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Dubai: Authentic Ceylon eatery lives up to its name and fame

Sri Lankan food is distinct from other cuisines in the Indian subcontinent and is known to be spicy and aromatic



KT photos/M. Sajjad
KT photos/M. Sajjad
by

Hiba Khurram

Published: Sat 26 Mar 2022, 10:33 PM

As we drove all the way from Sharjah to Motor City, Dubai to check out a new spot that’s supposed to be hot on Sri Lankan food. So did it live up to the hype?

Being an island nation, Sri Lankan food is unique from other countries in the Indian subcontinent. The food is known to be spicy, unique, and aromatic, and we wanted to see for ourselves what goes into it all.

We were invited right into the kitchen to see how they get it all together and get a spoonful or two of how the food tastes.

The main aim of this restaurant is to bring Sri Lankan food to all nationalities and this could be one of the main reasons for its location - the Neighbourhood Food Hall (NFH) in Motor City, Dubai where it stands side by side other restaurants serving Japanese, Indian, Sri Lankan and other cuisines.

And it has toned down the spicyness quotient for the less braver palates by offering three levels of hotness to choose from.

The unique thing about this restaurant is that it is completely Lankan - right from the head chef to the server — as it strives to bring the best of Sri Lankan cuisine in terms of flavour and presentation to the shores of Dubai.

How it all started

Authentic Ceylon was born out of individual dreams that found expression during a meet-up between Channa Munasinghe and Ziyan Zain in the first half of 2021. The two joined hands with Sid Sridhar to launch the restaurant on March 1, 2022.

Hailing from the city of Colombo on the west coast of Sri Lanka, Chef Madura is the big boss moving all the cogs in the engine room, bringing the best of Sri Lankan cuisine from the kitchen to your table. With over 32 years of experience, 16 of them in the Middle East, with over 15 of those years in 5-star hotels, Chef Madura’s love and passion for great food and experiences ensure that customers leave with full tummies and even fuller smiles!

As you enter the quaint kitchen, you come across exotic spices and ingredients sourced from the island nation and the UAE. The restaurant sources all its raw materials from the most sustainable farms in the UAE and fly in the exotic ingredients from carefully selected producers from the coastal and mountainous towns and villages of Sri Lanka.

“A lot of the ingredients are also combined to make our own spices, blends, and preparations, before it goes into our dishes, which is why our flavours are unlike any other in Dubai,’’ said Chef Madura.

True to its name, Authentic Ceylon offers some pretty authentic stuff in store. The restaurant has also thrown in some fusion dishes to suit a international palate.

As we set court on our tables and tucked into some delectable Lankan cuisine, here’s what hit our fancy.

What a Start...er

Blue Lagoon prawn wade (Dh35)

Deep-fried crispy lentil patty packed with the flavours of green chilli, shallots, ginger, and curry leaves and topped with scrumptious Blue Lagoon Prawn made for a unique starter. It was served with a sweet chilli sauce that complemented it so well.

Main course 1

Signature kotu with chicken (Dh30)

Godamba roti (diced flatbread ) combined with veggies and accompanied by gravy, aromatic spices and served with flavorful chicken pieces was as delicious as any we have eaten.

Main course 2

Specialty Lamprais (Dh35)

This dish had the most beautiful presentation, carefully crafted by the chef. Flavourful rice wrapped and baked in banana leaf was accompanied by Malay aachcharu, chilli mango, cashew dip, and papad (deep-fried savoury made of black gram bean flour)

Main course 3

Mud crab with Sri Lankan curry (Dh80)

The king of dishes must surely be the mud crab curry! These crabs are found in the lagoons of Sri Lanka, where seawater meets freshwater, an interesting biome that gives the mud crabs their unique texture and flavour. Mix it with signature spices and lovingly crafted by expert chefs, the curry and soft crab meat combined with roast pann (bread with garlic and butter) was a match made in heaven.

Drink

King coconut and passion fruit breeze (Dh18)

This tangy, sweet drink with a hint of salt was refreshing and perfect to wash down the spicy Sri Lankan feast.

Dessert

Wood apple mousse (Dh30)

For dessert we went for the wood apple mousse. A wood apple looks exactly like it sounds — it has a hard, woody shell, with sticky flesh and creamy consistency. The dessert was light and fluffy and had a sweet, sour, and acidic flavor topped with berries and served with vanilla ice cream on the side.

The perfect way to end our meal!

hiba@khaleejtimes.com


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