KUALA LUMPUR: Just a short walk from the famous Jalan Alor Food Street is a restaurant offering a culinary experience quite different from anything else at the bustling hawker zone.
Daawat Restaurant, which has been operating in this old part of KL since last August, takes pride in presenting an expansive menu that specialises primarily in Keralan cuisine. Beyond that, it tantalises taste buds with offerings from other Indian culinary realms and also from Indochina.
Its entire staff hails from Kerala, ensuring an authentic experience. Even the spices used in the cooking are sourced from Kerala’s Kozhikode spice market.
“Daawat” translates to “feast” in Hindi and Urdu and the restaurant does live up to its promise. The menu reveals a string of delights, from the familiar chicken biryani to the intriguing fish pollichathu.
The parotta at Daawat sets itself apart from what you may be accustomed to. It’s extraordinarily flaky, and every bite unfolds a buttery ecstasy that lingers on the palate. Whether savoured on its own or dipped into one of the restaurant’s curated curries or masalas, it’s a delightful experience.
The parotta is in fact Daawat’s best-seller. Nearly 250 parottas are sold on weekdays and that number doubles on the weekends.
Next, indulge your taste buds in the exquisite delight that is the chef’s special crab roast. This dish is immersed in a luscious masala gravy, delivering a sinfully rich and pleasantly spicy experience.
For the perfect meal, enjoy the crab with fluffy white rice. It creates a simple but heavenly combination. But beware, the masala gravy does carry a bold punch.
The mutton ghee roast is another culinary triumph. The aromatic blend of spices will captivate your senses long before you take your first bite. Once you do, savour the tender perfection of mutton, skilfully cooked in a spicy, dry gravy. Each spoonful is a decadent journey, and it harmonises flawlessly with the parotta.
If you’re looking for the quintessential Keralan dish, try the fish pollichathu. Delicately coated in a spicy, coconut-infused masala and enveloped in banana leaves for a slow cook, this traditional Kerala starter is definitely worth a try.
The fish pollichathu at Daawat stands out with its impeccably fresh and tender fish. The masala, with its thick and luxurious texture, carries a distinct coconut flavour, and the spice mixture is perfectly balanced.
While Daawat has many tasty dishes, a few may seem too familiar or lacking in unique flavours.
Take, for example, the Malabari dum biryani, a layered combination of biryani rice and chicken cooked together to infuse flavours. It doesn’t quite stand out. You might crave an extra serving of curry.
Similarly, the paneer butter masala, while tasty, doesn’t offer anything groundbreaking. The Indo-Chinese choices, such as cauliflower Manchurian and crispy fried vegetables, have familiar flavours that you might find in other places.
End your meal on a refreshing note with the restaurant’s signature mocktails. The fizzy watermelon mojito is invigorating and the Kulki Sarbath, with raw mango, mint and spices, adds a kick of warmth to your icy cold drink.
Overall, Daawat Restaurant crafts a few truly delectable and unforgettable dishes. However, a portion of its menu leans towards the familiar, delivering a somewhat “expected” taste experience. In any case, definitely worth a visit.
22, Jln Tong Shin
Off Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: 016-365 7527
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