This place is seriously popular, and with good reason! We went on a Tuesday night at 6pm which we thought would be a pretty unpopular time to eat out (not that such a time ever really exists in London..) and there was already a 45 minute wait – I dread to think how long people queue at weekends! Note that they’re closed on Sunday and aren’t open all day on weekdays. During the week they open for lunch (12-2.45) and dinner during the week (they open at 5.30pm Mon-Thurs and 5pm on Friday for their dinner shift) and from midday until late on Saturday.
There’s a good system though – you leave your number and are free to wander round or go for a drink (or scope out cake places in our case!) while you wait for a table. They send you a text when your table is ready and hold it for ten minutes while you walk back. I’d definitely recommend requesting a window seat if possible. The restaurant is quite small and as is quite common for London restaurants a lot of the tables are close together and it feels a little like you can’t have a proper conversation and are eating dinner off the next couples laps. There are two window spots for two and it was perfect – a fairly big area (which you’ll need for all the plates of food!) which feels a little more private.
The menu is simply laid out and there isn’t a lot to read but if you’re like me and don’t have much knowledge of Sri Lankan food it definitely requires some translating! Luckily they have a “glossary” which explains the main items on the menu and the difference between them. They have a selection of smaller sides, such as mutton rolls, idli (steamed rice cakes) and rotis with a selection of dips and gravies for dipping. They also have larger dishes such as hoppers (bowl shaped fermented rice and coconut milk pancakes) and dosas, crisp fermented lentil and rice crepes), karis (curries), string hoppers (pancakes made of rice noodles) and roast meat dishes.
We ordered a huge variety of dishes to share as we wanted to try everything and I can’t recommend this enough.
Everything we tried was different and delicious in its own way.. We couldn’t pick a favourite and they all complimented each other perfectly. I wasn’t sure what to expect when we ordered the mutton rolls and it was a last minute decision but I’m so glad we did. They were perfectly crispy filled with tender meat and served with a tangy tomato sauce. The string hoppers were soft rice noodles made into a pancake and served with the most incredible coconut sauce and spiced coconut shreds.
The dosas were thin and crispy and the egg hopper was so light and fluffy. The yolk in the middle was a beautiful deep orange, surrounded by a soft, light rice-based bread. The edges of the hopper were a little thinner and perfect to mop up the curry sauce.
Look at that yolk!! 😀
We went for the chicken Kari. Neither of us are good with spice, it was probably the only thing we ordered that we found a little spicy. It was a tolerable amount of heat though and the flavours and spices were perfect. The meat was so tender, I’d definitely recommend trying some of the other karis! Of course a curry isn’t complete without pilau rice and theirs was done perfectly – long grain rice topped with crunchy cashews and full of flavour.
The roti was a lot smaller than l was expecting but it was so soft and fluffy. I was expecting it to be thinner but it was perfect the way it was. We got a normal one and a coconut one and I think I preferred the coconut one (but I am coconut-obsessed so I might be slightly biased 🙂 ).
It’s tough to pick a favourite dish when the whole meal was this incredible but i think the vegetable kothu possibly just took it for me. Kothu is a Sri Lankan street food dish made with a finely chopped roti cooked with vegetables, meat or seafood. We went for the veggie option – a huge variety of crunchy veg with soft pieces of roti in a delicious curry sauce.. Absolute perfection.
Overall the meal was faultless – good quality food at a very decent price. The service was good too.. It is the kind of place with a quick turnaround as the food comes quickly and all at once – they don’t do starters or desserts so you just order and they bring each item as it’s ready. But the waiters are attentive and brought us several bottles of water without us even having to ask. It’s certainly not the kind of place to sit for hours and have a long relaxing meal, but given the wait is already crazy I’m glad that they operate the way they do! I can’t recommend this place enough, and it’s slightly more unique than other cuisines which have thousands of restaurant options.
Oh.. and to finish off what had been an incredible food day (we’d also been to Goode & Wright, Chin Chin Labs and The Coffee Jar that day, all of which were amazing – reviews to follow.. when I get round to it 🙂 ).. I got to come home to leftovers of the huuuuge batch of tiffin that I’d made 😀
Okay.. just one more picture 😛
Would I recommend it? Definitely
Worth going out of your way for? Yes!
Would I go back? Yep 🙂