It’s been a while since I’ve had naan or Indian bread. This place was filled with people for lunch, from locals to Caucasians. There were also a few cyclists who turned up on their bicycles, adding to the different kinds of people who come here. I figured this would be a good place to have lunch. There was a large group of us and we could order more.
I ordered the Naan Keema (Indian bread with minced lamb) as the Naan Kashmir was already sold out. To accompany the naan, I ordered the Kerala fish curry — a beautiful, thick fish curry. I loved it as the gravy was nice and thick, compared to the more watery curries that I am normally served when I order prata or thosai. This eating place was not an Indian air-conditioned restaurant which meant that it was not as expensive as an Indian restaurant. The variety on their menu was pretty amazing for both the food and drinks. Their service was average. I was a little worried that they would get our orders wrong so we repeated them sufficiently. Wrong orders are not refunded even when the error is theirs. It’s the nature of this place. The moral of the story is NOT to get the orders wrong!
It has also been a really long time since I last had a mango lassi (mango yoghurt drink) and so I ordered one, which was nice. My simple meal of a drink, a curry and one naan must have come up to about $15 or $16 and to me, that was rather pricey but having the reputation that this place has, it probably could afford to charge a little more. But the food was nice and the last time I had naan was at a restaurant so it wasn’t too bad.
A friend had Thai Pattaya fried rice which is a Malaysian dish and very popular in Malay restaurants. Pattaya may be a Thai name but this dish has nothing to do with Thailand. The Japanese have a similar dish called omu rice, short for omelette rice. The Japanese version has tomato sauce rice on the inside while the Pattaya fried rice does not, though I’ve seen some fried in tomato sauce as well. Instead tomato and chilli sauce are placed on the rice itself, along with slices of cucumber. Another friend had ayam penyet (smashed fried chicken) which was not at all smashed. Chicken which is smashed to pieces properly is easier to eat. The chicken is smashed after it has been cooked so the meat is still nice and moist usually, which is the whole point of this dish. The chilli sauce is also different from normal chicken rice chilli sauce and spicier.
This place is halal. There are many food shops here and it is like a food street — Chinese, Indian, Thai, Korean food are all found here — quite a variety for such a short street.
Al-Azhar Eating Restaurant, 11/11A Cheong Chin Nam Road. Tel: 64665052.