In case you didn’t know, last Friday was Tamil New Year – and we thought, what better way to celebrate the event than with a good dose of Indian food! Just like Deepavali, Tamil New Year is another festivity celebrated by the Indian community – and it involves gatherings and great food.
Usually, one would cook vegetarian food and sweet dishes at home – but you can always dine out at an Indian restaurant because they have special deals just for the day. So, in conjunction with the Tamil New Year, we were invited for lunch at India Gate, a well-known Indian restaurant in Bangsar.
Getting there is easy, but if you’re familiar with the area, you’re aware of how challenging it can be to find a parking spot along Jalan Telawi 2, particularly during the day. Therefore, we advise parking at Bangsar Village 3. It’s a quick, painless, 5-minute stroll from the parking lot. For more convenience, you can just book a Grab there.
Upon entering Jalan Telawi, you can already notice the restaurant, given that it has an impressive, boldly-coloured sign and entrance. Now that’s just the outside. Once you enter, you’ll suddenly be transported to a modern Indian atmosphere. We were utterly enamored with their vibrant ceiling – it looks like an exquisite tile mosaic. It was quite aesthetically beautiful and definitely added to the restaurant’s overall ambiance. Seating wise, it’s not very spacious, but large enough to keep customers comfortable. They even have seats available upstairs.
Our meals were already pre-ordered and all we had to do was choose some sides. We started off with the classic Chettinad banana leaf meal. You can get both vege and non-vege banana leaf meals at India Gate. For each set you’ll get about 17 items for the vege set and 20 items for the non-vege set. Nothing special, cause the only difference is the choice of curry.
For the non-vege set, you’ll get three extra items such as the Chettinad Chicken Curry, Andra Mutton Curry and Kerala Fish Curry. We loved the soft and warm rice. The curries were equally good and there was even payasam (vermicelli pudding) too. So, it was a really filling meal indeed. But we always love going extra, and so we got a few other dishes to try.
Here’s what we had:
Chicken Tikka Masala
The one thing we love when it comes to Indian food is obviously Butter Chicken or Chicken Tikka Masala. And it’s a favourite item ordered by many others, too. Both items are pretty much chicken in thick, buttery gravy, but Chicken Tikka Masala has a hint of spicy flavour; whereas Butter Chicken is super mild and perfect for those with a low heat tolerance. The Chicken Tikka Masala there was good and the chicken was perfectly cooked – but flavour wise, it was missing that kick.
For seafood lovers, prawn is a must-have and you’ve got to try it here. The best part is that the prawns were fully peeled! This means you don’t have to worry about the hassle of peeling those prawns! The prawn tasted really fresh and paired well with the thick and spicy gravy.
Fried King Fish
We otherwise know it as ikan tenggiri. This fish is a must-have, not only here, but at most Indian eateries and we’ll tell you why. Coated and marinated with homemade south Indian spices, the fish slices are then shallow-fried and served with fresh onion slices, curry leaves and half a lime. Without adding anything, you can already taste the beautiful spice marination. For a better taste experience, squeeze some lime on all the fish slices – we guarantee you’ll never have fried fish any other way. We also loved how tender and juicy the fish slices were. When it comes to frying fish, you might end up getting too dry or too oily fried fish – but here, it was perfect.
Their mutton varuval was yet another delectable dish. It was amazing that we could taste traces of chettinad spices and black pepper in the mildly spicy gravy. But there was one aspect of the mutton’s texture that we did not enjoy. The mutton was a little bit difficult to chew, so it would have been better if they had served soft mutton cubes and less of the fat.
For a heavy meal like that, you’ll need something to cool off with. So the best drinks to have are definitely lassi. Lassi is an Indian yogurt–based beverage with a smoothie-like consistency. It’s like a fruit smoothie, but you use yogurt in the blend. It can be tricky to make a lassi, because you’ll need to balance the taste. Sweet fruits and mildly sour yogurt, you know where we’re heading!
So we got two types of lassi – Mango and Buttermilk. Buttermilk, also known as mooru, is basically a thin watery drink made using fresh thick curd along with green chilies, cumin seeds, coriander leaves and salt. It’s super refreshing and a really good drink, especially during hot days as it is known to bring down the body’s temperature and helps with digestion too. The buttermilk lassi here was so good – in fact, you can’t go wrong with this beverage at any Indian restaurant, provided that the yogurt they use is fresh.
The Mango lassi is best if you prefer something sweet and tangy. You won’t get an entirely sweet beverage because the yogurt sort of cuts down the sweetness. We loved the mango lassi, especially when it was so creamy. We also tried one of India Gate’s signature drinks, the Jigharthanda Rose. It looks sweet and has the colour of sirap bandung, and it was delicious. This creamy, rich dessert drink comes with a blend of badam (almond) jelly and paneer rose.
Last but not least, for something refreshing, we ordered the Lime and Mint juice. We expected more from this, but sadly, it was slightly disappointing. We felt like the mint flavour was too overwhelming and that the lime flavour was really mild. Not to mention that it had a hint of bitterness, and it wasn’t ice cold, so the drink was just a miss.
Overall, dining there was good. The ambience was great and the premises spacious. The food was lovely, with many other things on the menu that we didn’t try probably as delectable. Service-wise, things were slightly slow – probably because it was lunch time. Other than that, it’s worth giving India Gate a shot. By the way, Bangsar isn’t the only outlet you can visit: India Gate has outlets in Puchong, Subang Jaya, Cyberjaya, Klang and Seremban.
26, Jalan Telawi 2, Bangsar, 59100 Kuala Lumpur