Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Restoran Chat Masala

I’ve decided to give them the benefit of the doubt and look forward to more developments in Brickfields. Finally, this colourful neighbourhood is getting an overhaul.

Jalan Tun Sambanthan is now a one-way street. It reminds me a lot of my hometown, Sentul, where the once two-way Jalan Sentul now loops at Sentul Raya. Logically speaking, wider roads do ease traffic flow but here’s the question – where has the opposite side of the road been relocated? I’ve asked a few friends but no one could give me an answer. If there’s one suggestion that I may provide, to help smoothen traffic at this neighbourhood, is to build multilevel carparks. Double-parking is a concern here and it’s unfair to penalize just the drivers. I see this idea being more pragmatic than to fuglify a historical site with another self-indulging Malaysia Boleh skyscraper.

Back at Brickfields, parking was impossible as we studied the new Jalan Tun Sambanthan. Fortunately for us, a car was leaving right in front of us and we swerved into the parking space with much relief. Think of the buckets of sweat that I might have disposed off if I had to walk from KL Sentral on a hot afternoon.

Chat Masala sounded rather familiar and we decided to give it a try. It wasn’t until I made my payment at the cashier that I noticed the TOKL Food 40 2008 token. Not that it would change my perception, of course.

The self-service spread was very much the same as with many Indian restaurants. We opted for banana leaf rice, so everything was served to us instead. I look forward to my moru and rasam every time I go for blr. When well-prepared, the sourish liquids, rich with the pungent onion/coriander (moru) and spices (rasam), serve to open up the senses and in many ways, enhance the whole blr experience. Let’s not forget their medicinal properties as well. Unfortunately, both came much milder than I’d hoped for. The curried vegetables of okra, long beans, lentils and potatoes, on the other hand, were surprisingly flavoursome and nicely softened.

Meat analogue is such a sophisticated name for faux meat, isn’t it? Not a fan myself, but the lava tones were so inviting that I had to give it a try. Befittingly, the chicken and mutton were hot and spicy. There was an unmistakable sugary hint that comes with many vegetarian dishes. Truth be told, I actually liked both dishes for the explosion of spices in my mouth.

I was back in this Little India on a Saturday night, just to bask in the Deepavali mood and to see if there are any new and exciting festive snacks on sale. As expected, cars began piling from Jalan Travers. Decorating Little India were colourful lights, energetic drumbeats blasting from every corner, street performances and posters of Dr. Manmohan Singh and Malaysia’s current prime minister. Especially with the posters, my cynical mind couldn’t decide if the theme of the day was a celebration of existing bilateral ties or the triumph of good over evil. There are now Indian culture-inspired art installations at the center of Brickfields too. These must be from the same people behind that whateverthingtheycallit fountain at the Pavilion, Bukit Bintang, I told myself.

Personally, nothing from the previous description reminded me of Deepavali. Well, for this non-Hindu living in an Indian neighbourhood for over 17 years, at least. It’s only when I pushed my way into the tents and shops that I started to remember what this Festival of Lights was like - the tranquiling scent of incense, colourful garlands and families gallivanting down the street in traditional clothing. Oh, and the stacks of halwa, barfi, murukku and laddu.

I just hope that I’ll be receiving a large container of these snacks again from my neighbour this year.

Happy Deepavali and enjoy the long weekend, everyone.

Chat Masala
259G, Jalan Tun Sambanthan
Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: (+603) 2260 3244


"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

this entry suddenly makes me miss the brickfields area, the BLRs and probably a bit of the old office at KL sentral..

gosh thinking about it, havent had a BLR in months!!

Life for Beginners said...

The colours of Little India and Deepavali, of Brickfields and banana leaf rice... The triumph is that we still retain the colours in our memories, even if the practice may be lessening year after year as the distance widens.

Happy Deepavali in advance, my friend. :)

jason said...

Happy Diwali to you too, bro :)

thenomadGourmand said...

Happy deewali!
Good to knw ur back in town!

J said...

Nice shots - love all the colours! (Esp. those kuih - so pretty)

HairyBerry said...

joe, i'm sure you miss blr. and brickfields is so near your old office too. hopefully you'll get your blr fix soon. or come back for a vacation lah! ;D

kenny, it was GREAT catching up with you guys last friday. hopefully we'll get to do this more often la. oh, and babi parties. ;D

jason, hope your Deepavali holiday was a fantastic one! ;D

thenomadgourmand, it was a fantastic week filled with food and...errm, more food! haha. hope your long weekend was a blast too. ;D

j, thanks! i particularly liked this set of pics because of the colours too! ;D