Moorthy’s Mathai

Banana Leaf is something that I crave every so often. Hot steamy rice with tasty veggie dishes, a generous lashing of fish curry, crisp papadams, and a cup of spicy rassam to finish it off… the perfect lunchtime indulgence followed by a nap of course.

by Alexa P. Photography FriedChillies Sat, September 04, 2010

A relative of mine mentioned that another distant relative had opened up a banana leaf restaurant. Well it made sense that since I work in the food line I just had to go give it a try. I went with an open mind trying not to be biased. I even looked up some reviews online to get a good feel of the place before setting off for lunch. Every single review recommended the fried tenggiri (which didn't matter to me as I don't even like fried tenggiri).

Moorthy Mathai's sits right on the busy Tun Sambanthan stretch of Brickfields. As you drive past you'll notice that it is one of the newer spots along the row of makan joints and fabric stores. It is both clean and air-conditioned, which is lovely in our hot and humid weather.

We immediately place our orders to appease our ravenous rumbling tummies. Along with the usual vegetarian set, my friends each ordered the fried tenggiri (none for me, thanks!), and we got a fried chicken, and two fish cutlets to share.

Now I suppose I should explain my aversion to fried tenggiri. I have never had an enjoyable experience with it; it's either very fishy tasting, overcooked and stringy, or it has soaked up so much grease that you're basically chomping on a fishy grease sponge. When the fish arrived at our table however, I decided to give it a nibble just to be able to write about it. I was not prepared to like it or even enjoy it, and I sure as heck was not expecting to be frantically waving down a waiter to place one more order for it. The fried tenggiri here is extremely fresh, the flesh is soft and flaky with a hint of sweetness, and the spice coating is packed with flavour. To ensure that it is freshly-cooked, the tenggiri is prepared in small batches throughout the day. Moorthy's Mathai has completely changed my view of the humble tenggiri. The veggies that are given with the set are absolutely delicious. There was the usual cooling cucumber, spicy eggplant, a bitter gourd curry, and a stir-fried cabbage. A vegetarian set here could definitely be more than enough, but of course banana leaf meals are an excuse to be greedy and order a few more delights.

While the tenggiri won my heart over, I was not impressed with the fish cutlets, they were a tad too salty and when eaten cold even less appetizing. The fried chicken is good; although chicken like this can be found almost anywhere and so there isn’t anything particularly special about it.

It finish off the meal we ordered a hot masala tea, something to soothe the tummy after such a heavy meal. The tea here has a strong ginger bite to it that I find especially good. It warms the back of the throat and you can feel it warming it’s way down. The heady spices leave a delicious tingle in the mouth and it is both invigorating and comforting.

Prices here are quite reasonable if you take into account the rising prices at the popular banana leaf haunts. Our bill amounted to RM60 for 4 of us and this was for a vegetarian set with a tenggiri each, one fried chicken, two fish cutlets, and two drinks apiece. Not too bad for a delicious meal.

More Photos To Drool On

My wife and I visited Moorthy's a few weeks ago. No kidding but I think I must have eaten about 1kg of rice! Need I say any more about the food?
Moorthy was very hospitable to my wife and I. He seemed genuinely pleased that we were enjoying the food so much. Definitely heading back there again - but I'd strongly recommend elasticated trousers!

by pete November 18, 2010 9:16PM

Haha! I think from that angled photo, it kinda does look like bawal. It's tenggiri actually

by Adly September 15, 2010 3:45PM

Hi Alexa P. Thank you for a wonderful write up and pictures. Glad you and your friends enjoyed the food and the fish. I have noted your comment on the salty cutlet and it will not happen again.
Indeed, I have another stall at Mayflower Seafood Restaurant which was relocated when Peking Hotel was closed down. Stall is open for lunch only and many of my regular customers from Peking Hotel were finding it a little difficult to get seats during busy lunch hours.
Moreover it was very hot and humid..that was why I decided to open a more comfortable place for my customers to enjoy their food...hence Moorthy's Mathai Restaurant. The restaurant is open from 7am to 10 pm everyday. My signature dishes..the fried tenggiri, mutton, red spicy chicken curry, fish head curry, gravy fried potato are daily items which I cook personaly. Also available daily for lunch at the restaurant is my signature vegetarian briyani, mutton briyani, chicken briyani and fish briyani.
Please do come again.
Thanks again

by Moorthy September 12, 2010 6:23AM

Something is very fishy here! Isnt the Mathai's stall that was at the New Lay Sin now at the Mayflower Restaurant at 144A Jalan Vivekananda?

by asian-malaysian September 05, 2010 4:16AM

Marky, thanks for sharing. Will visit Kashmir and give you a verdict. Jon, will try to ask Moorthy on your question

by Adly September 04, 2010 7:25AM

Is this the Moorthy who was the protege of original Mathai's at Peking Hotel ? If it is, then the fried tenggiri alone would be the reason to visit. From your description, it seems to be the Moorthy from Mathai's (which would explain the name too).

by Jon September 04, 2010 12:46AM

I find the tenggiri (among other things) at Kashmir Cafe to be WAY superb. Try it and tell me which is better?

by Marcky September 03, 2010 10:43PM

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Foodster's Verdict

Moorthy’s Mathai


78, Jln Tun Sambanthan


The fish...ohh the fish...and yeah the fish! Delicious banana leaf.

Parking is quite difficult in this area and you might have to park far away and walk

Price Range:
RM 20


Pork Free


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