Ceylonta

Sorry, no images for this restaurant as the lighting was too dark for me to get any good shots of the food.

Doing some research, the best thing apparently was to let the waitress help you make your order, and as my dining partner never had indian food before and I’ve never had Sri Lankan food before, we decided to let her choose our dishes so that we could get a true taste of Sri Lankan cuisine.  She suggested the ulunthu vadai and the kadali vadai as starters. the ulunthu vadai was like a savory spiced donut, with a mealy consistency served with a side of coconut chutney.  The flavor was spiced, but not in a good way.  Despite the different flavor, both the ulunthu vadai, a fried lentil patty, and the kadali vadai were bland and undistinguished.  They were simply fried pieces of dough.  First bites were pretty non descript, but the flavor, intensified by the time I finished eating it, so it was better as I ate through it (but why should I have to wait until the last bite?).  Then came the vegetable thali, which came with about 8 different vegetable sides.  We ordered a piece of naan bread to go with it.  The naan was more of a hard biscuit type of flat bread rather than the soft moist Indian naan I am typically used to.  It was thick and had a crunchy toasted exterior which made it good to scoop up the vegetable curries with but not as well as indian naan would have done.  Out of the dishes in the thaali, my favorites were the green beans, the spinach and the creamed lentils.  These were only good though, the rest being pretty average.  The deviled chicken was probably one of the best dishes of the evening, but it wasn’t amazing, just better than the previous dishes.  It was almost like a Hoisin sauce flavored chicken, very strong chinese influences present.  The last dish was the shrimp curry, with a sweet curry coconut sauce and a LOT of good sized shrimp.  It came with a bowl of steamed rice and pappadum (thin fried piece of flattened dough, almost like a cracker).  I personally loved this dish.  The steamed rice was more of a mashed consistency, that went surprisingly well with the curry. When mixing the two, it was like eating a stew.  The shrimp was cooked well an the flavoring for the dish was well rounded. For our beverages, we went with her suggestion of salty lassi, which is a traditional sri lankan drink, made of yogurt, salt, chili, and a whole list of other spices of which I can’t recall.  My dining partner could only get through a couple of sips, and I couldn’t get past half of the cup.  It was a completely different experience, I’ve never had anything like it before.  The best way I can describe it would be like drinking a nacho sour cream/salsa/guacamole dip.  I guess its good for putting out those curry fires, but as an accompaniment to a meal, not so much.

The meal came to a total of a little less than $70 with tax and tip.  Overall more misses than hits, and for this price, there are many more better places to go.  I can’t comment on the authenticity as this is the first time I’ve had Sri Lankan, but this will be the last time I go there.   The prices are a bit steep for the quantity and quality that you get.  But the service was excellent, and the waitress did everything she could to satisfy our requests and went above and beyond what I normally expect from a waitress.

403 Somerset St West

Ottawa

www.ceylonta.com

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