With a true blue Kerala executive chef helming the kitchen, Swaadh Restaurant is all set to serve a host of delicious authentic Northern Indian, Kerala and Chettinad dishes. Assisted by a team of trained and qualified chefs from Cochin, Kerala, Executive Chef Rahul Krishnan has whipped up an extensive menu that would please the fussiest aficionado of Indian cuisines.
The word “swaadh” means “taste” or “tasty” in Hindi and Malayalam – Chef Rahul keeps this very much in mind when preparing and serving his delicacies. Subscribing to exacting standards and mindful of the authenticity of the dishes, Chef Rahul does not believe in short cuts and ensures that every marinade is made from scratch using only quality spices and ingredients.
I was told how Chef Rahul had to appeal to a customer to come back later for his briyani rice simply because he needed time to prepare the spices and there was no way he would resort to pre-packed marinades.
While waiting for our dishes to be served, we cooled ourselves with Swaadh’s refreshing Fresh Mint Lime Cooler (RM7.80). It’s so good I had to order a second one.
We started off with some snacks of Onion Pakora (RM3.90), Chicken Dry Chilli Fry (RM9.90) and Mutton Coconut Fry (RM16.50). Fresh from the frying pan, all 3 dishes were bursting with flavours. The crispy fragrant pakora was excellent, with tender sweet onions in the centres. The dry-fried chicken and mutton were punchy with spices and worked well to tease our appetites.
Next came the Tandoori Chicken (RM15) – delicious tender chicken thigh thoroughly marinated with their special masala and grilled perfectly in their tandoor oven. Gloriously juicy, the chicken was a firm favourite among us that evening.
More chicken dishes came our way: Methi Chicken (RM10.20), Butter Chicken Masala (RM12.50) and Hariyali Kebab (RM13.50). A Northern Indian speciality, the Hariyali Kebab had chunks of boneless lean chicken breastmeat grilled in the tandoor and basted with a wonderfully aromatic paste made from green peas, spinach, green chillies and coriander leaves.
The Butter Chicken Masala, another northern favourite, won praises all round with its thick velvety sauce that’s flavoursome without being cloyingly rich. The Methi Chicken had a similarly creamy gravy but the spice content was different.
Joining the cluster of Northern Indian delights on the table came Palak Paneer (RM10.50) and Vegetables Kurma (RM9). At this point, we had some fresh hot Naans (RM3-RM5.20) served to mop up all the divine curries. The smooth creamy blended spinach with house-made cottage cheese was incredibly good.
Then it was time to indulge in Kerala specialities. The Kerala Fish Curry (RM14.50) was very different from the usual reddish Southern Indian fish curry usually served in Indian restaurants. This Kerala version was yellow, thicker and more aromatic as all the spices used were prepared inhouse. The chunks of ikan tenggiri soaked up the thick curry very well and my only grouse was it wasn’t hot enough. I will have to tell them to add more chillies to the paste – this is something that all diners can request – the level of “hotness” is adjustable!
The best thing to eat this fish curry with was their Kerala Pratha (RM2.50). Known as “porotta” in true Kerala-style, this roti pratha was one of the best roti I’ve had in a while. According to Chef Rahul, the technique to make this roti was quite different from how the usual roti canai was made. The dough for the paratha was shaped spirally into rounds (instead of being flipped and folded roti canai-style) and cooked perfectly on the griddle. Chef Rahul used sunflower oil in this pratha which made the texture lighter. The pratha had a gorgeous crispy exterior and the dough inside was cooked beautifully resulting in a soft and fluffy texture. OK, I need to go and eat these again soon!
For rice lovers, check out their briyanis. The prices are reasonable, starting from RM6.60 for Vegetables Briyani and goes up to RM18 for the Prawn Briyani. The Cashew Pulao Rice (RM6.60) is another milder rice item but with big aromas.
Additional Kerala dishes to go with rice are Fish Pollichathu (RM16.50)– tenggiri fish smothered with aromatic spice paste, wrapped with banana leaf and grilled.
I liked the spicy Prawn Ullathriyathu (RM18.90) with its sharp piquant spices and kickass chillies.
Swaadh also serves various Thali Meal Sets between 11am to 3pm starting at RM7.50 for the
Vegetarian Thali Meal. There are chicken, mutton, seafood sets with the most luxe Swaadh Special Combo Thali at RM19.50.
Swaadh is definitely on my list for decent Indian food. As the restaurant is still pretty new, Chef Rahul needs to work on food consistency as on a subsequent visit, there were a couple of shortcomings in the tandoori chicken and we had to send the pratha back for extra browning to make it more “garing” (crispy). Once the consistency rhythm is set, it’s a restaurant that’s worth revisiting time and again, when cravings for good Indian food hit.
40A Lorong Sanggul 1B
Operating hours: 11am-11pm
Closed on Mondays