The “Sri Lankan Safari” at Pondichéry Café, Sofitel Mumbai BKC, has such an interesting array of Sri Lankan rustic food. The festival which started since 1st March, culminates today (10th March, 2019). The talented chefs W. Sumith Ranjan Kularathna and Gayan Tharanga Hettiarachchi from Mӧvenpick Hotel Colombo, Sri Lanka, have curated the menu, and these dishes are a part of the Pondichéry Café lunch and dinner buffets.
The cuisine of Sri Lanka is almost 2,500-year old and is primarily influenced by India and adjacent South-East Asian countries. Sri Lankan food is all about celebrating aromatic spices, and splendidly depicts the culture of this region that can be enjoyed by all food connoisseurs in Mumbai. Among all the Sri Lankan food offerings, the vegetarian dishes and the seafood are the highlights of this festival. The talented chefs curated authentic dishes such as such as Curry Roasted Chicken, Fish Devilled, Hoppers, Pandan Rice, Ranawara, Polpala, Aasmee, Vegetable Kothu, Watalappan, Lotus Root Curry, and more. All the ingredients used to prepare the dishes are freshly sourced to bring out the most original flavours.
The ambience at Pondichéry Café is beautiful with colourful masks, men dressed in traditional attire and quality ingredients sourced from Sri Lanka, on display. The food, displayed in earthen pots, is medium-spicy. The vegetarian dishes have a good variety. The non-vegetarian dishes are very flavourful here, especially the seafood. Here is the photo journey of what all we ate at the festival. The festival culminates today (10th March, 2019).
We started off with Polpala tea, a medicinal drink which cleanses the kidneys and reduces fatigue. This was followed by some delicious Pittu with a coconut-milk-based smooth and creamy curry. I liked the Sweet Potato Curry, cooked with mustard seeds, curry leaves and onion. It was simple, but the flavours were perfect.
The Dhal and Snake Gourd Curry was cooked with lentils, but the vegetables were quite raw according to my taste. We had these dishes with their traditional yellow rice (Tempered Rice).
The Kekri Kaduphul is a preparation of Kiew Kampol cooked with Sri Lankan spices. Kiew Kampol is similar to the pumpkin that we eat in India.
The accompaniments were bang-on. I couldn’t stop myself from taking a second helping of the Pol Sambal, which was made with freshly grated coconut, tomato and chillies. The Lunumiris, similar to a spicy tomato salsa, offered freshness to the palate. Even the pickles quite interesting!
For the healthy-eaters, dishes like Tempered Chickpeas and Coconut and Beans Mullam were good options. Seafood Patties, or crisp-fried prawns went well with Lunumiris.
In the main course, we started off with some Chicken Pepper Curry accompanied with Tempered Rice. The dish was quite tasty, only that it could have been more peppery. Ditto with Mutton Coconut Curry: very comforting and wonderfully cooked succulent mutton could have been even better if the spice level was amped up a bit.
But the dish that blew off our mind was this amazing Crab Curry with Moringa Leaves. The dish was cooked in a coconut-milk base and moringa leaves added its bit of imparting medicinal value to such a nice dish. I am truly inspired by this dish and can’t wait to recreate this in my own kitchen. The crabs were meaty and had everything to make our dinner a memorable one!
The friendly Chef offered to taste three dishes separately. One was the Sri Lankan sweet called Asmee made with rice flour and sprinkled with a red-coloured sugar syrup. The dish is mildly sweet, light and web-like: something like Roti Jaala, but this one is very crisp. Other unique dishes were Kevum, Kokis and Aluwa. We loved the Kevum, something similar to the Gujiya or Karanjifound in Northern/Western India and Mugshamuli in Kolkata, but the stuffing of Kevum is quite dark and tasted very different. We enjoyed this totally.
The Kokis is something I am very familiar with, as this deep-fried flower-shaped beauty is a common snack-cum-dessert in many Indian households. The Kokis served in the Sri Lankan Food Festival is more savoury than sweet, but tasted great. The Aluwa, on the other hand, is a brittle, dry sweet made with rice flour and plenty of sugar: something that I never tasted before.
The Sri Lankan Food Festival is a teaser and an eye-opener to flavourful Sri Lankan cuisine, which has so much to offer! Such food festivals open up our palate to new flavours, new ingredients and unexplored cultures. Thanks, Sofitel Mumbai, for such an amazing food festival. Looking forward to more!
Time: Lunch- 12pm to 3pm
Dinner- 7 pm to 11.30 pm
Date: 1st to 10th March 2019
Reservation: +91 (22) 6117 5115 / 5116
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