Thursday, 14 January 2010

Basil Leaves, Taman Kajang Sentral

The excitement of a new Indian Restaurant in Kajang with a western name was rather interesting to say the least, so like every other Kajang folk, we anticipated its opening after the signage came up. This dragged from weeks to months. Finally, on 24th December, it opened its doors - after the long anticipation, it was like they say 'potong stim'.

No body talked about this restaurant until my uncle decided to drag me there one afternoon for lunch. Mind you, he knows the owner personally. It was one of the most memorable lunches I have had, in recent times, but for the wrong reasons.

Upon entry, noticed the strange green colour theme in the shop and the pictures of western dishes on the walls - very strange for Indian restaurant to have so many western dishes featured on a large poster-backdrop. Signs of confusion ?

We wanted a nice Indian meal, noticed no menu, no display rack - so we kept guessing. We had to ask for what we wanted, i.e. rice, dry mutton, some dry chicken, fish curry and waited. Food came in very impressive utensils to say the least, but all in small portions. Missing were the vegetables - a must in any Indian restaurants - and we were told, that we had to order it seprately. So we did ask for it by name - cucumbers in yogurt - "Sorry, we don't have that!" What! No cucumbers in yogurt in an Indian restaurant? We then found that they did not have any other Indian type vegetables either and only a Chinese style stir fried garlic vegetable was available (see pic).
There were also no 'resam', no pickles, no yogurt dipped fried chillies??? Certainly was not what we would expect from an Indian restaurant?
And every time we requested for something simple (things commonly found in an Indian restaurant), the elderly waiter would run into the kitchen and bring out the boss, who would then apologise to us that they did not have it. Why didn't he just tell us? The 'staff' were certainly not trained or prepared to run a restaurant. Everyone was a 'greenhorn'. There was so much confusion and frustration from the look of the customers faces around us, we were not the only ones unhappy with the service.
The food itself was slightly below average. The mutton had no real taste, fish curry was ok, considering the fact that there were 2 slices of Ikan Tenggiri in there. Vegetable was very Chinese, didn't quite blend in to the Indian food. The fresh ginger pickle was the only dish worth a mention. Fried chicken was reasonably good as it was freshly fried with curry leafs. The rice portion was insufficient and nobody asked us if we needed more (possibly came at an additional price).

We finished our meal and asked for the bill. For just the 2 of us, with pretty simple dishes. it came to a whopping RM45.20 !!! My uncle who knew the owner, almost fell off his chair. But since it was our first time (and possibly the last), we just paid the bill and left.

Outside, we bumped into an old friend and his wife who were about to enter the shop, going in to try for the first time too- we blurted out our sour experience - they made a u-turn, jumped into their car and drove off to Sri Paandi's in town for a 'better' deal. They just wanted 'real' Indian food!

I'll give this restaurant 6 months at the most if they continue operating like this. Anyone looking for a good deal to start a restaurant in the Taman Kajang Sentral area, just sit back and wait, you may get a good deal taking over the 2 shop lots here soon.


  1. Being located down the road from where I live, I had high expectations for this place and like gd, eagerly anticipated the opening. Our first visit there was for breakfast. We had the usual thosai, puri and coffee. I must say that the taste of the good was generally up to the mark but the service was really poor. Considering that it was just a few days after their opening, I thought never mind lah - they can iron out the service later.

    My second visit today (a weekday) at 10.00 a.m. was somewhat better, but my order for a thosai had to be repeated 3 times and my coffee order was repeated twice. and this was when the shop had just 2 other tables of customers. I wasn't impressed. Idly and vadai were RM0.80 each and were pretty small for the price. Both were a little hard as well. I like my idly to be soft and fluffy. The chutneys and dhall were good though. The thosai was nice and crispy, the way I like it, which was an improvement from my first visit.

    As gd mentioned, they need to get their act together quickly, otherwise, it's likely that they will be on sale in a few months time.

  2. Contrary to the earlier two people, my family and I had a thoroughly enjoyable meal there last weekend. They must have pulled their act together.

    We had the vegetarian set meal - rice, 2 types of curries, 3 types of vege, rasam, yoghurt and payasam - all for only RM5.00, which I thought was very reasonable.

    The waiter who attended to us came back to check if we wanted anything else and also to find out if we enjoyed the meal.

    We will definitely be going back there.

  3. Chasi, good to hear that, perhaps should give them a 2nd chance.

    Saying that, I passed them by last Friday morning about 8:30am, hoping for some light breakfast - it was closed. I am not sure if they start late or is this unpredictable. Will do more scouting and report back.

    btw. I had vegetarian at Ravi's Corner last Friday, very tasty, very nice and highly recommended. Someone paid for my lunch, so I don't know how much was it :)

  4. Yes gd Ravi's corner has good vegetarian food and reasonably priced too. In my opinion, good value for money for Indian vegetarian food is still Sri Paandis. For RM4.00 you get much more than what you can eat.

