Last week I popped into Chennai Xpress courtesy of MilkADeal to try out the food. The first thing that struck me when I looked at the menu was that "Chennai Xpress" is a true misnomer. The cuisine is decidedly North Indian, as opposed to South Indian which the name would suggest. It was all uphill from this though!
What's even better is that this is right down the road from my place!
[In the heart of Damansara Perdana]
I dropped by at the tail end of lunch (close to 2), so the place wasn't overly crowded which is excellent. This is a true feat on a weekday in Damansara Perdana. The work crowd swarms all restaurants, and there is limited seating space here, so I would have been hard-pressed judging by the lunch crowed that was leaving when I walked in.
The restaurant has been open for a couple of months now, and it's been on my to-do list, so it was purely fortuitous that I was handed this opportunity on a silver platter (or thaali as it were).
[Lunch Buffet Table]
[Lunch & Weekly Offers]
The buffet plates are absolutely adorable. They're the economically friendly variety of banana leaves.
[Banana Leaf Plates]
The variety on the buffet line is rather extensive, and if you go vegetarian, lunch will run you only RM5.50.
[Get in line!]
[Literal bread basket]
[Bitter Gourd Acar]
[This might have been yoghurt...but I forgot to ask]
The two girls at the next table had ordered a lunch set, and I stole a few pics from them.
[Dahl and Condiments]
[Chappati and Sides]
While waiting for my food, I noticed that every now and again a waiter would pop by the dahl and other gravies to stir it to keep it equitably heated and prevent a skin from forming on top of it.
As I sat sound dazzled by the array of dishes on the menu, the waiter was extremely helpful in suggesting some of their best dishes. I must admit that he did a fantastic job of steering me in the right direction.
As you wait for your order, they serve you some poppadam and acar to keep you company.
[Lime Pickle & Poppadam]
The pickle looked good, but I'm not a fan of the stuff so I didn't try it. If you are though, and if the other food is anything to go by, it would be worth trying.
I'm a bit of an addict, so when I saw masala tea on the menu, I asked for a cup. Unfortunately they were out, but they suggested the cinnamon tea, so why not?
[Cinnamon Tea (RM4)]
It was pretty good. I'm a bit of an Indian tea elitist because it's what I've grown up with, and this didn't disappoint. It was milky and full of flavour. It even had a bit of a cinnamon stick popped into it, which I only noticed when I hit the bottom of the cup.
The lovely Mieza popped up as well, and she was my dining companion. She ordered herself some mint tea.
[Mint Tea (with an actual mint leaf!) (RM4)]
And then...the food...oh the food!
When I looked at the menu, I got a little more excited than is normal for other human beings because it was littered with paneer dishes. For those who aren't aware of the wonders of paneer, your life isn't complete. It's the Indian version of cheese and it's rather flavourless on its own, but when combined with spices, it's the most magical thing on the planet. Think a cross between ricotta and cottage cheese with a bit more of a bite. Heaven? Yes!
So, of course, the first dish I picked was their Paneer Bites.
[Paneer Bites (RM8.90)]
[Served with Mint Chutney]
These are essentially paneer pakoray, which are battered and fried...and delicious!
The batter on this was perfectly seasoned to complement the tangy cheese. They were rather addictive with the soft, chewy middle, and crisp outside. The cooling mint chutney was perfect as well because it gave a hint of coolness to the well-seasoned dish.
The next appetiser to hit the table was the Chicken Tikka Wrap.
[Chicken Tikka Wrap (RM7.90)]
[Skewered and ready for sharing!]
I love how these were presented.
They were absolutely chockfull of chicken tikka bits, and absolutely delicious!
[Chicken Tikka Mania]
Now, on to the mains!
First up, we have Fish Mango Curry. This was recommended by the waiter when I asked what was good, and he didn't steer me wrong!
[Fish Mango Curry (RM19.90)]
There was a HUGE piece of fish in here, and it was incredibly fresh and gorgeously flavoured. As I type this, I'm actually craving it again and might have to pop back in for another fix!
And why have rice when there's naan on the menu?
[Lamb Naan (RM6.90) served with Dahl]
The naan was fantastic. It was light and crispy with the lovely char of what looked like it was cooked in a tandoor.
I had hoped that this would be loaded with lamb, but it was a little disappointing. The naan itself was delicious, but there were only tiny morsels of the stuff stuffed inside it. The flavour of the seasoned marinade was impeccable though, so it's really a shame that there wasn't full on lamb in there. However, the price is pretty reasonable for perfectly cooked naan, so I can't complain I guess.
[Fish Mango Curry]
Look at how fresh and flaky the fish it! Mouthwatering? Yes, right now in fact!
[Flaky Fresh Fish with Naan - Doesn't get better than this!]
And, of course, my lovely dining companion!
As the weather is horrifying these days, some juice was definitely called for! You have the option of adding ice and/or sugar, and both of us opted for no sugar and I asked for less ice.
[Mieza's Watermelon Juice]
The juice was as good as it gets. Sweet and sour in all its natural glory!
The next dish to grace our table was the Butter Chicken.
[Butter Chicken (RM18)]
The gravy on this was lovely. Mieza found it a little sweet, but I thought it was pretty good. I didn't taste the chicken, however, because I was on the verge of exploding by this point.
There was also the Fish Mulakitatthu.
[Fish Mulakitatthu (RM18.90)]
This isn't a dish I've heard of but it's cooked in a multitude of ingredients, including tamarind juice. As with mine, Mieza reported that the fish was extremely fresh and the dish was delish!
And the final dish was Vegetable Jaffrasie. Once again, this isn't a dish I've heard of, but Mieza reported good things on it. It looked a little too healthy for my paneer-eating palette.
[Vegetable Jaffrasie (RM7.90)]
Overall, I was extremely impressed by the food here. Not only was it reasonably priced, but the food was fantastically prepared, and it wasn't too heavy. Too many North Indian restaurants overdo the spices and the ghee making the food gastronomically abusive. The food here was seasoned extremely well, and there wasn't excessive oil in any of it. I have a rather sensitive stomach where too much ghee and MSG is concerned, and there were no issues to be found with this place. I'll definitely be returning to sample a few other things, and I'd recommend that when you visit (as you should) you order the Fish Mango Curry and Paneer Bites in particular. I look forward to trying their paneer tikka as well!
Since I live with vegetarians, I did note that there are A LOT of offerings which cater to non-carnivores, so it's a place that has cuisine which is friendly to all.
MilkADeal is currently having a deal where you can get a RM50 voucher (for RM30) or a RM100 voucher (for RM50). It's definitely worth it and if you'd like an additional 5% off, use the code CHENNAI at the checkout page.