I’ve always wanted some enterprising soul to open a Malaysian restaurant in Delhi. The cuisine has more affinity with the Indian palate than, say, Thai, with its many spectacular vegetarian dishes and plenty of spice. So when I was told about Kayalan, a takeaway place started by a Malaysian citizen of Indian origin, my joy knew no bounds.
Going through the tiny menu on the well-designed website took away some of my enthusiasm. Every last item has already been done in various menus in the city. Neither is there any difference in the chicken satays (Rs 360 for 8 sticks) that Kayalan serves versus any other place in the city.
Typically, street-side stalls in Malaysia and Singapore serve lontang with satays. Ketupat a compressed rice cake that has no flavour of its own, but is marvelous when eaten with peanut sauce. Kayalan doesn’t even offer it on special order. The satays, however, are one of the best items on the menu, and the peanut sauce is cooked (many places merely whizz it in the blender).
Other better-than-average offerings include dry chicken rendang (Rs 320) and Mama’s mutton (Rs 350), which, according to the menu, is the owner’s mother’s recipe. Both are served with mildly-flavoured rice and batons of vegetables, but that is the puzzling thing — Malaysians serve every last dish with slices of cucumber and tomato, so why the carrots and shredded lettuce?
Fast on the heels
The good part about Kayalan is that they have perfected their deliveries to a fine art. Their base kitchen seems to be somewhere in south Delhi (the website doesn’t say where) and deliveries to all parts of south and central Delhi are free; others pay Rs 100 extra.
The food arrived at the time that I had specified and the delivery boy was smart, well-dressed and knew exactly which dishes contained seafood. The boxes themselves are unique — flat, heat-proof and very tough. I would say that even the char kway teow could have been far better if it had been under-cooked. The heat in the box during the long journey to my house would have continued to cook it optimally. Instead, what we got was a mushy dish with none of the multiple flavours of one of South East Asia’s great cuisines.
Vital stats Address: 56, Main Road, Neb Sarai Pb: 9310219192 email your order: ordersgkayalan.com Minimum order: Rs 600 Payment by cash or cheque