Rating: 8 / 10
Banana Leaf halls in KL are a dime a dozen, and whilst it's quite difficult to find a terrible one, there are plenty that fall into the run-of-the-mill category. A handful stick their necks out from the herd and prepare truly mouthwatering dishes that the locals inevitably flock to.
Vishal Food & Catering is one of those spots. Ironically enough, it is flanked on both sides by banana leaf places with similar names "Vishalaitchis" which have caused many a person to stumble into the wrong curry house and leave unfullfilled. This is definitely one of those time's you need to use your eyes and ignore your rumbling stomach so you end up at the right one.
I perched myself outside despite the stroke-summoning heat, weighing up the pro's and con's of sweating to death but being alone, or being tempered by a slightly cooling fan but sitting at communal tables. I chose the solutide of hell.
My banana leaf was slid down, freshly washed and patted dry. Moments later the rice and vegetarian curries were spooned on, poppadums placed on the side, pickle, a smoked chilli, and then came the chicken curry so rich and decadent in orange perfumes.
I slaughtered the plate in quick succession. Each mouthful tasted almost better than the last one, such were the whirlwinds of intoxication battling to overcome the constant fear of fainting from heat exhaustion. As the waiter came out to ask if I needed a refill, I kindly declined and held the ice cold can of 100plus to my throat trying to cool my blood so I could stand up.
I marched into the restaurant, paid my bill, saluted the chefs and waiters in honest gratitude, and scrambled to find a grab taxi on my phone so that my time spent in direct contact with the bastard sun would be at a minimum.
Twenty minutes later I was sat in my hotel, AC on full, chugging on ice cold water bottles and waiting for the evening to venture out again.
These recommendations are just personal opinions based on my palate, things change, chefs get fired or replaced, places open-close, relocate, so take it all with a pinch of MSG and discover your own gems too. But please do try a few of these, they have been researched exhaustively.
"Sadness is tempered by umami, grief by the motion of slurping, hope restored in the ladling of glistening, fatty broth"