Come on in…

FINALLY…after over two months, Payung Café decided to open its doors and resume business again. Come on in, everybody!

No, I did not rush there right away to enjoy all the dishes that I loved so well but I did have the intention of ordering some of them to takeaway and enjoy eating them at home even though I do feel everything is best eaten on the spot, piping hot from the stove.

As far as I know, they did carry out a thorough disinfecting process prior to reopening and as for social distancing, that place was never really crowded, anyway and the tables are few and far apart – their big tables for six would be just right for four, if you stick to the 2-metre rule and if you have more than four, you can always ask them to join the tables, no problem at all – plenty to go round.

I also heard that they now open at 8.30 a.m. (usually, 9.30-10.00 a.m.) and they do open on Sundays, formerly their off day. Like before, lei cha is served every Friday and they may have it on other days as well, depending on the demand but what caught my attention was their Facebook post last Friday regarding their chicken biryani. Varun, their authentic North Indian chef, did give us a tub when he dropped by our house during Chinese New Year and we loved it, my girl especially. Of course, we could not eat that on our no-meat day, Friday so I reserved sets for three (RM20.00 each) and collected them the next day, Saturday.

When I opened the tub with the rice…

Payung chicken biryani rice

…the overwhelming fragrances of the exotic spices used in the cooking blew me away!

It came with this chicken dish…

Chicken for the biryani rice

…which looked like curry but was not curry. It had its own taste and had a whole lot of cashew nuts in the gravy and yes, it was so very nice!

The chicken biryani came with these two accompaniments…

Shorba & mint chutney

…the shorba and the mint chutney. The former is a nutty vegetarian lentil soup and we all enjoyed it though I was of the feeling that the chicken dish was quite enough to go with the rice.

The ladies loved the mint chutney which was on the sourish side and actually, my missus says she prefers the biryani rice here. I would say they are different – both good in their own ways, my girl said and anytime nicer than those thus named at the Malay shops and stalls. Well, like I always say, to each his or her own!

Yes, all in all, we did enjoy our lunch and there was so much of everything that we had the same for dinner that evening! Of course, if we were to have it there, one look at it…

Payung Cafe's chicken biryani with shorba & mint chutney

…would sweep us off our feet already even before we start eating it. Somehow or other, a lovely presentation does help in making a dish a lot more enjoyable.

I did hear some talk about them having this as a weekend special and yes, that would be very nice – available on Saturdays and maybe, Sundays as well and leave Fridays to those lei cha lovers, present company not included, thank you very much! LOL!!!

PAYUNG CAFÉ (2.284049, 111.833014) is located at No.20F, Lanang Road, Sibu, Malaysia, back to back with the multi-storey car park of the Kingwood Hotel which faces the majestic Rejang River.