I got the pleasure to be invited to A Li Yaa recently to try out their food and was stoked as I am a fan for speciality cuisines, things out of the norm. Sometimes I get really bored of every day food and being chinese I have loads of chinese food often so when the mention of Sri Lanka cuisine I said yes right away!
Serving up some fine dining Sri Lankan dishes to Kuala Lumpur diners since a years back. Aliyaa which means elephant in Singhalese, is placed at the wonderful neighborhood of Bukit Damansara which I was familiar with as I was a HELP University College student, so locating the place was a breeze!
The restaurant cum bar serves up authentic Sri Lankan dishes, many of its spices and ingredients are imported from Sri Lanka itself to ensure authentic flavours are achieved consistently. Other than that, crabs and fish are bought daily or kept alive in the restaurant itself!
A Li Yaa is open for lunch and dinner, but I was there during the night and parking was easy! It was a cozy and comfy ambience which are perfect for dates and get togethers. While boasting a two-storey lot, this restaurant offers regular dining and even private dining!
We started off with the Fish Cutlet and Prawn Cocktail as appetizers and I was already hooked!
The Fish Cutlet was a bit spicy (bear in mind, I don't regularly eat spicy food and can't stand chilli padi, so my spiciness tolerance is quite low) but boasted fragrant aromas, while the prawn cocktail is like your normal prawn cocktail. However they both paired well together as the Prawn Cocktail helped mellow down the fish cutlet bringing it both to a very wonderful pairing.
Then we had String Hopper Kothu which I am super in love with!
This is one dish that I'll definitely order whenever I'm there, or would actually head there just for this. At first I thought it was rice, well it did look like grains of rice till I took a bite and noticed the texture. Asked and then found out that it was mihun and I was surprised. The condiments/sauces you see placed on the dish (4 condiment/sauces) was a pleasant match when all of it was mixed together! If you're wondering what are those four dollops, they're actually Katta Sambal (spiciest among the four made of Maldivian fish), Seeni Sambal (sweet caramelized onion relish), Pol Sambal (grated fresh coconut, dried chilies, onions, lime juice and curry leaves) and Karupillay Sambal (fresh curry leaves blended with chilies and spice).
Filled with aromatics and ever so flagrantly, I was told that it is usually served in a bigger portion to share.
Now onto the star of A Li Yaa.
Sri Lankan Crab Curry.
If you follow me on my social media feeds, you'll know that I am a huge fan of crab. I cook my own crabs at home so my expectations are quite high when it comes to this. This was way beyond my expectation, sweet, juicy and fresh, that only just my thoughts on the crab; the sauce was delicious and I couldn't bear to be all dainty eating this! I chowed down using my hands, licking off every sauce left on my fingers, it was that good! Not to worry as A Li Yaa is ready for diners like myself, with a provided bib that also looks pretty cute when worn :p
Then we had a spread of dishes from Mutton Paal Poriyal which is slow cooked mutton in a a yummy blend of spices which then produces a wonderful aroma while the meat just melts in your mouth! Other than that we had the Fish Curry and also Prawn Sothi which is my other fave (so far I have three faves already! haha) and Brinjal Moju
The Doosra Roti which is flat bread, served up to go with the crab dish.
These two buddies who accompanied me and made the whole dining experience wonderful!
It's definitely better having more people around as you get to order more dishes. Plus the laughters and chit chat that goes around, so nice catching up.
We then adjourned to the second floor of A Li Yaa.
Boasting a lovely quaint bar with a huge variety of whiskey to choose from, they even sell artwork! All those paintings hanging on the wall are for sale by the way.
Then we headed outside to their outdoor seating to enjoy a couple more drinks with our dessert, which is the Sweet Appam. I love how it is cripsy around the edges but the yolk is still oozy soft in the middle. Combined with the the ingredients inside and I am sold! A Li Yaa makes awesome fluffy Appams… a must-order!
I would say that A Li Yaa is a wonderful place to wine and dine. To bring friends and family around to enjoy a wonderful dinner together. Let the spices and aromas surprise your tastebuds, while enjoying these wonderful dishes and more at comfort in this cozy quaint place. Do check them out and let me know what you think! :)
For more info and address:
A LI YAA ISLAND RESTAURANT AND BAR
48 G & M, Jalan Medan Setia 2
50490 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: +603-2092 5378
Mon – Sun: 12.00 pm – 11.00 pm
p/s : Call earlier to reserve the crabs! They run out fast! :p YES, IT IS THAT GOOD!