What we had
POYA DAY FEAST !
In honour of poya days the Ramada has a vegetarian buffet for anyone who wishes to keep with tradition and not partake in the consumption of meat. Located at their Gardenia coffee shop you can enjoy an array of fully vegetarian dishes and ice cold juices made from local fruit, the price you pay for the buffet, LKR 2000 (nett) also includes access to their swimming pool.
The buffet offered an array of fresh juices made from local fruits , cold and not too sweet, these were perfect to refresh you during the midday heat.
This being my first time ever trying hog apple it had an earthy taste (which wasn’t all bad)with a mild underlying sweetness, it tasted healthy but not unpleasant.
This was just a little watery and lacked that nice citrusy punch naarang usually provides.
Whilst you could distinctly taste that this was starfruit this again was just a tad watery.
Again like the previous two juices this tasted quite watered down – I’m going to venture a guess and attribute the recurring theme of watery juices to the ice in them melting down thus diluting their taste.
The passion fruit juice was tart, and will make your lips pucker though not in an unpleasant way, it had the strongest flavour out of all and was my favourite.
On plate : paw paw salad , chickpea salad, cucumber salad, carrot salad, gotukola salad, pineapple salad.
Paw paw salad
Fresh, spicy and tangy, the salad had tons of garlic and onions mixed in. However, the raw papaya wasn’t entirely the best of the crop as it lacked flavour.
Well spiced enough that it left your tongue tingling and hearty from the chickpeas, this salad was good but not exactly something to write home about.
Fresh and cooling, the salad could have used a little more salt and lime but other than that it was pleasant.
The salad was zesty with hints of lime shining through, which worked well with the coconut and raw onion mixed in. The freshness and crunchiness of the salad was really well received by everyone.
The salad was herbaceous, earthy and fresh but lacked a balance in seasoning. It needed a little more lime, but other than that it had all the makings of the perfect rice and curry side dish. The gotukola was exceptionally fresh and a deep dark green.
Perfectly balancing sweet, sour, and salty , this was a winner for me. It was seasoned beautifully with salt, lime and freshly cracked black pepper that went well with the tomato and pineapples.
On plate: Fried Kohila salad, cutlet, bandaka salad, snake gourd salad, bitter gourd (karawila), mogul salad
Fried Bitter Gourd Salad
The bitterness of the bitter gourd could have been toned down if more lime or salt was used. However it was well seasoned and the accompaniments were fresh .
Fried Ladies’ Fingers Salad
The dish was well balanced and the lady fingers were well fried and crispy and seasoned really well. It was one of the better salads.
Refreshing, light and fruity due to the pineapple and cucumber, this salad walked the line of salty, citrusy and sweet perfectly.
Snake Gourd Salad
This salad was lovely because the gourd was fresh and crunchy and had tons of flavour and texture to it, especially with the addition of coconut flakes. The only fault was that it was a tad too peppery.
Kohila Root Fried Salad
This was beautifully fried , and tasted almost like french fries , with sharp hits of lime , and fresh slices of onion in the dish, this salad was definitely one of the favourites.
This soup was warm and hearty – well spiced with the flavours of mustard and curry really shining through. Texturally it was thick and warming, which would be perfect for a rainy, cold day. Though this dish is usually made with chicken you really didn’t miss the chicken here, it was seemingly substituted with lentils which gave it depth and earthiness. All in all the soup wasn’t overly vegetal and had a very full savoury flavour.
On plate: Pumpkin black curry, kale mallum, pol roti, cashew and green pea curry, jeela pilaf, mukunuwanna samaga parippu.
Pumpkin Black Curry
By far the best of the curries, the pumpkin was exceptionally soft and sweet, and the gravy was amazing. Almost masala-like, it was rich and creamy with underlying notes of toasted spices and a mild peppery heat.
Bitter, light, fresh and mixed with fresh coconut, this paired fantastically with the sweet creamy pumpkin black curry.
Coconut (Pol) Roti
The coconut roti was floury and dense, almost rock solid.
Cashew and Green Pea Curry
This curry was almost sweet with a distant taste of honey, it was a thinner curry than the pumpkin , but the cashews were soft with a bit of a bite, and the fresh peas provided a sweet pop of flavour with every mouthful.
Fluffy and delicious rice that tasted buttery and had a smattering of fried caramelized onions and cumin seeds mixed into it.
Mukunuwanna Samaga Parippu
The combination of roasted lentils with the leaves was quite innovative. This dish was quite spicy however, due to the copious amounts of chilli flakes that were present.
