Banana leaf rice has become a weekly ritual for me; it’s difficult to resist freshly cooked parboiled rice drenched in assorted curries, with side vegetables, meat and rasam to cap off the meal. I have my favourites like this gem and this, but recently found out about the banana leaf rice at UMAC House — short for Universiti of Malaya Academic Club.
rif’s colleague introduced this to him when they were out to lunch and he in turn, introduced it to me just a week ago. UMAC House is located just across the road from Universiti Hospital and parking can be tricky. If you’re lucky, you get to park inside the house compound. Else, you’ll have to park slightly further down the road and walk.
Ordering is pretty much straightforward — the staff will place fresh banana leaf on your table and top it up with rice, vegetables and curry. I found the place rather chaotic and service, slow. It was difficult for us to even place an order for fried chicken/fish, and our order of mutton varuval took ages to arrive. If patience isn’t your strong suit, you’ll be annoyed.
That said, the banana leaf rice at UMAC House is pretty decent. While it isn’t the best I’ve eaten, the curries lean towards the spicy side and they come heavily spiced for aroma. Even the Kerala fish curry tasted different to what I’m accustomed to; it was more spicy than creamy. They run out of this really quick (we only got one tiny saucer) so if you want your fair share, go early.
I really liked the fried chicken here — the seasoning brings out the flavour of both the skin and flesh, and the chicken was juicy. The mutton varuval was also quite decent, though I wished they were more generous with the portion. Rasam is available to aid digestion; this was slightly on the sour side so it gives you that refreshing kick.
All in, the food was quite decent though I’m not fond of the slow service. Pricing is quite reasonable considering the things we ordered. The meal worked out to be about RM10-15 per head, including a drink. :)
Food: 6/10 (pork free)
Verdict: I like the ambiance and the banana leaf rice is pretty decent.
UMAC House Banana Leaf Rice
(University Malaya Academic Club)
No.1 Jalan 12/5,
Opens for lunch and dinner
(Sunday lunch only)