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Motormouth From Ipoh

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Briyani Rice Set Lunch for RM7.90 @ Benaz Cafe, Old Town Ipoh

Opened in such a hurry, that they have yet to tear down the previous shop's sign
Lately, in the afternoon, the weather's unforgiving-ly hot & humid. We would rather have a simple lunch somewhere near to our workplace, rather than venturing far for some grubs. As luck would have it, I 'accidentally' overheard an Indian man promoting a spanking new restaurant/cafe occupying the previous Ice Ice Baby desserts cafe's lot. Come what may, we were eager to see what the fuss was all about.

Notice the unchanged decor from the previous cafe? - Not only the tables and chairs, but even the beverages counter AND the list of beverages served by Ice Ice Baby was still up there

Pleasantly surprised to see the aforementioned cafe transformed into Benaz Cafe aka Briyani House, serving Northern Indian fare. With the addition of this Indian restaurant to the mix, the array of cuisines in Old Town, Ipoh is represented by almost all ethnic groups, and international fare, save the Japanese and Korean cuisines.

Lassi (RM2.50) and Starfruit Juice (RM3)

Browsing the extensive menu was no breeze in the park. Plus the foreign sounding Indian dishes sans any descriptions added to the confusion. But the owner was one friendly Indian man, catering to every customer's needs and queries with flair. Yup, he was zipping in and out, preparing the drinks, taking orders, serving them, etc. Only at the end of the meal we were told that 2 waitresses did not show up for work that afternoon, leaving the waiting staff slightly handicapped.

KYT's Lassi was a creamy yoghurt drink, though slightly salty and an acquired taste for some. TallGal's Starfruit Juice was freshly squeezed (I think) however seemed slightly diluted (TallGal, true ah?). While my Kashmiri tea, well, did not arrive. Hahaha .... He was too busy and completely forgotten about my order. But it was all good, as everyone's served with a glass of warm water.

Briyani Rice

To lessen our worries or indecisiveness, he wisely recommended the Briyani Set Lunch, consisting of Nasi Briyani, Fish Masala, Palak Paneer, Vegetables in Yoghurt, Mint Sauce, Coconut Chutney, a plate of Mixed Vegetables and a plate of watermelon as desserts. Sounds like a lot eh? In reality, it was not so. The serving's dainty, yet sufficient for one.

Fish Masala, & various condiments & side dishes

Tastewise? The Briyani Rice was nothing spectacular, I've had better ones. But still the fluffy grains of rice cooked with spices paired well with the condiments and side dishes. The fish masala was a tad too sour, though appetizing, but somehow overwhelming. In fact, most of the side dishes were either sour, or slightly salty. Hmm ... And most side dishes incorporate raw onions, which I've no problem with, but if you're expecting someone important, or meeting client, better stay away from those stinkers !!!!

Palak Paneer (Spinach with Cream Cheese)

The saving grace came in the form of Palak Paneer. Slightly different from Pakeeza's (click HERE for previous raves and rants) version of mashed spinach with cottage cream cheese, the version served at Benaz's was swimming in curry-like gravy, and the spinach was chopped albeit not as finely as I'd like them to be. But the cottage cheese provided much relief, lending the dish a creamy texture and richer flavours.

The set lunch is priced at RM7.90 nett/person. Reasonable, as North Indian cuisine has not been known to be cheap. A re-visit's pending, as I'm curious to try the other dishes, and Gulab Jamun. =)

Location : Benaz Cafe (Briyani House) @ Jln Tun Sambanthan, next to Mixed Cuisine, and same row with Momo Steamboat, and Old Town Kopitiam. Facing Padang Ipoh, the place is rather easy to locate. Tel : 019-2823392/016-3956459.

21 comments:

SuwEi said...

It's true, the starfruit juice is a bit diluted.Otherwiswe still ok, as i didn't hve any GI problem after that:P

mycroft said...

oh... kinda of miss the old ice ice baby... lol, seems good northern indian fare there.... will giv it a try next time.

Time Warper said...

Have u tried the banana leaf rice at chemor? Thumbs up! Hot and spicy!

Life for Beginners said...

It's a pity the briyani was ho-hum as you found it, I'm a big fan of it and am always on the look out for really good briyani. Where next? :)

KCA said...

wa... damn cheap la, rm 7.90 only... lassi rm 2.50?? CHEAP!! ei, they serve nasi briyani only?? got any set lunch like capati, thosai??

huh?? Time Warper: thumbs Up?? Hot and spicy??? haha... i can imagine how he looks like after indulging those hot and spicy stuffs.. *sweating*--- *sweating*--- hahaha..

JENCOOKS said...

