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.