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KARI GUYS,
24 Lorong Ara Kiri 2,
Lucky Garden,
Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2201 9388; 017-812 6595
Business hours: 11.45am-8.30pm, daily.

KARI Guys, a family-run Indian restaurant at Lucky Garden in Bangsar, has a long history since its inception in 1951.

The recipe of its signature dish – Kari Ayam Sempalit – belonged to the founder, the late Damodaran Nair.

“The dish is special as the curry tastes less spicy and appeals to most Malaysians, including those with low tolerance for spicy food,” said Ramesh Nair, co-owner of Kari Guys.

 

Kari Guys' signature chicken curry recipe has been passed down for generations since 1951.

Kari Guys’ signature chicken curry recipe has been passed down for generations since 1951.

It all began in 1951, when Damodaran started his push cart Indian food business in a village called Pintu Padang in Raub, Pahang.

The former cook for the British settlers expanded his food business to a wooden restaurant in Sempalit in Raub, where the customers were mostly Chinese folks who preferred less spicy food.

With this in mind, Damodaran created less spicy Indian food that were still rich in flavour.

The restaurant was called Damodaran Eating and Coffee Shop. Several years later, the wooden shop was replaced with a brick structure and renamed Restaurant Damodaran Nair.

Kari Ayam Sempalit gained its popularity during this time.

The restaurant in Sempalit is still managed by a family member, while Damodaran’s two grandsons, Ramesh and Dinesh Nair, have expanded the business to Petaling Jaya in 2007.

“This year we shifted to Lucky Garden, Bangsar. We have been receiving good support here,” said Ramesh, the elder of the two.

The fish head curry is cooked with a specially formulated curry powder. Tamarind is added which adds a mild sour taste to the dish.

The fish head curry is cooked with a specially formulated curry powder. Tamarind is added which adds a mild sour taste to the dish.

The dishes served at Kari Guys tasted extra special compared to those served at most other Indian restaurants, partly because they are cooked in smaller portions by the owners.

The curries tasted homecooked and the dishes were rich in flavour.

Ramesh said most dishes are prepared in several batches throughout the day.

“We will prepare the chicken curry about three times a day. This is to ensure the curry is fresh,” he said.

The late Damodaran inherited the recipes and groomed his daughter-in-law to master the cooking techniques, said Ramesh.

“My grandfather taught my mother the recipe and she is now the chief cook at the kitchen.

“But, both my brother and I can cook all the dishes too. We are very hands-on and that enables us to control the food quality,” he said.

Ramesh added that he even cooked the food served at his wedding reception, with help from his mother and brother.

 

Ramesh Nair is a co-owner of Kari Guys.

Ramesh Nair is a co-owner of Kari Guys.

“We are a close-knit family and we cook together. Both my brother and I have been helping our parents with the food business since we were young.

“We worked in other professional fields before we took over the family business from our dad Asokan Nair,” he said.

Among other popular dishes at Kari Guys are the mutton varuval, fish head curry, fried chicken and therojak mee.

The fried chicken at Kari Guys is not coated with flour. It is marinated in spices and has a golden brown hue when it is fried.

This is in contrary to the commonly sold deep fried chicken in most restaurants where it is coated in coloured flour and drenched in oil.

The fish head curry is another must-try at the restaurant.

Mutton varuval (front) is another famous signature dish at Kari Guys.

Mutton varuval (front) is another famous signature dish at Kari Guys.

The red fish is cooked with specially formulated curry powder. Tamarind is added to the curry and the mild sour taste adds flavour to the dish.

The rojak mee served here has a smooth peanut gravy texture and is a must-try for those who enjoy local delights.

Kari Guys offers affordable set lunch meals, considering its prime location.

The set meal price ranges between RM11.50 and RM13.50. The meal consists of one main course, two vegetables and a beverage.

The main course choices consists of Sempalit Fried Ayam, Kari Ayam Sempalit, Sempalit Mutton Peratal, fish curry, fried fish, sotong sambal and prawn sambal.

The vegetable choices include stir-fried cabbage, french beans and carrots, wok-fried brinjal, beans sprout with carrots, wok-fried ladies fingers, Thai-style bean curd, stir fried long beans and cucumber salad.

A la carte dishes are also available.

This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.

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