Craving Indian food? You’re in luck. Our curated guide offers the best Indian restaurants in the city, and trust us, you won’t be disappointed.
If your knowledge of Indian food is simply between Northern and Southern cooking styles, you’ve barely scratched the surface of the diversity of this cuisine. Indian cuisine is steeped in culture and heritage passed down from one generation to another. What makes it amusing, though, is that there is a friendly rivalry between these two regions — who has better food?
Let’s not forget about Western India (with cities like Goa and Gujarat) and Eastern India (West Bengal and Chennai) — they all have their own distinct and rich cuisines, too. What you will find intriguing is that they all have similar food but are cooked with different methods and ingredients. Some are even influenced by different cultures along the way, especially during colonisation and spice trades. Of course, when this heritage cuisine travels out of India, the flavours and its authenticity change according to its geographical base.
Let’s break it down: Northern-style dishes centre around bread and curries, which include the usual suspects like naan bread, roti, and samosa as well as curries like palak paneer (spinach and cheese), makhani (butter sauce) and aloo gobi (potato and cauliflower). Garam masala is a predominant spice and you finish off your meal with tea or chai.
Southern Indian cooking, however, is based on rice, lentils and stews. (Yes, you guess it right — banana leaf rice is Southern Indian) But you’d want to know what other dishes like thosai (lentil and rice crepe), idli (steamed lentil rice cakes) sambar (spicy lentil and vegetable stew) and rasam (tomato, tamarind and lentil soup) are all from the South. At the heart of all Indian cuisine, it is a harmonious concoction of spices, textures and tanginess that makes its dishes agree with the Malaysian palate.
We don’t have to tell you where to have the best banana leaf rice in town — you have that figured out by now. We are asking you to up the ante with these five progressive and modern Indian restaurants that specialise in authentic yet inspired Indian cooking.
Here’s our take on the best Indian restaurants in KL: Hilton Kuala Lumpur
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Entering the restaurant, you will find a buffet counter designed to represent old brick-and-concrete cooking stoves completed with old pots and pans sourced from India. One of the most established upscale Indian restaurants located in the heart of KL, Passage Thru India offers both North and South Indian dishes, from biryani to tandoori chicken to their signature crab masala.
Image Credit: Passage Thru India/Instagram
The Qureshi has a legacy of over two centuries as a family of chefs in the royal kitchens of Nawabs of Awadh for 10 generations. Over the years, they have developed, even researched manuscripts, and single-handedly brought alive once again age-old recipes like ‘tandoor’ and ‘dum’ — two internationally recognised cooking styles that define Indian heritage cuisine.
The menu features a range of curries, biryanis and an array of reinterpreted classics. These are packed with powerful spice blends and fresh ingredients. Recommended dishes include Hyderabadi Nehari (slow-cooked lamb shank with caramelised onions and spices) as well as Dal Oureshi (stewed black lentils with tomatoes, butter and cream).
Image Credit: Qureshi/Instagram
Helmed by Chef Yogi, FLOUR is a tribute to his’s father’s legacy, expressed by the restaurant’s tagline – dip and eat, which may sound simple as sounds but it represents the most fundamental way to savour Indian cuisine. FLOUR is an expression of a new culinary landscape in Indian cuisine, with a heavy emphasis on French-Indian influences. So much more than your average Indian restaurant, the culinary team here is not afraid to push the envelope and offer unique dining experiences.
Image Credit: FLOUR/Instagram
While the focus is on Indian restaurants in this article, we had to include Nadodi for their efforts in spotlighting Sri Lankan and South Indian cuisine. At Nadodi, you get a balance of both tradition and modernity. This Sri Lankan and South Indian restaurant incorporate creative use of ingredients, and traditional recipes are reinterpreted using contemporary techniques — resulting in a surprising dining experience. Its cuisine takes you on a journey as you traverse through Tamil Nadu and Kerala, and all the way to Sri Lanka. Here, you’ll savour and experience unique Sri Lankan and Indian flavours and spices through special tasting menus for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians.
Image Credit: Courtesy of Nadodi Restaurant
This modern Indian restaurant puts a creative twist on classic Indian flavours and spices with particularly creative cocktails. The relaxed yet upscale ambience is a perfect setting for drinks and dining with your friends on the weekend. From Roasted Pumpkin with Makhani Sauce and Hazelnut Crumble to the spicy Lamb Burger, there’s something for everyone here with a good selection of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options.
Image credit: Gin Rik Sha/Instagram
This modern and upscale Indian restaurant in Bangsar Village specialises in authentic Kerala cuisine, with decadent dishes served in large portions that are perfect for sharing with family and friends. The menu is fused with new and bold flavours inspired by the owner’s Kerala travels while staying true to carefully curated family recipes passed down over generations. From Fish Molee Briyani to Prawn Mango Curry, everything here is perfectly flavourful and well-crafted to perfection.
Image credit: Kayra/Instagram
Hero and Feature Image Credit: Kayra Authentic Kerala Cuisine
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Kuala Lumpur