It’s been a good four years, if memory serves, since I came back from India after a 5-month project that I had to undertake at my job. Strangely, of all the wonderful food pleasures that I had experienced there, it was the pub grub that I hold fondly in memory.
Back then, it was unheard of to actually go to a pub with the primary intention of having a good meal; though now such a concept is more familiar, with the advent of the many great watering holes that serve up great food. However, it just wasn’t the same for me. Pork burgers and ribs are wonderful, but you can’t really beat that feeling of well-being from enjoying homely comfort food with a cold beer.
Comfort food at its best form – fried rice, topped with an egg. Unlike regular fried rice, the fried rice at Beer Belly (located at The Strand, Kota Damansara) is cooked with a belacan from Bintulu – it packs more kick with its stronger flavour. The contrasting sensations between a cold pint of Tetley’s and the spicy-hot belacan fried rice reminds me of a hot shower on a stormy day.
One unique thing about Beer Belly is that the menu is an evolution of the chef’s (who happens to be the mother of the restaurateur) travel adventures. The chicken Balti, said to be an evolution of Pakistani cuisine in Birmingham, is reminiscent of both Indian and Chinese cooking styles (though more Indian than Chinese).
Beef stroganoff, which is of Russian origin, strangely (and really, I’m not making this up) tasted similar to the murgh makhanwala (butter chicken) that I used to enjoy (too) regularly when I was in India. Tender, aromatic, and full of chunkiness in every serving. Served with butter rice, it’s almost as if my whole experience at Beer Belly was orchestrated to be an echo of my favourite dishes in India.
Comfort food to me is an unpretentious menu that is all about familiarity without frills… and plenty of beer.