By Jana Draupadi Thevar
I guess this place needs no introduction. I must’ve been the last Indian in Klang Valley to try this restaurant out for the first time. Special thanks to Yuva for inviting me!
A group of 10, we headed over to the famous Sri Ganapathi Mess in PJ for lunch last week. I was expecting a regular restaurant, so I was rather surprised when my friend pulled up into a residential area. Sri Ganapathi Mess is a bungalow-turned-restaurant, with partitioned areas and rooms to accommodate a variety of customers, in groups or individually. I liked the concept as it was something different.
Service was brisk and we got our food fast. There was a lot of loud confusion among the waiters over how and what to serve us when it came to the extras, although we made our requests more than once from the beginning. One waiter was actually insolent enough to chide Yuva, saying he wasn’t ‘clear’ when placing his order. My feisty buddy, however, was having none of that and told him off. In all fairness, I was seated next to Yuva and heard him make his order loudly and clearly, and repeat it about 3 or 4 times each time he was asked. The key takeaway from this experience? If you’re short tempered, think twice about visiting this place during busy periods – experiences like this aren’t great for your digestion.
Since the waiters were a bunch of prima donnas, I asked Yuva to recommend the restaurant’s signature dishes instead, which he did: spicy crab soup (Tamil: nandu rasam), local mutton peratal (Tamil: naatu aadu), fried Tenggiri fish and spicy imported mutton (Tamil: varuval). We decided to share the dishes between the two of us as I knew I couldn’t finish it all myself. I swallowed my guilt at my evil, non-vegetarian choices (as always), but I decided to make up for my negative karmic footprint later.
The verdict? Lousy waiter attitude aside, the standard banana leaf set was better than most places. The local mutton, as expected, has a strong flavor and may not suit delicate palates. The regular mutton was awesome but crazy spicy, so cry into your food while you have it – it’s still worth it. Fish? So-so, nowhere close to Moorthy’s Mathai culinary expertise – I declare those guys the Klang Valley fried Tenggiri champs. Finally, the spicy crab soup was rather diluted, but it gets my seal of approval.
Yuva and I had a combined bill of RM 38, which is not too bad considering the food was good and fresh. The auntie at the cashier was also very sweet, so it made up for the earlier unpleasantness. In summary, worth a visit. Take note that you’d probably have to park at the side of the street, and the roads around the area are annoyingly narrow.
Food (General): 7/10
Food (Standard Vegetarian Banana Leaf meal): 7/10
Food (Signature Dish – Spicy Crab Soup): 6/10
Food (Signature Dish – Local Mutton): 5/10
Food (Signature Dish – Imported Mutton): 8/10
General Cleanliness: 7/10
Location (PJ): 5/10
Will I go back again : 10/10