Kashmir Cafes is a neighborhood restaurant in SS3 that is making a comeback after they closed down many years ago. The current location of Kashmir Cafes is only a few shops away from their previous one, hence the apt slogan of “old taste, new place”. But first, I just want to cut to the chase by saying Kashmir Cafes serves really good banana leaf rice, even better than the big boys in PJ like Raju, Sri Paandi and Kanna Curry House.
The main reason I feel the banana leaf rice (RM5.50 for vegetarian set) at Kashmir Cafes is better because the side dishes are not mass produced like others, which aims to cater to the large customer base. So what you get here is more quality tasting food.
To be honest, I never really fancied the assortment of vegetables so I usually have to order extras like curries or fried stuff to complete the meal. But so far, Kashmir Cafes is the only exception for me. Their vegetarian sides not only look decent, but are also tasty enough (this coming from a meat lover) that I could actually finish a banana leaf rice without any meat.
There are a couple of fishes to choose from the ‘Goreng on the Spot’ section, where your choice of fish or chicken is fried upon order to ensure its freshness. The fried tenggiri I had is really good, if not the best fried fish as far as banana leaf is concerned. It is well seasoned, crispy on the outside with a soft and flaky meat texture – just delicious. Compared with the other more prominent banana leaf restaurants, you get almost double the portion of fish here for the same price. I say that’s a good deal.
Kashmir Cafes makes some awesome ice blended lassi @ RM5.50 – thick and smooth like it should be, maybe just a bit too sweet. If I remember correctly they have at least 5 flavors of ice blended lassi, and shown here is the mango flavored one.
Decent cow milk coffee and tea are available here as well. No doubt they are more expensive than the conventional ones prepared using sweetened condensed milk but worth trying nonetheless. Expect them to taste a lot less sweeter with smoother and lighter body.
As much as I loved the banana leaf rice, the same cannot be said for the biryani here. I remember when I had it the first time, the rice was not fluffy as you would have expected from a biryani and I could taste a lot of dry and hard rice grains.
I thought it was an isolated incident but sadly it wasn’t. In my next subsequent visits the briyanis I tried had the same problem. This is such a pity because they basically got all the things right and I particularly liked the addition of raisins for that sweetness in every bite. Mutton biryani is RM14 per serving here.
Another thing I didn’t really like about the biryani here is the way they are prepared. Although they do come in dums, they are not cooked in it. Instead, layers of pre-cooked rice and meat are assembled in the dum when any order is placed.
One funny incident is when I wanted to try the mutton varuval here just to see how it would stack up with the one I had at Anjappar. Since mutton varuval is a heavily spiced dish I acutally had plain biryani to go with it. I didn’t know how the mutton varuval would look like but when I saw them scooping it from a pile of pre-cooked meat, I knew it was the same mutton that they use for the mutton biryani.
A quick math revealed that I would have to pay RM15 for the plain biryani and mutton varuval, which is RM1 more expensive than having the mutton biryani alone. But essentially both of them are actually the same thing! I felt shortchanged but luckily the staff charged me the price of a normal mutton biryani after I explained the situation. I do hope they realize what they are doing.
In short, come for the banana leaf rice and stay for the free Wifi. If you are not a fan of banana leaf they also serve mamak food like maggi goreng and stuff that I find to be not bad. More importantly, the prices are on par with the mamak stalls in the vicinty but you get to dine in a 3C environment – cooling, cozy and clean.
Kashmir Cafes (Halal)
No 58, Jalan SS3/31,
University Garden, Kelana Jaya
47300 Petaling Jaya
GPS Coordinates: N3 05.773 E101 36.695
Tel: 03 7873 6622
Business hours: 7.00am – 10.00pm daily