There’s so much more to Sri Lanka than its pristine beaches and tea – from delectable coconut curries and rice to a wide variety of seafood to choose from.

It's about time Sri Lankan cuisine earned its own independent reputation, especially since has its own distinctive taste and flavours that are too good to be ignored. Rice, curry and coconut delicacies make for the central feature of this beautiful country’s traditional flavours that characteristically help defines the land.

If Sri Lanka has already been sold to you, worry not if you can’t make it any time soon to this dreamy destination. Treat your taste buds to the island of spices as you sample the culinary specialities at The Westin Garden City, Mumbai. The 10-day Sri Lankan Food Festival showcasing some of Chef Hemal Shashika’s (from Weligama Bay Marriott Resort & Spa, Sri Lanka) signature dishes adds to the true spirit of Sri Lanka that will continue until April 30, 2018. We know where we’re feasting at this weekend!

What’s hot

We set forth on a Sri Lankan journey with some refreshing cocktails – The Colombo Breeze, a concoction of Bacardi, fresh coconut water, curry leaves and with a dash of fresh lime. This strong, refreshing, and slightly sweet drink that goes down far too easily in Sri Lanka's humid climate was a hit on almost every table. Jumping to the main course, each dish offered up delicious aromas making the whole place smell amazing.

We Indians take our rice seriously, and so do the Sri Lankans. Steamed Basmati rice, with an added touch of saffron, was the first to make it on our plates. Next came the Negambo Style Prawn Curry, a black prawn curry cooked with roasted curry powder and spices from Negambo, a city in Sri Lanka. This curry thickened with coconut milk is made with some traditional Sri Lankan spices and harboured more of a South Indian influence, if not Goan. Bursting with spices and strong flavours, this curry is perfect for the Indian palate given their love affair with spices and chillies. Then came the Sri Lankan Chicken Curry (Kukul Maas Curry), cooked in authentic curry powder, which made us want to ditch the cutlery and eat in the pure desi Indian style – with our fingers and lick the plate clean. And not to forget the crisp Idiyappam, which went well with the chicken and fish curries.


Image courtesy: The Westin, Mumbai 

What’s not

A personal fan of faloodas, The Falooda made with Homemade rose syrup, chia seeds, vermicelli and milk didn’t quite stand out. Too sweet and similar, the rose falooda was a true disappointment. The Spiced Ceylon Iced Tea, a Sri Lankan tea with fresh coriander, cardamom and ginger wasn’t worth the brain freeze. According to Chef Hemal, jackfruit is a seasonal fruit, loved by most of the Sri Lankans and typically found in a variety of dishes. While the young jackfruit (polos) did manage to add a ‘meaty’ texture to the spicy curry cooked in coconut milk, the curry didn’t leave much of an impression on us.


Image courtesy: Sohail Joshi 


What’s sweet

Sri Lanka is a land well known for its sweets and desserts, thanks to their choice of exotic spices and natural sweeteners such as jaggery and treacle. While typically desserts are served as part of main meals, sometimes they are also served over chai. Made with ragi flour, brown sugar and grated coconut the Halapa is a traditional dessert that came wrapped in Kanda leaves and were steamed to perfection. Soft, sweet and highly nutritious, this dessert was hands down the champion of the night. Lavariya, a sweet dumpling made from rice flour with coconut stuffing, helped us complete our Sri Lankan food adventure on a sweet note.



Image courtesy: The Westin, Mumbai 

Where: Goregaon East, International Business Park, Oberoi Garden City, Mumbai

Wallet Alert: Buffet Lunch at INR 1850/- (plus taxes)

Buffet Dinner at INR 2350/- (plus taxes)

Sunday Brunch with liquor at INR 2950/- (plus taxes) and without liquor at INR 2400/- (plus taxes)


Cover picture by Sohail Joshi 

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