant at any one time, the place can be considered as being full house. They have just two staffs manning the shop at nights, one handles the customers as well as fixes the drinks while the other is in charge of cooking. I guess for the kind of crowd that they get, this would be more than enough. Despite the place being small, the tables were laid out nicely and the overall ambiance reminded me of those Indian mess that we used to find in Lebuh Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. Curries were cooked earlier in the day and placed in claypots on one end of the shop. The variety was good but by the time I arrived, many of the dishes had been sold out. I guess their main business is for lunch and it was pleasing to hear that they have Banana Leaf Meals here as well. Oh, I guess I forgot to mention that I was here for dinner only throughout the week. 

Rice, Chicken, Papadam and Tofu @ RM 5.20
Since it's my first day here, trying their rice and curries is a must and based on what was remaining, I chose the above. My choice of items were Chicken Perattal, Chicken Curry, some Papadam and Tofu Sambal and this was priced at RM 5.20 . That's quite reasonable I would say. 

Chicken Curry
Their Chicken Curry tasted quite similar to Tanjung Curry House and on enquiring subsequently, I got to know that the cook from there had come here. Well, I guess that it's quite common these days. The Chicken Curry was not bad. I would't give it a wow factor, just okay. It was thick, they surely didn't skimp on the spices, not too spicy or should I say that it wasn't spicy at all and the flavours were just about right. For this, I would give it a 7/10. 

Chicken Perattal
Their Chicken Perattal was better. What I loved about this preparation was the choice of cuts. Most restaurants would be givin us those bony pieces. Here, it was real meaty chunks. Wonderfully spiced and cooked to just the right level. The meat was delicious, not too hard and not too soft, just perfect and the gravy was fairly good.  For this, I would give it a 8/10. 

Tofu Sambal
Tofu Sambal wasn't quite up to my expectations. For me, the tofu was quite stiff, perhaps over fried and the gravy was too dry. It could have been better for lunch and I understand the fact that the gravy does dry off after a while but surely it can't dry off to this extent. So my conclusion would be that it had got to be already quite dry then itself. There was nothing much flavours wise. It did taste quite bland to be honest and not one that I enjoyed. This, I would only give it a 3/10. 

Chicken 65 @ RM 2.00
At first, I tried eating this Chicken 65 with a fork and when I poked the fork into the chicken, it actually broke. At first I assumed that the fork had given way and so I used my fingers and true enough, it was hard like a rock. Quite tasteless to be frank, the cuts were nothing but bones or chicken feet to be exact, rock hard and full of artificial colouring. This was a total waste of money and I do feel quite generous when I say that I would rate this at 2/10. 

Fried Fish @ RM 2.50 each
Their Fried Fish was not bad. They had seasoned it well and it tasted decent. Setbacks would be the fact that they were too dry and not juicy as they should be. Again I give them the benefit of the doubt as this was fried in the afternoon. Another point to note would be the extensive use of artificial colouring. 5/10 would be jut right for this preparation. 

Their Rasam did taste like Rasam. However, it was too watery and they had used too much tamarind which didn't taste too well. I'd give this a 3/10. As far as the rice and curries are concerned here, I would say stay away from the non vegetarian stuffs. In fact, after a few days, I returned and tried a full vegetarian meal and that was excellent. Seriously it was. So to be safe, just stick with the vegetarian food items when attempting their rice and curries. 

Vegetable Briyani and Sambar @ RM 3.50
The waiter had informed me that they do Vegetable Briyani on Fridays and Chicken and Mutton Briyani on Sundays. I totally love Vegetable Briyani and made it a point to come back on a Friday night just for this. In my mind, Vegetable Briyani means Briyani Rice cooked with vegetables, just like how we get them in India and some of those restaurants in the Klang Valley. But to my surprise, it was just plain rice served with Sambar.  And the rice didn't really look like Briyani rice to me. It was just yellow in colour. This was a huge disappointment. 

Mixed With Sambar
Despite being devastated, I still went on to eat this. The rice was nothing much. The usual aroma and lovely taste that we get even from Nasi Minyak was absent here. As far as the rice is concerned, I would give it a 1/10. Now coming to their Sambar. Earlier I mentioned that their vegetarian dishes are excellent. True enough, their Sambar was excellent too! Their Sambar was so good that when I mixed it with this so called Briyani Rice, it tasted so good and thankfully, their Sambar came with lots of vegetables and that complimented the dish very well. As for this meal, their Sambar was the saviour and I would give it a 10/10 and that's a totally deserving rating. Based on this experience, I doubt I would return on a Sunday to taste their Chicken and or Mutton Briyani.

Mee Goreng @ RM 3.50
Their Mee Goreng was very different to those that we get at the Indian Muslim restaurants. This was very Indianised in taste. There's nothing to complain ingredients wise, in fact I felt that they were better than those Indian Muslim restaurants. However the over reliance on soy sauce and chili's did give it a very different taste. Perhaps, it isn't one that's suited to my taste buds as I didn't really enjoy it. Nice it was, but I didn't enjoy it. Based on my taste buds, I would give this a 7/10. 

Capati @ RM 1.20 each
Their Capati was quite good. Made from plain Atta Flour, it tasted like those homemade ones. Slightly thicker and smaller and it was truly delicious. I believe they had used a little more margarine for this as it was even good to eat on it's own. I would rate their Capati at 9/10. The accompanying Fish Curry was good as well and that I would give it a 8/10. 

Rava Tosai @ RM 2.00

One Of The Best That I Have Tasted
I did observe many of their customers ordering their Rava Tosai. Well, if that was the case, it should be good. Curious, I decided to go for it as well. When the Rava Tosai arrived, I knew that it was good. The aroma was excellent and this was contributed by the additions that they have added into the flour. From the above photograph, you would be able to see how rich it is. It was marvelous and for the price, the Tosai was huge. I being a big eater was happy with just one Tosai. This is truly some excellent stuff and I can declare this as the best Rava Tosai in Tanjung Malim and way better than those that we get in Kuala Lumpur. 10/10 would be just the right rating for this. If you are going for this, do ask for their chutney as well. They do make some awesome tomato and coconut chutneys. 

To summarise my dining experience here, I would definitely come back for their Rava Tosai and vegetarian meals. Non vegetarian items would be one that I am going to be staying away from and that includes their Briyani variety as well. Otherwise, the hospitality is just awesome and they give you very personalised service. 

Address: Along Jalan Masjid Lama, 35900 Tanjung Malim, Perak, Malaysia.

Opening Hours: 0630 - 2100 Sunday - Friday
                           0630 - 1500 Saturdays

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