21 February, 2012

A Li Yaa Island Restaurant and Bar @ Plaza Damansara

A Li Yaa simply resembles 'elephant' in Singhalese, which symbolises the beauty of culinary globalisation amidst a lush backdrop of modern day. The location of the evening is kinda special for it's my first time trying the authentic Sri Lankan cuisine. There I decided to explore the uniquely spiced creations served up by the chefs originally from Sri Lanka.

Moved from Bukit Damansara, it is now relocated at Plaza Damansara since October 2011. Apart from the elegant dining area for casual and group dining, you can choose from a wide array of colorful drinks behind the bar. 

 Sri Lankan Sytle Sambal @ RM3 – RM5 

From left: 
Pol Sambal (Classic coconut), 
Seeni Sambal (Caramelized onion relish),  
Karupillay Sambal (Curry Leaves), 
Katta Sambal (Chilli side dish)

The beauty of taste is revealed by these four condiments, with sour coconut sambal, spicy katta sambal and sweet onion sambal. Another good thing about Sri Lankan is that, they only use one type of curry powder to spice up the dishes. The rest are the healthy, natural spices in enhancing the taste and flavours.

 #1 Fish Cutlets @ RM15 

The first appetizer is already irresistible to me! Meats of the fish cutlets are steamed into a paste of mixed flavour and spices, then breaded with toasted flakes. Munching away the crispy skin, the soft texture of mashed potatoes and fish meats is revealed. 

 #2 Lamb Rolls (5 Pieces) @ RM15 

This side dish is simple as the spicy marinated meats and potatoes are wrapped into fan cake and then breaded with roasted flakes. But surprisingly, the skin is thicker than normal spring roll skin yet it is easily chewable despite of the firm texture.

 #3 String Hopper Kothu Seafood @ RM28 

This is a must-try in any Sri Lankan restaurant because it is a specialty dish, prepared from spaghetti-like strings of unprocessed brown rice flour dough squeezed through a sieve onto small woven trays, then are steamed to perfection. This rice noodle is so fragrant that I can smell it from far!
#4 String Hopper Kothu Chicken @ RM18 

Similar to the above dish, this platter is cooked with chicken. To be frank, the chicken cubes blend well with the very thin noodles. And I personally prefer this despite of being a seafood lover.

 #5 Mutton Paal Porriyal @ RM28

The mutton cubes are served with rice, gravy, mixed vegetables and seeni sambal. As crispy as it looks, the spices are blended well with the taste of juicy meat.

#6 Eggplant Sambal @ RM8

This platter of healthy vegetable is served with my favourite onion slices to bring out the fragrance in the dish itself. The spiced dish is irresistible that I wanted to take a spoon after another!

#7 Chef Publis Pol Kiri Thiyal @ RM19

This thick gravy consists of fish cutlets which are cooked in coconut milk, lemon grass, garlic shallots and curry leaves. Despite of its yellow appearance, this mild and thin creamy curry is not spicy at all! The flaky flesh still tastes good after being spiced up with various ingredients.

 #8 Plain String Hoppers (Indi Appam) @ RM8

This is the Sri Lankan version of “Putu Mayam” in Malaysia, but it's now eaten with the coconut sambal and other dishes. Each string is kinda elastic and has a mild sweetness; it suits my taste really well.

 #9 Sri Lankan Crabs @ RM11.90/100g 
House specialty: Devilled Crab

This fiery-looking plate of large-sized crabs is sweet and sour. Marinated and tossed in a stock of spicy sweet tomatoes, sauteed onions, capsicums, leeks, chillies, Sri Lankan herbs and spices, it is now full of flavours and finger licking good!

 #10  Crab Curry in Colombo Style

It is another bestselling dish of the restaurant that tempts me for more. The dark, thick sauce is spicy enough for those who love to go adventurous! 

#11 Brinjal Moju @ RM8 

Another platter which falls under the vegetable category smells really good upon serving! The deep fried brinjal slices are mixed with spices and pinch of vinegar to reveal its thick flavours of sweetness.

A whole plate of foodstuff in banana leaf rice? Guess what's that.

#12 Lumprice Chicken @ RM24

It's oven baked rice wrapped in a banana leaf! The rice is baked along with devilled chicken, fried egg with roasted cashew nuts, onions and long beans. It satisfies my growling stomach really well!