  5. i went there last week on thu for lunch and the chicken briyani was awesome, they had the cucumber wif yogurt too wif d briyani, the service was gud, so we went again on saturday in a group of 10...the service was good and the food was awesome....
    The waiter who attended to us ,also came back to check if we wanted anything else and also to find out if we enjoyed the meal.

  6. Basil Leave has good Briyani and dry mutton/chicken set. Their Ginger Tea (Teh Halia) is among the best in Kajang.

    Ravi's Corner is decent. Until the advent of Basil leaves, it used to be my favorite spot.

    Sri Paandis has great Chicken Briyani, but their non-veg prices are a bit hefty.

    At least at Basil Leaves you get decent ambience and is clean. Not the same at Paandis.

    Now only if I can find a place with great Meat Curry Puffs and large ulunthu vaadai's...


  7. I still frequent this place because it is close to home and parking is a breeze. I have not tried the chicken briyani but I can see that it is popular. The thosai is much better than before with tasty chutney, dhall and sambal. The masala tea is not consistent. I've had very good tea at times and on other occasions it was too sweet or with too much masala. I must try the ginger tea next time.

  8. I have been to Basil Leaves several times... yes service was slow initially but it has improved now.Found the food to be quite different from the normal banana leaf rice Indian restaurant. The Murtabak was not bad, much better than some I bought from Ramadan bazaar. My son like the vegetarian set

  9. i went there last thursday & friday they are using the left out food on the next day, briyani reheat. as the staff talking at the kitchen

  10. yes i notice wants my frd went first he order the vege set , i went and order the same menu, but its came out difference vegetables, as i notice the the same vegetable i ate previos day. they are charging expensive, and using the left out food. i & my frds stop going there. one 2 be rich fast.

  11. I went a few weeks back, the food was good. Their Bru coffee with fresh milk was excellent. The place is clean and cosy. I used to love Sri Pandi's but it is dirty now, you can see roaches everywhere. I have stopped going there. I am glad there is a decent indian restaurant in Kajang finally.

  12. Non-halal by JAKIM. Malays, never ever eat there.

  13. Hi Azeri - thanks for pointing that out although we never noticed any halal signage before.

  14. I found the food to be sub-standard and expensive. Went there once and never again.

  15. Azeri/Jon, my last outing to Basil Leafs, I did see a HALAL cert on the wall behind the counter. Safe to assume they have a cert.

    As for food, many have commented on how nice the Chicken Briyani is and same for the breakfast menu - tosai, chapati, idaly and puri. The curry that comes along is also tasty.

    That said, stay away from Nasi Lemak here, it is not worth the mention.

    I guess, if you pick and choose, there is the good and bad.

  16. To be fair, it is not as cheap as Ravi's Corner or Sri Pandi, but it is not that expensive too. You get air-conditioned environment, better furniture, some ambiance and good utensils to dine in. Certainly, have to pay more-lah. My opinion, reasonable. I must say, I am quite impressed that they are still surviving - it was not my favorite pick right from the start.

    Just to mention 2 places I frequent for Indian food/nice tosai - sadly, both are outside of Kajang town - one in Serdang lama, along the highway (Sitaram Restaurant) and the other at Pusat Hentian Bas Kajang along Jalan Reko (Shakers Corner).

  17. Went to Basil Leaves last sunday for my dad's birthday. My experience here was very good. Food was nice, good customer service and price is ok also. A perfect indian family restaurant. Will surely recommend this place this my friends and family.

  18. Hi Anon, I wouldn't say it's perfect. Service is sometimes slow and food is inconsistent too as can be seen from the previous comments posted here.

  19. Restoran Jayasri in Sg. Chua serves good Indian food...price very reasonable...(way better than Basil Leaves).

  20. Im from Kajang & live not too far off from Kajang Central. Most of my Experiences there have been relatively poor. Food may fair from time to time.

    One may ask how can you go wrong with Nasi Lemak. I reckon you ask Basil Leaves! Sadly the service was VERY BAD when they started and over time have improved to being just BAD!

  21. Basil Leaves, much better than The Legend clayport. We can say that Basil Leaves so much cleaner than The Legend.
    Yesterday we went to The Legend, I mean a few time, I can say the a lot flies are there. We cant really enjoy our meal.
    And Basil Leaves, we really enjoy the food and the food is like home cooked meal.
    Service was good.
    Enjoyed my lunch. Thanks to my hubby for taking me to Basil Leaves.
    And of course, will recommend this restaurant to my friends.

  22. Basil leaves, the worst service I've ever seen. Is it because I'm a chinese and I dun get served?

  23. Wei, nothing racial here, but it seems everyone complain about the 'service' at Basil Leaves. I've been there many times, I never got immediate service. You are not alone bro. You just have to sit and wait till someone sees your annoyed face till you get your service. There is no urgency at this restaurant. Frankly, food is just so-so. But where else can you find an aircond Indian restaurant in Kajang with good ambiance? Till then, we consumers suffer.