What we had
A truly Sri Lankan culinary experience
(Rates- Lunch: Rs. 1500 net| Dinner: Rs. 2900 net)
Fun fact: Above their live action stations are 4 uluhawu (window frames) that look distinctly different to one another. Apparently in Sri Lanka, window frames from the north are different to the south etc., and these 4 frames depict 4 regions in the country.
Thuna Paha is the latest addition to the Water’s Edge colony of fine dining adventures. It has been up and running since March and we dropped in to have ourselves an authentic Sri Lankan experience. First of all, the beautiful setting of the restaurant gives it such a “resort” lift; it looks absolutely surreal! The property is surrounded by a pool of water (like a moat) and a bridge leads you to the warm welcomes at the entrance to the restaurant. We were super eager to try their buffet out because we were told that instead of physically having to go serve food yourself, the food ‘comes to you’ at Thuna Paha.
The inspiration behind this concept at Thuna Paha was the age old tradition of the wives of Sri Lankan farmers bringing their husbands the ambula to the paddy fields. The ambula is basically a woven basket carrying the rice and curries for lunch. Waitresses dressed in traditional lungis bring this ambula to your table consisting of 2 ways of rice and 10 curries to the tune of Mohideen Beg’s ‘Tikiri Manike Ambula Genalla’. Yes, every time, to every table, they walk to the tune of this. And just like some super hungry govi raala’s we sat down to devour this feast.
Island Mojito – Rs. 450
This mojito is to die for. The flavours were confusing to identify, but they work so well together. Perfect cut of alcohol and it was a great pick-me-up. You’ve been warned, in the Island Mojito, the straw-like piece of vegetable in it isn’t a straw FYI.
Arrack Hot Shot – Rs. 500
The Arrack Hot Shot was something I was particularly excited to try out since the minute I read it on the menu, and that was because it felt pretty bad-ass to have a shot of arrack with the yet to come, Sri Lankan buffet. I expected it to be a shot or at least for it to be served in a short arrack glass or so, but it more of a feminine looking arrack-passion concoction. It wasn’t only just how it looked that was a disappointment, the fact that it was on the lighter end of a cocktail made us very unhappy. Not something we’d pick again.
Thunapaha Sunrise – Rs.500
The Thuna Paha Sunrise, what a name; straight outta Tequila Sunrise. This concoction had the perfect balance of liquor and citrus from the orange. This drink brought it a pop of colour and looked like a rainbow in a glass.
Arrack Sour- Rs.350
The Arrack Sour was yet another drink that got the excitement in our nerves to tingle. We were again, very eager to try this drink out. Sadly, it was a bummer and both “arrack” cocktails were let downs. In the case of the Arrack Sour, it felt like they left the alcohol in the kitchen and served the drink a virgin.
Fried Capsicum, Fish Cutlets, Kadala Thèl Daala and Manioc Chips
Behold ~ royal feast
The appetizer platter was top notch. Let’s get down to the details one by one.
The Fried Capsicum was pretty yummy. This was basically stuffed capsicum coated with breadcrumbs and fried till golden brown. The only suggestion we had was to reduce the amount of stuffing in the capsicum so that the taste of the skin of the capsicum heroes better.
Next were the heavenly fish cutlets. Fish cutlets are a staple in a Sri Lankan household and these were nothing short of being packed with flavour.
The Kadala Thèl Daala was another dish that really has our mouths salivating for more. Another Sri Lankan breakfast/street snack favourite, the kadala was boiled till it is soft enough to be tempered in some dry red chilies and onions. Spicy, yes, but the spice was what gave this dish its flair; the breakfast of champions.
As you’ve already probably noticed, I saved the best for the last. The manioc chips were the crispiest chips we’ve ever had! Greasy- yes, but this would definitely qualify for some great comfort food. You can munch on them forever, an absolute treat.
As explained earlier, the mains were the rice and curries the “Tikiri manikes” brought to our table in a big woven basket; traditionally known as an ambula. This ambula was your spread. There were two types of rice, and 10 different curries. These curries also included lankan favourite add-ons like fried karawala and chutney. Here’s what we loved the most. I think what absolutely stood out for us what the super yummy mutton curry. That black curry was nothing short of being spot on. The aroma of ground spices wafted in the air as the lid of this curry was lifted. We couldn’t control ourselves from eating more and more. Next, was the superb ambul thiyal. Ambul thiyal is also a black curry version of fish. Black curries are very famous amongst Sri Lankan villagers. Honorary mentions are also the chicken curry, the polos and the surprisingly fresh prawn curry.
In addition to the two types of rice served to you, you have the possibility of walking up to 3 live action stations onto the left of the dining area and serving yourself Sri Lankan classics like appa, rotti, indiyappa, pittu, kottu and roast paan. Oh, and the roast paan shelf also had some super yummy gnanakatha biscuits. Seriously, how more “Sri Lankan” can this place even get?
The dessert platter we got was the absolute cutest and it had a range of authentic Sri Lankan delicacies. A fruit platter, enough for two, was towered with half a plantain, watermelon, waraka, star fruit, pomegranate, pineapples and mangoes. Curd and treacle sat on the side with some sweet pol cake. Diagonal cubes of pol toffee, milk toffee and thala kerali were also items in the dessert platter.
After devouring these rare finds, we were greeted by the experience of yaara thei. This method of tea pouring is one that is followed by tea makers in the wayside kade’s where they pour the tea from a height and upon pouring it, the froth builds up and there you have a delicious cup of tea.
Have you been to Thuna Paha at The Water’s Edge yet? Let us know what you think of it in the comments below! Is there anything we’ve missed? Since we thought that only a piece of writing wouldn’t do justice to this truly authentic experience, we decided to give you a visual one. Click here to watch our video reviewing Thuna Paha at The Water’s Edge, Battaramulla.
Tip: Thuna Paha is the perfect place to take your friends visiting Sri Lanka on vacation. It is not only the truly authentic food that will impress them, but scheduled performances of Sri Lankan folklore and cultural entertainment items will give them a truly holistic experience of the country, in just one night.