Authentic Chapati Hut
It must be clear by now that the best restaurants in Brickfields aren’t those that are apparent to the tourist eye. Away from the tawdry Little India stretch of Jalan Tun Sambanthan are far more interesting, far more modest options for a weeknight dinner. A regular player of the game is Authentic Chapati Hut, where north Indian food is stripped of its fit-for-a-king title.
Much of the dishes here are everyday ingredients raised to opulence, food that indicates luxury but served on plastic plates within the stuffy confines of the restaurant. The menu is vegetarian, where in many cases, Indian food truly comes through. Meat is replaced with sultry, heavy-bodied things like eggplants, chickpeas, lentils and paneer. For meat fetishists, there are soy meats but really, you wouldn’t need any of it.
One of my favourite things to eat – both at Authentic Chapati Hut and in life – is chana masala, mildly tangy gravy of chickpeas best scooped up with large scraps of chapatti. Here, the pulses are cooked through but left with a substantial bite to counter the thick residue of spices and onions that clings to each morsel. For the supper of your dreams, I strongly suggest you pack home the leftovers and top a good ladleful on a thick slice of multi-grain.
Meanwhile, the baingan bartha is aggressively delicious at first bite, an alliance of creamy eggplant and a mild spice blend. I finish it almost instantly. The paneer butter masala and aloo gobi too are great, textbook in execution and objective in their deliciousness. But on every trip here, I make the mistake of ordering too many smooth, creamy things – after a while, they run the risk of tasting similar to one another. As difficult as it is to place on the menu, it’s best to ask for a crisp green vegetable alongside the curries and gravies to allow everything to simultaneously shine.
Not everything at Authentic Chapati Hut is without its flaws. The (vegetarian) biryani is forgettable, and the dal makhani lacks both texture and lushness. But you’ll be easily compensated on your way out, where stacks of Indian sweets are displayed. I usually write these off as overwhelmingly sugary, but the barfi topped with crushed pistachio is a tender, solidified cluster of milk fats, much like how I feel after a dinner of rich things.