Fancy having a leisurely banana leaf rice meal amidst cool lush greenery? Far away from the madding crowd, like they say. Yes, such a place exists and it’s located along a long and winding road amidst ancient raintrees that provide you the much needed shade from the brutal sun. Drive past some old bungalows and right at the end of the road, you will see this sign:
Drive up the sloped driveway and there’s the University Malaya Academic Club House (UMAC). Plenty of parking is available in its compound. Tables with black-and-white checkered plastic sheets dot the verandah as well as the cool air-conditioned interior. The dining hall inside, with its green and russet-red walls and purple floral curtains look like a typical 1970’s abode.
The food counter holds all kinds of curries, vegetables and fried delicacies. I spied both mutton/chicken peratal and varuval, chicken curry, chicken masala, squids and prawns. The fish and chicken are fried in the kitchen inside and brought out to diners upon order. I love the freshly fried crispy chicken and fish which are marinated with fragrant spices. The food is generally tasty with a comforting home-cooked feel.
A serving of banana leaf rice (with unlimited toppings of rice, papaddam and curry gravies) with 5 types of vegetables is only RM5 and additional orders of other items are charged separately. Prices are very reasonable, as displayed on a notice at the payment counter.
For the two of us, we ordered a piece of fried tenggiri, 2 big pieces of fried chicken wings, 1 portion each of mutton peratal and varuval, 2 cups of resam and the bill came up to RM35. Drinking water is self-service at the water dispenser, have as much as you like. On Tuesdays and Fridays, they serve a bigger variety of vegetarian dishes.
On a cool day you can even dine al fresco at those old-school stone tables and stools in the garden. So why not take a breather and have a relaxing curry meal in this quiet gem of a venue.
University Malaya Academic Club House
(opposite Mahsa College)
No.1 Jalan 12/5, Seksyen 12
Tel: 016-3665545 (Danabalan)
Open: 11.30am-3.00pm daily
*This article first appeared in Coconuts KL on 5 May 2015.