On plate: vegetable biryani, manioc curry, tempered thibbatu , batu moju, pineapple curry , soya curry.
Aromatic and well seasoned, the vegetable biryani was complex, flavourful and a meal all on its own. Cleary cooked with some ghee, it had a nutty, buttery taste, that had you reaching for more after every bite.
Soft and extremely creamy, this is manioc curry was madness, it was somehow mild yet incredibly flavourful at the same time, and the manioc melted in your mouth almost immediately.
With every bite of this dish you got the satisfying pop of the thibbatu, melded in with the slight spice and caramelised aromatics making it a fun dish.
Thick, sticky, and mixed in with what seemed to be a mango chutney the brinjal moju was fantastic. The brinjals was perfectly fried and soft, but not soaked in oil. It paired fantastically with the biryani and curries.
Soya Meat Curry
The coconut milk rich gravy really elevated this dish to new heights! From the mild spiciness that bit my tongue, to the deep roasted curry powder flavour, this curry was delicious. The soya itself being really tasty and savoury, I would actually happily eat this any time of the month in place of a meat dish.
A bit on the spicy side, the pineapple was still crunchy and juicy making it another perfect pairing with the biriyani.
On Plate: Hari bhari sabzi, naan, aloo gobi, paneer makhani, paneer pasanda
Hari Bhari Sabzi
Made from peas , carrots , spinach and fenugreek, the dish was almost like a really creamy spinach curry. If you’re eager to eat more spinach or try to get your kids to like spinach, this would be a good place to start.
Kept warm in the clay pots, the naan was toasty, and smokey. The texture of the bread was soft but it still had a welcome chewiness to it , and was the perfect tool to scoop up the curries that we got to accompany it.
Aloo Gobi ( potato and cauliflower)
Unctuous and finger licking good , this is one of my favourite aloo gobi’s- the potato was soft, but not mushy, and the cauliflower still had a bite to it. Oily, slightly spicy and tangy the dish was a winner
We were all really excited for this! Usually paneer makhani is slightly sweet and buttery and creamy but here unfortunately all we could taste was cumin, however the gravy was velvety and smooth.
Though not entirely a traditional paneer pasanda this dish, was made for cheese lovers. Essentially just crispy fried paneer drenched in what was a smooth, creamy cashew (almost makhani like) cheese sauce – every bite was heaven.
The buffet also sports an action station with hoppers and dosai’s coming fresh from the stove to your table – paired with a variety of local sides like seeni sambol , katta sambol, coriander chutney , tomato chutney and a variety of assorted pickles.
On Plate: Carrot Pudding, Kheer, Jaggery Pudding, Chocolate Biscuit Pudding
A bright orange-y yellow and mixed in with raisins and sago, it was sweet and soft with a little bite from the carrots. Slightly aromatic, and milky, you can’t really tell right away that it’s carrot and once you realise it, you actually don’t mind.
A milky spiced Indian rice pudding that was a bright eye catching orange, The delicious, sweet, warm, and gloriously milky Kheer was perfumed with saffron, cardamom, nuts and rose water.
Silky, sticky and soft the pudding was rich, sweet, and nutty, with flavours of coconut, cardamom,nutmeg and star anise.
Chocolate Biscuit Pudding
This wasn’t the best chocolate biscuit pudding I’ve ever had, the texture of the buttercream was a little gritty , but it wasn’t overly sweet or soggy as some chocolate biscuit puddings tend to be.
Sri Lankan Desserts
On Plate: bibbikkam , pani walalu, pol toffee, aluwa, seeni murukku, munguli
The selection of local desserts and sweets reminded me of an Avurudu spread; Everything was colourful and bright, and boy were they all sweet – you are most definitely in for a sugar high for the next few hours.
The milk toffee was a tad hard but once you got a nice chunk it melted on your tongue and was milky, but the best of the lot was the bibbikkam which was soft and chewy.
Served in a martini glass (which made for great presentation) this trifle was okay but not the best , the custard was a tad eggy , but with the fruit and jelly the egginess quickly dissipated.
This was by far the superstar of the dessert table, with two different sago flavours, you got creamy and chocolatey all in one. The chocolate though light in colour was deep and dark in flavour and the sago was also well cooked and not mushy at all as some sago puddings can get.
Ambience and Service
The restaurant has an entire wall that is made from glass that opens out to the view of the pool and garden which allows plenty of natural light to illuminate the restaurant. The whole dining area was bright and with a full view of a well kept garden the ambiance was fresh.
The staff are very attentive and seem to know their menu items very well.
Tip – That pumpkin black curry was the best curry I’ve ever had , and I’m going back next month for it.