Piped in music.. sort of. Hindi of course. Sounds romantic, though I don’t understand the language. But it is so soothing. The ambience is quite quaint. A little shop or restaurant that is called a “snack bar”. “CHUTNEYS SNACK BAR”, Artisanal Indian Café.
It all started when Jeannie smartphone-d (telephoned) me last evening, asking me if I wanted “puttu mayam” (not sure if I got the spelling correct) for dinner. She was at the Empire Gallery Shopping centre and had just bought me 1, yes 1 vadai; not the usual 3 that she buys; if and when she buys vadai for me. She said the vadai was bigger than the usual size we would get at the “ordinary” Indian restaurants that can be easily spotted in most towns. And it cost much more, too.
So, she bought a packet of putting mayam.
I was hungry by the time she got back. I went for the vadai first. It was about 1 and a half times the size of a regular vadai. The taste was somewhat different from the regular ones. I think the ingredients in it were maybe a bit different, fresh.
The vadai is deep fried in very hot oil. But this was not burnt as most others are. Maybe, the oil was fresh, not over-used. I have grown accustomed and even like eating the deep fried, dark-brown vadai. But this… this was certainly amongst the best I’ve eaten, that’s for sure.
Then, I started eating the puttu mayam.
The packet came with 5 pieces of these string hoppers, with a more than ample serving of coconut and actual gula melaka, not brown sugar. The gula melaka makes this puttu mayam so authentic. It brings back fond memories like how this was usually served years ago. The whole meal was delicious. I was so hungry that I didn’t think of taking photos of the meal and vadai. This means only one thing – we have to buy this again for sure, for me to do a full write-up and take pictures, too.
The experience I had with the vadai and puttu mayam, and the way Jeannie described this little restaurant and how the owner was pleasant and gracious, made me want to come to this restaurant and see for myself if all that Jeannie had described is as it is.
After picking Jeannie up from work, then heading home to Subang Jaya; the usual question – one that is extremely more difficult than it sounds, “What shall we have for dinner?” Usually, I would, say, “I don’t know. I leave it to you”. Jeannie then comes up with a whole list of suggestions – all of which my response is “no” (so much for leaving it to Jeannie to decide) until something I like, clicks.
But today, I knew I wanted to try out this Indian cuisine. I was curious to find out how a little Indian restaurant would “click” with the crowds of people visiting Empire Gallery, daily. When Jeannie mentioned this place for dinner, I did not say anything. I just drove – destination: Empire Gallery.
Back to us being at Chutneys Snack Bar today. We chose to sit at a corner of the room to get a panoramic view of the whole place and watch it go through its motions.
Our drinks were served soon after.
The owner was very gracious and had great rapport with his customers…existing and new. While waiting for the food to come, he served us a plate of what looked delicious..pakkora. It didn’t just look delicious, it tasted delicious, too! Jeannie found it very spicy. It was spicy, yes.
Jeannie order an onion tosai for me. It had an egg fried in it. The three chutneys (Now we know why “Chutneys Snack Bar”) that came with it were really good. The orange-y coloured chutney was very spicy, the coconut chutney which is white in colour was less spicy and the third side dish which was dal, was non-spicy.
Jeannie’s Uthappam meal came with the same three side dishes.
While waiting for our dinner to be served, I saw a genuine pleasure, not only from the owner and his wife, but also from their employees. There were several employees who busied themselves by preparing and carefully serving the meals.
We tried a little bit of each other’s meal. We came to the same conclusion: yah bhojan bahut achchha tha (excellent!).
When we finished our meal and were leaving; we spoke with the owner, Isaac and his wife, Sarita; about what we saw in our short experience in Chutneys. The inviting, yet very simple decor of this restaurant, with a nice sort of chandelier, the soothing music and their genuine care to reach out to their customers, is an invitation to come back again, and again and again. Isaac said it is their passion that is infused in them that genuinely want to serve their customers.
I would recommend that when you are in the area of Empire Gallery Shopping Centre in Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia; dine at Chutneys Snack Bar, an Indian Artisanal Café.