Kuala Lumpur - Indian Banana Leaf Rice at Lotus, Jalan Gasing
If my memory served me correctly, there was already a South Indian restaurant on this spot along a row of shophouses in Jalan Gasing (PJ) since the early 1980s. But sometime in the 90s, the name changed to Lotus, perhaps due to a change in ownership, though not the cuisine nor the decor/frontage - so, not sure if I could regard this an "old" established restaurant.
Anyway, first visit for me today to this "old Indian spot" - it was incredibly popular, not just with Indian-Malaysian diners, but Malaysians of all races - the 3 dining rooms were perpetually packed.
One feature of the restaurant which surprised me was that it *wasn't* a vegetarian restaurant (unlike many South Indian banana leaf-type eateries in Malaysia), and actually served a large paraphernalia of meat curries and seafood-based dishes: curried fish, chicken cooked in various ways (all curried in some way: masala, khurma, Chettinad-style, etc.), curried mutton on the bone, deep-fried battered crabs, whole pigeons given the tandoori treatment, etc.
I tried their fried, curried bittergourd, but was disappointed to find the dish cold and the bittergourd pieces softened instead of crunchy like those in the famous Sri Nirwana Maju in Bangsar. But this turned out to be the only let-down - the other dishes fared better.
The curried vegetables which accompanied the rice were good - curried cabbage had the right texture, and the chillied aubergines were tart & tasty.
Crisp pappadums provided a welcome crisp contrast to the steamed rice generously doused with thin (a bit *too* watery) dhal curry.
Curried chicken was piquant, whilst the mackerel curry was pitch-perfect.
Lotus' curries were not chilli-spicy at all, compared to other South Indian restaurants which I'd tried, and their cooks also went easy on the salt - very welcome indeed.
Need to come back one morning for their parathas (called "roti canai" in Malaysia) though - heard they are famous.
On the way out, one can pick up an array of Indian sweets and deep-fried Indian crisps (e.g. muruku, sev) at the front of the restaurant.
Lotus Family Restaurant
15 Jalan Gasing
46000 Petaling Jaya
Tel: +603 7784 1881