The dinner turned out even better than I had expected. The condiments? Check. He had four types of dry fish chips, the sambals, especially the fiery, but much loved Pol Sambal, a simple but heady mix of coconut and chilly. A spoonful of each and I was transported back to Colombo. But what was amazing was the way he took us through dinner. Being a part of the buffet can dilute this, but while the festival is on, simply ask the chef to send the right things to you from the buffet and he does a great job of it. And you get to see him making his artistic appams with precision!
We stared off with three starters, a crunchy fried snack with coriander, a chicken puff and shredded chicken with tiny breads. Yep, all great, but the hero was the appam. He smells the pot, a few times, feels it with his fingers and when he thinks it is ready for him, he pours the batter and magically tilts it multiple times to create the flowery appams. Served with the classic Seeni Sambal and Pol Sambal, the appams glide their way into my top 5 food festivals of this year! He then suggests we try Kothu Parota, which we are happy to and finish off with a small serving of rice and curry, the almost staple Sri Lankan comfort food.
When you thought he was done, the dessert platter arrives with the classics, a coconut burfi that you find in most bakeries all over the tiny island nation, the jaggery laden pudding vatalappam, the Muscoth Halwa and new dish that I've not had before.
I was looking forward to Kri Pani, a dish made with curd in earthen pots loaded with coconut treacle. The chef couldn't the get the curd he wanted, but he said he was going to try, so maybe it has found its way into the menu.
This festival belongs to this flamboyant chef, who instead of creative plating and visual orgasm, lets his culinary skills do all the talking! And for him alone, the Rs. 1800 plus tax is worth it. If you've never had the cuisine before, you're going to love the similar-yet-dissimilarity, if you've had it before, it will be dejavu!
On till the 24th of July.