Opening pics looks promising only huh! Can see the briyanni on pic not uptomarks. Yes, love the palak paneer too with feta. Wonder feta = cottage cheese.

You should rename dailymotormouth, churning out each blog so fast. Good Job.

Little Inbox said...

I prefer Banana Leaf Rice instead...

J2Kfm said...

suwei : as expected, from the colour also can see the diluted product. hehe, but 'someone' else had seriously rapid GI motility after the meal

mycroft : us too! I think Ice Ice baby's the place for simple desserts or drinks.

time warper : Chemor ah? I know Chemor got very popular curry rice, but dunno where la. Show me?

life for beginners : aiya, ask your countless KL flogger frens ma. Ms Serai should have some ideas. :)

kca : got naan n tandoori. roti canai none la, NORTH indian food this one. I can imagine TW perspiring like no 2mr also!

jencooks : oh, I dunno my cheese well, sorry. hehe, tot those are cottage cheese. daily? haha, I just love to eat, and share. that's all. =)

little inbox : actually, me too! :) there's something deeply satisfying from seeing scoops and scoops of rice, vege and curry ladles onto your leaf!

Hulk said...

I'm gonna try this. Probably it will taste better after > 1 week track, inconsideration of their shorthanded staff & newly open.

But I'm stating to miss this Ice Ice Baby.

BTW..I do not think the Chemor's fame banana rice is very very good. I know is pricey as I had mutton curry banana rice that cost me RM10 a year ago. That was my very last trip..

lingzie said...

hmmm now this reminds me i have a long overdue post about this indian restaurant in penang! lol. i love briyani rice and rm7.90 is really good value for money!

Christy said...

RM7.90 is definitely cheap...but I could never take this food; makes my tummy upset:(

Oooo..did I see the Ice Ice Baby on the banner? They are opening in Ipoh...ooooo, I love their drinks:)

J2Kfm said...

hulk : yup, I'll be giving them another try, probably in the next 2 wks or so.
Chemor's banana leaf rice not good? hmmm, let me clarify that with Time Warper.

lingzie : yeah it's cheap! but the portion's not that big.

christy : oh, not spicy at all, no worries!
btw, Ice Ice Baby was closed few months ago, after being in operation for many yrs.

Anonymous said...

Heys J2KFM,

Just wanted to say THANK YOU for your blog. Am supposed to be working, but ended up sitting and drooling over all my beloved Ipoh/Msian food. Really made my day, since I've been away from Ipoh for a year and really really miss all my old food haunts. Thanks again and do keep up the food posts! Btw, have u tried the fish head curry at Up and Up? -ipoh girl-

J2Kfm said...

hi Anonymous! welcome ...
I have yet to try the fish head curry, nor heard of it b4. where is it? wouldn't mind giving it a try, since I LOVE spicy food! :)

jason said...

Ice Ice Baby closed down ar...? Poor thing. Less one more place to hang out.

Hulk said...

Hey..I lunch there thinking there some set lunch. Unfortunately only available on weekdays. Nevertheless..I had few recommended side dishes..it is not that bad. Will definately go again & best is my other half not fans of Indian curry simply luv it.
My vote is..simply better then the Anderson's offerings.
Bill came to RM28 for 2 with Lamb Kasniri (RM7), chicken Vindaloo (RM8), vege (a/Gobi) & 2 helpings of Onion Naan(Rm3.50/piece).
One satisfiying experince..buuuurp!!

J2Kfm said...

jason : yeahloh. wonder why though bizness at nite not that bad.

hulk : oh really? they were really pushing their Aloo Gobi. must try someday. thanks!

Anonymous said...

The Indian food served ere is fantastic.We went in a group to eat there n v loved it.But don't know y some don't,maybe bcoz neva ate tis good indian food before or maybe didn't know what Indian food is all about.Hats off to the owner of Benaz Cafe for such spectacular hospitality.The cafe is so clean.The physical appearance doesnt matter ,becoz the food is good.so who cares if it still has the interior of ice-ice baby.The food tat matters.N thanks to the chef for such a good food.
Visit Benaz Cafe once and u will wana go there again and again.

J2Kfm said...

hi Anonymous! :)
the customer service was indeed top-notch! I'll be going again pretty soon, and try their naan, and other dishes.

Anonymous said...

Heys, Up & up is in this old complex in Ipoh Town.....which I can't remember the name of...Kinta something? Hehe...I only know the place but don't know how to give directions to it! Do add me on msn to share more foodie haunts! I MISS IPOH! -(artisticfr33dom@hotmail.com)

J2Kfm said...

hi there, erm, Anonymous. Super Kinta? oh, I never realised there is anything up there anymore. but they've renovated lately, probably should go for another visit.
thanks!