As one passes by bustling Pondy Bazaar in Chennai, one cannot miss the gorgeous blue-gold banner that bears the name ‘Nasi Kandar Pelita’, a Malaysian restaurant that also serves Indian, Chinese and tandoori dishes.
The name Nasi Kandar is derived from an Indian-Muslim dish that was prepared during colonial Malaysian era using nasi (rice) and carrying it in a kandar (yoke). The yoke signifies a hawker who moved from street to street selling food from baskets during the time. Now, people use the same old recipes to recreate mouthwatering dishes that are a part of Malaysia’s unique heritage.
The restaurant is spacious and there is also outdoor seating. The decor is tasteful and all three parts – ground floor, first floor and the outdoor seating – are made up in three different ways. On the ground floor, the colourful abstract pillars and neon-light pillars attract customers whereas the first floor has chocolate brown pillars with panelled glass windows that gave a view of the busy street below.
The floor is marbled and the spiral staircase that separates the ground and first floor seating is wide and there are small artefacts kept to accentuate the empty space.
The outdoor seating arrangement can be enjoyed during lazy afternoons.
As hunger pangs set in, we decided to start off with their signature dish – Chicken Satay. The skewered chicken pieces were served with sweet peanut sauce along with onions and cucumber. The chicken pieces were tasty and had a distinct flavour when eaten with the sauce.
Then we had the Chicken Murtabak, a popular street food in Malaysia. These stuffed pancakes were filled with onions, egg and chicken and served with pickled onions. Then we tried their half plate tandoori that was delicious.
The roasted chicken pieces were served hot with mint chutney that was a tad watery for my companion. The pieces were cooked properly and not hard.
As an end to the main course, we tried their Malaysian Chicken Biriyani. The taste was not any different from the ones you get in a normal non-veg restaurant, with the exception of no-spice.
The long-grained Basmati rice was fragrant and the only spice element was the chilli.
Ending on that note, we did not have space in our tummies for dessert. So, we tried their drinks and Milo Ais is a hands-down nirvana drink. The cold drink’s main element was ‘Milo’, which will surely bring memories of schooldays for the ’90s kids as it was a most sought-after beverage during the time.
The ambience of the restaurant was good and the service quick, in addition to the bearers being friendly. The place is a good spot for lunch dates. The cost for four is around Rs 1,000 with taxes. There is ample space for two-wheeler parking. The restaurant is open from 10.30 am to 11 pm.
Nasi Kandar Pelita is located at No 17 & 18, Appaswamy Towers, Pondy Bazaar, Chennai – 17. Landmark – Opposite Holy Angels Anglo-Indian Higher Secondary School. For details, call 2433 5759.