Thursday, August 23, 2007

Gopala Vegetarian Restaurant, Brickfields

vegetarian meal at Gopala

As an appreciator of good food, I am quite transparent in my expressions. It doesn't take a genius to figure me out. Savouring that perfect piece of siew yoke (roasted pork), I close my eyes and allow myself to enjoy that experience completely; a raise of the eyebrow signifies that I am astonished that food can taste so heavenly, the widening of my eyes follows the raised eyebrow (for the same reason, obviously), and finally....finally....reverent silence as my senses are enveloped in that one action of popping the siew yoke into my mouth. At the end, there is the last act of inhalation of breath as the aroma and taste intermingle.

And if I don't like what I eat? First, a feeling of uneasiness about why I am still mechanically putting the food into my mouth (because mum said I should never waste food, perhaps?). My face is contorted as I try to mask the pain that I endure as I shovel the food down my throat, and despite all that I do, I am unable to swallow the food. My mouth soon becomes filled with a mish-mash of different types of food, like a cow that constantly chews on grass, but digestion takes forever. My eyes water, as though pleading for the nightmare to stop, but no one is around to pinch me.

vegetarian meal at Gopala

And then there are the times when everything is ho-hum, pretty ordinary, and nothing exceptional.

vegetarian meal at Gopala

My lunch at Gopala Vegetarian Restaurant was somewhat like the final scenario. I was fully aware that the restaurant was a pure vegetarian restaurant, and so my expectations were tuned in to that radiowave. "No garlic and onion," I reminded myself. That was perhaps the most difficult thing for my brain and my tastebuds to reconcile. As I am not, and have never been, a vegetarian, it is hard for me to fully appreciate food that is not prepared with the two ingredients belonging to the allium family that are purportedly detrimental to health, meditation and devotion.

Having said that, my comment on the food at Gopala is more towards the variety and preparation as compared to the actual taste of the food, which I found overly intense in certain areas with one dominant flavour coming through as compared to the blending of several flavours. To put it briefly, the rasam (which is traditionally prepared with garlic as one of the main ingredients) was strangely very hot (as in spicy) but lacked the slightly sour taste which is normally associated with it, while certain vegetables tasted like the chef had a strong liking for chilli powder. It certainly appeared like the chef was attempting to compensate certain flavours by adding in others to a degree of intolerance (to me and my dining companion, at least), which consequently resulted in unpalatable dishes. Of course, I am fully aware that my tastebuds are different from others, and would be interested to know what you think of the food here.

Maybe I am a little upset about the taste of the food after all. :-)

As I was saying, I was more annoyed about the fact that there was a lack of variety. The vegetables, even though they were edible, appeared to be dishes that had been quickly prepared to meet the daily quota. There seemed to be a lack of thought about the combination of dishes for the day. My thali meal consisting of rice and several types of vegetables was very ordinary, to say the least.

vegetarian prawn dish at Gopala

We tried one of the mock meats - mock prawn sambal, which not only had the texture of overcooked prawns, but didn't taste very good either.

Sometimes, looks can be so deceiving.

For dessert, a bowl of payasam was included in the platter. The payasam was not milky at all; the gooey texture seemed to be contributed by the sago and possibly starch. It was also extremely sweet, and it was probably the only time that I was unable to finish my payasam.

vegetarian meal at Gopala silverware at Gopala

And what was good? I liked the moru (diluted yoghurt drink) while the mango lassi was outstanding.

The basic thali meal, priced at RM5 per person was reasonable, but I got better value from the other vegetarian restaurant (although bear in mind that the other one isn't a pure vegetarian restaurant as they use alliums in their cooking). The prawn sambal was RM4.50 for a small serving.

Other reviews:-

The Gastronomic Diary

Gopala Vegetarian Restaurant
No. 59, Jalan Thambipillai, Brickfields, 50470 KL.

Tel: 03-2274 1959

Open 7 days. Business hours: 7.00am to 1.00am


Anonymous said...

Siew yok does a lot to you, huh? :P

Without garlic and onion, how can food taste good? Of course, a few rare cases you could.

Latha said...

The thali looks good even though i believe u completely! :-)
U're right i like my rasam with garlic for sure. There's that flavor that makes it very delicious. Though being half from a Brahmin family i must say that some authentic dishes taste better without the onion and garlic if made right!
Thanks for a great review!

