Review – JomJom Malay, Ansal Plaza

Damien Chazelle’s film was named for the gossamer hopes and misty dreams of its main characters, but feel free to imagine an alternative musical called Lah Lah Land, all about friendly Malaysians rattling over Khel Gaon Marg and into Ansal Plaza on a rickshaw – the very one that now adorns the entrance to JomJom Malay, filled with patrons taking selfies. Auto-suggestion?

Perhaps because it’s Delhi’s first all-Malaysian restaurant, JomJom feels compelled to decorate in a way that dances between stereotype and iconic image. One mono-coloured wall is filled with murals of reassuringly familiar things – the Petronas Towers, the Jamek mosque, a Malay dancer – while another beckons with a row of bright multicoloured houses, fronted by cheerful puppets and giant butterflies with Malay antecedents.

Satay With Me Tonight

The restaurant’s large menu, in contrast, makes it easy to stay away from the usual nasi goreng and satay. We start with rendang bao, three pieces of most delicious mutton marinated in oodles of #JustAsianThings – galangal, lemongrass, tamarind. It comes topped with a lemongrass chutney with crispy onions that makes us swoon a little.

Feel free to imagine an alternative musical called Lah Lah Land, all about friendly Malaysians rattling over Khel Gaon Marg and into Ansal Plaza on a rickshaw.

Half a dozen fat pieces of chicken murtabak, meat encased in flaky pastry, make a mild, filling portion. Here, a moment on the soapbox please: why can’t more Asian restaurants give up the cane-basket-lined-with-banana-leaf presentation? How we shudder to see the murtabak and the salad lightly brushing the walls of the basket, and long for plates that can just be dunked in hot soapy water and sterilised each time they’re used.

Germ anxiety is allayed by the star of the meal, chicken laksa, a soup of flavoured coconut milk and chicken noodles with 9 accompaniments, ranging from peanuts to fried garlic, absolutely silken and flavourful. (All the accompaniments come in bowls, thankfully.)

Vegetarians, there’s ample choice for you, but we don’t know what we did to deserve the most disappointing dish on the list, saur kar with roti. The bread, reminiscent of Malabar parotta, is the sort of thing you can eat all day, but the curry is bland, unimaginative, entirely lacking the punch and texture of the other dishes.

For afters, JomJom sheds its theme and sources cake-and-chocolate desserts from Gurgaon’s Bombaykery. We pick a beautiful-looking rose-shaped “chocolate dessert”: a tough outer chocolate shell reveals – eventually – an unusual mix of rum-soaked raisins and a chocolate filling, intriguing to the taste buds. Give this musical an awards nom-nom-ination – for that laksa, at least – while we head off to nap like Kuala bears.

Getting there: BG 04, Ansal Plaza, Andrews Ganj, Khel Gaon Marg, call 49092773 for reservations. A meal for three with no alcohol costs around Rs 2750.


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