Curry Leaves: A taste of North India

Saturday, 12 April 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Cheranka Mendis Specialising in North Indian cuisine, Curry Leaves Authentic Indian Restaurant down W.A. Silva Mawatha, Colombo 6 serves over 300 fresh and delicious Indian dishes at affordable prices. In operation since 1998, Curry Leaves offers some of the most popular Indian cuisine – both from North India as well as South India – infused with the traditional spices and flavours, creating a tempting array of delights that are sought after by many Indian food lovers, both from Sri Lanka and abroad. The restaurant, which is decorated with Indian inspired paintings and tableware, can seat up to 90 people at any given time and comes with a Sports Bar on the first floor which can accommodate another 60 persons. The bar, laid out in a typical pub manner with dim lights and small tables, serves a special Indian snack menu which includes the likes of onion pakoda, chicken fire kochchi balls, sizzling tandoori chicken and a fiery dish of pepper mutton. The latter easily stands out as the best. It comes sizzling hot to the table and is a steady infusion of spice and flavour which is sure to whet your appetite for more such delicacies. This is indeed one of the best starters served in a snack menu in Colombo. The restaurant downstairs serves what restaurant Owner Dil Wijemanne refers to as “a truly authentic Indian experience”. With a buffet laid out during the weekends or when a large tour group is coming in for a meal along with an extensive a la carte menu, what is offered here is some of the most popular Indian cuisine, be it vegetarian or non-vegetarian. The Hyderabad biryani is a speciality here, one that most customers come looking for, Wijemanne said. Full of chunky and chewy bits of mutton, the basmati rice is laced with yogurt, onions, spices, lemon, saffron and coriander leaves. To go with this, the best is the tandoori chicken with the mint dip, yet another popular dish at Curry Leaves. Orangey-red, the chicken is delicious and doesn’t even need the dip to truly enjoy it. However the dip adds a refreshing touch to the meat, making every chunk ever more delicious than the one before. We also tried out the Goan prawn curry – a rich concoction of prawns, ginger, chillies and coconut milk. Given the proximity of Goa to the coast, Goan cuisine is often said to be characterised by the use of seafood, and at Curry Leaves this is a dish worth trying out. The curry itself is delicious and is thick and is ideal with naan or other such rotis. Paneer is a personal Indian favourite and here too, it did not disappoint. Despite being a bit sweet than the usual paneer, the dish was heartily welcomed and was appreciated as we broke off more naan to enjoy our meal. A North Indian favourite at the restaurant, the batter fried crab with tamarind sauce is also a must-try. The meat is soft and fused with flavour while the top bit of the shell is crunchy. “This is a lunch time favourite,” Wijemanne added, as we polished off the meal. “The Indian style pepper crab (lagoon crab) is yet another favourite while the fish head curry is a South Indian speciality. Many are amazed that we cook this dish and have commended us for giving the true experience here.” To create this delicious journey, most of the spices and such are especially imported from India, he said. When you’re at Curry Leaves be sure to try out the amberalla juice. It is fresh and absolutely refreshing. The Curry Leaves restaurant also undertakes catering for events (up to 1,000 pax), take away and delivery. The restaurant can also be booked for private functions.