Wednesday, February 8, 2012

review: likha diwa's malai kofta

Since I resigned from teaching at the University of the Philippines Diliman, I have not been frequenting the campus, and so I have not kept tabs with the changes in one of my former regular hangouts, Likha Diwa Restaurant on CP Garcia Avenue. Yesterday I had errands to run on campus, so I grabbed the chance to drop by Likha Diwa to see how they've been faring. I had hoped to see artworks on the walls because Likha Diwa doubles as a gallery space, but they were in between exhibits, so I turned my attention to their menu. Not much had changed, but they did add a few new items to their food list. I decided to forego my regular order of vegetarian palabok and goto and try out one of their new offerings. I ordered their malai kofta.

I'm a sucker for Indian cuisine, and malai kofta is one of my favorites. To those not familiar, malai kofta is deep fried dumplings of grated vegetables served with a rich thick sauce of tomatoes, cashews, cottage cheese, and a whole lot of spices like cumin, cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, ginger, chili, and coriander. I think kofta means fried ball of something edible. And malai means cheese.

So with my head filled with many happy memories of malai kofta, I looked forward to tasting Likha Diwa's version. When it finally came, it was five balls in sauce served in a shallow white ceramic bowl and topped with a fresh coriander leaf. I sniffed the steam from the dish and was surprised that it didn't smell at all like the malai koftas I've had in the past. The scent should have warned me not to expect much. The sauce was too mild, and I could only taste hints of ginger and coriander and not much else. The balls themselves were too soft; I felt like I was eating baby food. Lika Diwa served the malai kofta with pita bread cut into quarters. Overall, it was a largely disappointing meal. I should've ordered my regular.

In a scale of one to five, with five being highest, I am giving Likha Diwa's malai kofta a two.