“No no no.. it’s Devi’s upstairs.. that’s where you want to eat!” (wiggles head.. & speaks with a thick Indian accent).
That’s what my hardcore banana leaf eating friends tell me. And yes, there is a difference. The upstairs and the downstairs.
The reason why we hardly eat at Devi’s is because we are inexplicably drawn to our other favourite banana leaf shop, every weekend, and some habits are hard to change. But no matter, this time we finally made it Devi’s.
Just a short stroll from Bangsar Village 2 (I recommend you park here), Devi’s Corner is already packed to the rafters in the mornings, with most folk going straight for the nasi lemak, which is truly the bomb. At around 11am onwards, the frenzy starts to build for its famous banana leaf rice till around 1pm, when it actually reaches fever pitch. The banana leaf rice you see, is only served on the top floor of the shop, not downstairs. Staggering upstairs at 11:30am one Saturday morning, we can already feel the hum of folks, lusting after some deep dark desire to be filled, poised over their yet to be heaped & loaded banana leaf, like vultures over a pile of fresh corpses. Clean, air-conditioned, and relatively modern, the tables upstairs are mostly joined, mass hall-style or communal like, with the odd 4 seater on the edges. It’s like entering a different world once you get up there. The beauty is that even if you arrive at say 5pm, you can still order banana leaf and they will serve you no matter what. Of course lunch time is the best, because all the dishes are the freshest then.
Any how, till today, Devi’s does the most amazing banana leaf rice. And it still uses REAL banana leaves. None of that fake, chemically doctored, pseudo green leaf thingy, that many restaurants use these days.
And once they plonk the rice on your leaf, the waiters are not stingy with the insane number of side dishes such deep-fried bittergourd (my favourite), cucumber in yogurt, curried bindi, and all manner of chutney you can think of. I also like this dollop of thick, yellow goo that is probably the pumpkin. It is heavenly when eaten with the deep fried fish and chicken.
They do take forever to bring the cutlery though ( I imagine they think everyone eats with their hands) so we use the papadum like spoons to scoop up the chutney with. 100% orgasmic.
I do love the dry mutton curry and the fried fish and chicken.
So what’s the plus point at Devi’s vs. other banana leaf joints? Well firstly, the place is comfortable and air-conditioned. So no sweating and agonizing over wet spaghetti strap tops and shorts once you exit the place. Nice salon blown hair also stays in place and unfrizzed Secondly, the curries that they drench your sauces in are so exquisitely well made, you walk the fine line where pain and pleasure meet.
Pain at the thought of working it off, and pleasure at the richness of it all. The fish curry is thick, and almost coagulated with coconut cream and rich as sin. The chicken curry is also in a class of its own. You will notice chucks of chicken in the curry as it spills over your rice. These two are the perfect combo for a great banana leaf rice. My mate opts for the dhal, thick and fragrant as well, but not as spicy.
Another reason to eat here is the incredible number of side dishes that they heap onto your leaf, without reservation. You finish, they fill it. The generosity is staggering.
And the tosai is also bloody marvelous..
The only thing that’s left to do, after a heavy session at Devi’s is to… go home and sleep.
But because I am a little paranoid about the coconut gravy going to my hips.. I go work it off instead..
But that’s just me.Follow me on Instagram : @agentcikay
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14, Jalan Telawi 2,
Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur.
(Opposite of Bangsar Village 2)