The first words that come out of my mouth was "WTF? This is in friggin Melaka". The first question that I threw Qamar was "Did you come from Penang?" to which he heartily replied "No". I was crestfallen. Penang has lost the tandoori throne to Melaka. What has the world come to?!
Absolutely friggin' delicious!
No. 56, Jalan Kota Laksamana, Melaka, Malaysia
Daily : 5.30 pm - 1 am
Only opens in the evenings. Gets very packed after 8pm.
One of the best, or in fact the best tandoori in Malaysia is actually located in a small shop in Kota Laksamana, Melaka. So there, I have said it. You've read it. Can't take it back now. I now have to defend why after all these years of supporting Penang Tandoori (which is still very very good), I have to put my tail between my legs and say that Melaka trumps. Only for this one particular shop though. My Penang born mom will not be happy.
The shop that I am talking about is called Pak Putra in Melaka. In fact, it's just a couple of minutes drive off Jonker Street. It's run by a lovely man named Qamar who is a Pakistani and interestingly enough, he does not have any relations to a Pak Putra. In fact, 'putra' means son in Pakistani and 'pak' is short for Pakistan. So, the name of his tandoori joint is actually 'The Son of Pakistan'
You will go absolutely mad when you taste Qamar's chicken tandoori and garlic naan. This I guarantee you. The tandoori is full of spices, tasty and soft. Not like the ones you get in KL that can get dry sometimes. The chicken comes to you freshly baked from the tandoori urn, and its twelve herbs and spices (including cashew nuts, almonds and chilli powder) will definitely tantalise your smell senses. The aroma will just call you in. And once you bite in, the soft tender flesh, the balanced spice taste and the smell of barbequed curry spices will take you to a place that you've never been before.
So what's the secret? No secret he says (like I believe that), just good ingredients and spices. Surprisingly, he doesn't marinate the chicken overnight. They soak for about half a day before going in the urn for the burn.
And the naan, oh the naaaaann, the naaaaan, what the hell did you put in the naan, Qamar? It is just a joy to eat this garlic naan. Almost as soft as a baby's bum (Is it legal for me to say this?), tears like a tissue paper and taste's like its been kneaded by a naan maiden from a far away land. Not really, it's a man. Qamar's brother. Part of its ingredients include evaporated, condensed milk and different flour mixtures. And maybe a little touch of love from Qamar as well. I must say that the naan and tandoori is the perfect match.
Surprisingly, Qamar used to sell his tandoori in KL a long time ago. The spot near the old Modestos at Jalan P. Ramlee. In 2003, he moved to Melaka when his KL partner left. One of the reason why Pak Putra is in Melaka is perhaps the fact that his wife is a Malaysian Peranakan. Closer to the in-laws. Definitely can't stay home and twiddle fingers there. (He was previously in the hospitality industry but that didn't work out).
Pak Putra also sells a variety of Pakistani dishes. His spinach paneer is surprisingly delicious. Smooth with a slight garlic kick. Some of the curried dishes are also worth a mention. Beriyani fans should go for Pak Putra's version. This is the nasi minyak kind where the rice and curries are served separately, but oh so good. People go back for the fiery red, urn barbequed chicken tandoori and the soft, tear like a tissue delicious naan.
A small disclaimer I must write is that at the time of writing, their food is absolutely delicious. Hope they don't pull a Murphy's Law on me after 6 months this review comes out.