After mixing the above-mentioned ingredients, the lumprice now becomes thicker in texture and looks more like the Chinese Dumplings ("Bak Chang"). With mild spiciness, the portion is sufficient to serve up to 3 persons.

 #13 Plain Doosara Roti @ RM8 

After completing the main courses, here comes another signature side dish. The flat bread is pan-grilled with grated coconut, onion and mild chilli. Being mild in taste and non-spicy, the coconut sambal works best as a condiment to spice up the crispy bread. 

 #14 Appam @ RM6 each 

Another must-try as a side dish! From my visit there, I can see that almost each table orders one of these appam because it's the house specialty. Wafer thin, bowl-shaped pancakes are made from fermented batter of rice flour and coconut milk 

The plain and egg flavours are the Sri Lankan main breakfast meal.
Whereas the sweetened ones are served as desserts in Malaysia to suit the local taste.

It's so thin, light and crispy! If you're craving for a sweet tooth, then the brown-sugared appam would be the best choice. 

#15 Vatilaapam @ RM8 

In the end, the meal is sealed with a serving of coconut custard. Made of coconut milk, brown palm sugar, eggs and various spices including cinnamon, this pudding is full of flavours! 

 #16 Refreshing Mocktails (Non-alcoholic) 

From left: 
Virgin Mojito @ RM12
---A strong minty concoction of Mint leaf, brown sugar, fresh lime and bitter lemon.
Lychee Asam Boi @ RM12 
---A perfect thirst quencher with the combination of fresh lychee and asam boi.
Pink Panther @ RM12 
---A thick-in-texture but overly sweetened glass of strawberry puree with milk.
Strawberry Ice Tea @ RM12 
---A lovey dovey glass with a bloody red heart shape on the surface. Made of strawberry puree, sugar and ice tea.

Before I forget, ALL the dishes in the menu are available for vegetarian menu!
Incredible? No hassle if you can't have mutton, beef or seafood.

1. It is worth attempting Sri Lankan cuisine especially such an authentic one.
2. To my surprise, more than 30% of the menu is non-spicy foodstuff, which paves a choice for those who don't go adventurous in spices.
3. Revisit? Yes, when the time comes :)

For RedCard holder, you are entitled for 30% discount off on total food bill
(only apply to ala-carte menu)

1. RedCard offer not available on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
2. Booking in advance is needed and please mention you are RedCard member.
3. Maximum guests allowed is 4.

Not RedCard member yet?
Grab the RM50 off now when you purchase RedCard annual membership for just RM38 (normal price RM88). How?

1. Fill up the registration form at www.redcard.my/join.php 
2. Enter FOOD (Facebook) exclusively discount code B4817B before sending to process.

A Li Yaa Island Restaurant and Bar
48 G&M, Medan Setia 2,
Plaza Damansara,
Bukit Damansara,
50490 Kuala Lumpur. 
Contact: 603-2092 5378
Website: www.aliyaa.com
Facebook: www.fb.com/aliyaamalaysia 
Operation hours: 12 noon to 12 midnight


  1. Most food are quite new and special to me...
    Wish to try them someday..

  2. Woahhh... thats a big feast! I've nv tried sri lankan cuisine before...

  3. That fish cutlets look really nice. Your food pictures make me drooled. XD

  4. you gt the best photos among all the bloggers =D

  5. The elephant symbol somehow looks familiar, like the one from Flipper :O The food looks good though.

  6. How fun! Looks like a great restaurant!

  7. haha MMU got some Sri Lankan students too! bring them go and ask them if is authentic! =p
    i will give my Sri Lankan fren your link. ;)

    1. think they will customise a little to suit our local taste buds:P

  8. RM6 for Apam, must be bigger and nicer than normal Apam RM 1 for 2 pieces.

  9. hmmm i never knew it was Sri Lankan...*blush*

  10. Nice review! My pick will go to the fish cutlets; look very interesting. Fish, don't forget to pick up your award!

  11. Oh my, this entry has made me drool on my keyboard literally. I love spicy food; Indian and Thai; and now Sri Lankan is something very new to me :D

  12. mmmm, it's amazing how every item looks amazingly delicious! every single one! :D

  13. Oh, the elephant motif...so kawaii!

  14. looks interesting.. I certainly would not mind trying! ;)

  15. they look delicious..how can you remain slim with all that?..hehe


  16. we've passed by this place soo many times already but was wondering whether it's good... thanks to your post, looks like we'll end up here soon!

    thanks for stopping by our blog btw! =)


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