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Aliyaa, Kuala Lumpur

by Bangsar Babe

“Have you been to Aliyaa in Damansara Heights?” That’s a question I get asked often and my answer is “Yes, I’ve been there for the appam.” But there’s more to Aliyaa’s menu than the appam, as I’ve learnt recently.


Crackers and Dips

Sri Lankan cuisine isn’t quite like Indian food, based on what I tasted at Aliyaa. Spices may seem familiar but they’re different and sometimes, they hit you when you least expect them to. Crackers and Dips (RM18) comes with four types of sambol – seeni, pol, karupillay and katta, which you eat with pappadum.


Seeni, pol, karupillay and katta sambol

My favourite out of the four is the pol sambol, which packs a bit heat but is rich from the grated coconut. Then there’s katta sambol, which is unapologetically fiery and addictive. Karupillay sambol offers a fresh flavour as it comprises curry leaves blended with chillies and spices.


Fish cutlet


Masala tea


Tableside service


Chicken Kothu

The fish cutlets (RM24) are crisp yet fluffy at the centre, with a balanced ratio of fish and potatoes. A nice contrast to the sambols earlier, as the cutlets aren’t spicy. I really enjoyed the Chicken Kothu (RM35), prepared tableside at Aliyaa. This is apparently a popular street snack of chopped chicken, vegetables and egg, served with roti.


Eggplant Moju


Yellow Rice

Aliyaa’s version is tasty and comforting to eat. I also liked the Eggplant Moju (RM20), where the eggplant is fried and pickled so it’s savoury, sweet and tangy with a hint of spice at the end. Goes well with steamed yellow rice (RM12).


Gotu Kola

Gotu Kola is a type of herb said to be nutritional and healthy. Aliyaa’s version (RM16) combines chopped green chillies, shallots and grated coconut, finished off with lime juice for a bit of zing. Healthy tasting but refreshing and delicious.


Prawn Sothi

We also tried the Prawn Sothi (RM52) – a yellow coconut curry that’s creamy, savoury and sweet. This is mildly spicy so you can still taste the sweetness of the prawns. Best enjoyed with string hoppers (RM10), I feel.


Mutton Paal Poriyal


Chicken Varuval

Aliyaa’s Mutton Paal Poriyal (RM68) is good for 3-4 pax; aromatic and robustly flavoured, the mutton cubes are tender and meaty. The Chicken Varuval (RM32) is not for the timid. It is fiery yet sweet from the shallots and goes well with rice or roti. That said, I still prefer the mutton over this.


The Crab Curry is an Aliyaa house special, prepared Jaffna style so it’s spicy and tongue-tingling, in a good way. It’s aromatic and very spice-forward, with strong notes of fennel, coriander and cloves. You’re given an apron when you order this crab curry – trust me, you’ll need it if you’re going to work your way through the crabs.


Whole Crab Curry, Jaffna style

I’ll probably get the crab meat curry next round as I’m a lazy eater and prefer zero effort when stuffing my face. Still, I’m told the whole crab is more superior in taste so you decide for yourself.



Wattalapam (RM15) is like caramel flan but sweetened with jaggery and seasoned with cardamom and nutmeg. Then there’s sweet appam (RM8) which I knew Aliyaa for and there’s flaming appam (RM18) where they flambé the crepe with brandy. I like them both.


Sweet Appam


Flaming appam


Flaming appam

Overall, I enjoyed Aliyaa. The dishes pack a punch but the fieriness is tamed by their sweet desserts and masala tea (RM8). Will go back for Aliyaa’s chef menu (RM128 per pax) so I get to try a little bit of everything without bursting out of my clothes.


Flat white

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Ambiance: 7/10
Price: 6/10
Food: 7/10 (pork-free)
Verdict: My favourites include the Prawn Sothi, Eggplant Moju and Mutton Paal Poriyal.

Do you have a food recommendation? Tell us!


48, Jalan Medan Setia 2,
Bukit Damansara,
50490 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 017-883 3738

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