Lyrical Lemongrass said...


LOL. I guess it does. :-P

I'm sure food can taste good without garlic and onion, and it's a matter of maximising on the other ingredients.


Haha...the amazing power of photography, I guess! Thanks for your feedback, by the way. The indian side of me ensured that I had a healthy dose of vegetarian food on a weekly basis while growing up!

MeiyeN said...

we usually have our vegetarian meals @ a chinese restaurant.. wonder if my parents game to give this place a try ;)

Precious Pea said...

Sista, hehe..may i suggest that you form another group called Indian Food Kawan Association ar? IFKA! I willing to go for the interview again! ;)

Anonymous said...

Oh they are not pure vegetarian restaurant?! *gulp* Luckily I haven't bring my mum there yet on her vege day.

Anonymous said...

You should try the vegetarian satay at Gopala's. Its very nice.

backStreetGluttons said...

your generous xtravagant sensory relishes & Xquisitions while those culinary arts descend and transcend and engulf yuo should really be lovingly encripted in some feminine treasures for the pleasures of some liketeam 3 & 4 , dun you think ?

but we also do not ever think mock or whatever imitation scrumps they utmost try to evilly pass off as meats or fish lookalikes can upslurp the real gifts for the nex 1000 yrs, right ? Say y e s ...

Henry Yeo said...

got the latest Iktereu menu?
still interested?

anyway, the migf menus are currently last year's one. probably haven't been updated yet.

Lyrical Lemongrass said...


variety is the spice of life (even if certain spices are missing in this case!). Do give it a try. :-)

precious pea:

too many associations already! LOL! Enuff. Long live the JFKA!! :-P


I suppose this restaurant would fit your mum's requirements.


thanks!! Yes, I've heard so much about the satay and would love to try it someday.

team errr...2?:

Am not a big fan of mock meats. Hopefully our ecosystem will be able to provide us with real meat for the next 1000 years and beyond.

henry yeo:

I'm currently on a budget seeing that my husband is busy squeezing the last dollar outta me. LOL. But would love to see what's Iketeru's monthly special, even if I can't make it for the next two months or so. Thanks!

Rarebeet said...

I think the vegetarian philosophy is "eat to live, not live to eat". Don't think you are really suppose to enjoy or indulge which goes against everything us food bloggers stand for! I'm also not a fan of mock meats.

Lyrical Lemongrass said...


yep, you definitely have a point there! thanks. :-) Not sure if I could abide by that philosophy though. Oh well, to each his own.

wmw said...

Hey, IFKA sounds good actually. I'm still under consideration for JFKA for poor performance. LOL!

daphne said...

oh what a disappointment. the photos look delicious though! So next vegetarian restaurant to try I guess? =)

Big Boys Oven said...

hmmm I am not vegeterian... rather than a beef eater.. so give a skip...LOL!

I was great to have meet you for the first timeyesterday... sorry if I am a bit quiet... a bit shy lar! LOL

Lovely Malaysia Food said...

It is a pity the food is not good but your photo are all very nice. Have you try Saravanabhavan in Bangsar Baru? The vegetarian food there very tasty.

UnkaLeong said...

Man...this is what I miss over here in Bangkok. Looks great!

Bernsy said...

Must go and try this place...eating at Grandcity & Saravana's all the time, I've been waiting for someone to write about brickfields....

BTW do you use Macro lenses for your food photos ? kekekeke....

Lyrical Lemongrass said...


ya fail already lar for JFKA. Okay...IFKA it'll be. hehe.


I already have another vegetarian restaurant up my sleeve. *cackling gleefully*


Nice meeting you too!! Why shy ar?? Your macaroons were lovely, btw. :-)

lovely malaysia food:

yes, I've tried (and reviewed) Saravana Bhavan. Great food there! One of my favourites. :-)


hehe. well, you'll be able to eat all you want when you're back here in KL soon.


Brickfields has got a lot of good food. I've blogged about a number of restaurants in Brickfields already. Do check them out for variety! :-) As for lenses...I'm using a P & S camera...I make do with the lenses that are attached to it. haha. BUT all this will change VERY SOOOON....muahahhaa!!