Savor the taste of India

WANT TO spice up your next lunch break with a cultural experience? Kuala Lumpur’s suburb of Bangsar is home to dozens of Indian restaurants, making it a banana leaf rice paradise. And among all these, a relatively new establishment known as Ricksha has made a name for itself as one of the best. This self-described banana leaf boutique restaurant celebrates the culinary traditions of four southern Indian states: Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala. It offers real banana leaf dishes made with fresh ingredients, with rich flavors in ample portions to satisfy your banana leaf cravings. Launched in 2020, Ricksha’s decor is inspired by Indian street scenes, with themed artwork drawn on its walls and an unmistakable colorful rickshaw suspended above the street below the first-floor premises.

“I started this [restaurant] during the pandemic,” explained the owner of Ricksha, who wanted to be known as Raj. Raj, a cooking enthusiast, confessed that he always wanted to open a banana leaf restaurant as it was his favorite dish.

“I’ve eaten at a number of banana leaf restaurants, and there’s always something that could be improved or done better at each location,” he said.

“As a result, I took it upon myself to make sure that Ricksha has everything that offers real cooking that would make banana leaf rice tasty.”

When asked what sets Ricksha apart from other banana leaf restaurants, he said meals are cooked on the spot after ordering to keep the heat and crunch, and, of course, no MSG is used. in any of his dishes.

“This is not your usual banana leaf restaurant, we don’t serve cabbage, cucumber or bean sprouts. [Those are] overrated.”

Their banana leaf set includes two choices of rice (white or parboiled), along with four different types of vegetables, a fried vegetable, and a curry of your choice. Curries come in a variety of flavors including chicken, mutton, fish, crab, saltfish, and prawn.

Homemade garlic pickle, papadam, moore mozhega and thovayal are served together. They also provide sambar, vendhayam, thanni saaru and rasam for vegetarians.

“Our seafood and meat dishes are our best sellers,” Raj remarked. All of their seafood is caught fresh in Kuala Selangor, which is why their prawn biryani is so popular, as well as being fresh, thick and juicy. Not to mention that their strong Bru coffee, fresh from the coffee machine, is the perfect complement to your banana leaf rice dish. It’s pleasant on the tongue and not too sweet – just right!

Weekend specials include Chetinad Hot Plate Mutton Masala, Nalli Ezhumbu Chukka/Perattal, Nall Ezhumbu Briyani (mutton) and Ernakulam Mixed Seafood Hot Plate. Ricksha also serves vegan side dishes including Vegan Briyani (Mushroom), Vegetarian Chicken Perattal, Fish Tokku, Mushroom 65, Mushroom Masala and Plant Based Chicken in three variations. At Ricksha, customers can also pre-order side dishes that are sure to please everyone, including crab, lobster and fish head.

The food was served quickly, efficiently, clean, and most importantly, rich in satisfying flavors. According to Raj, Ricksha does not take bookings on weekends as they value their walk-in customers. However, you can reserve a place during the week.

He has mentioned his desire to open a new branch, but is being cautious at this time as he wants to maintain food quality.

“That’s definitely my long-term goal…so I’m careful.”

Ricksha has perfected all the basics. This is probably one of the best banana leaf rices I have tasted in a long time.

For more updates on Ricksha, check out their social media pages @ricksha.bangsar (Instagram) and @rickshabangsar (TikTok).

Address: 9A (First Floor), Jalan Telawi 5, Bangsar, 59100, Wilayah Perseketuan, Kuala Lumpur.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., open Tuesday to Sunday (including public holidays)

Call: 03-2202 0770, 03-2202 2580

Mobile: 018-2181 420

To note: Head upstairs to find Ricksha, who is located on the first floor. All prices are subject to 6% SST and 10% service charge.

Freeda S. Scott