What we had
Greetings from Kerala
Hotel Nippon opened up with an all-new facelift just a few months ago. We stopped by their brand new eatery, The Bamboo Room for a first look at the place. The Bamboo Room, by principle, is an exclusive South Indian venture specializing in some great Kerala dishes. Some of the dishes offered at the Bamboo Room are one of a kind and can be guaranteed to be found nowhere else in Colombo. They do really pay grace to the claims of authenticity and exclusivity. Although the food was pretty good, the place in conclusion, wasn’t all that impressive.
When we paid a visit to the Bamboo Room, it was only about 2 months after their official opening. At about 8.30 p.m. on a Friday night, we were shocked to see that we were the only ones there. At around 9, two families of in-house guests followed. The restaurants at Hotel Nippon are laid out in a stretch. From their pastry shop, to this, to their bar, you’d find that one door leads to the other.
Service & Ambience
We would have wished for there to be a greater crowd, because our dining experience seemed too lonely. The place was deserted and a little bit of noise and chatter would have done some good. They’ve really tried to render an old school 15th century European vibe with the touch of something that looked like a spaced out checkered floor. The bright hue of red on their cushion seats and their background walls are a bit much, but when paired with their very cultural metal ornaments, depict a true to name Kerala environment.
The waiters though, were seemingly inexperienced. The guy that served us fumbled slightly with the menu. Their delivery in terms of the time the food comes to the table is quite pleasing though. Our meals were all brought in within a 15 minute time frame.
Mains: Varutharacha curry; Chicken – Rs.570, Mutton Brain Burji – Rs.350, Vegetable Kurma – Rs.380, Kozhikode Dum Biriyani – Rs.650 and Parata.
This was a fantastic take on a traditional Varutharacha Kozhi-Chicken Curry. You have the option of either choosing Beef or Mutton, but we chose to go with chicken and we were glad we did. In simple, for those Colombo centric Lankans, the best way to describe this curry is by drawing a parallel of it to a typical “Jaffna” chicken curry. This is because it was loaded with thuna paha and the spices and herbs had made their way right down to the bone of the meat.
I, for one, was dead against even wanting to taste mutton brain. I mean, who would want to eat animal offal for dinner?Not me! But I was shockingly taken aback by how gruesome-less it tasted. Not that the thought of animal offal makes me want to puke, but for the readers sake, I shall explain how good it tasted. It both looked and tasted like a traditional kesel muwa. Seems like a dish that’s pretty difficult to get right, but as a first time consumer of mutton brains, I must say, I am impressed. I also think I need to mention that it’s the first time I’ve seen it on a menu. (If you know of other places around Colombo that serves mutton brains, let us know by commenting below!)
The Vegetable Kurma wasn’t all that impressive. You can say that it was a score for Rs.380, but if you’re looking for a ‘wow’ factor here, you could be knee deep into the dish and still not find it any note-worthy. The Kurma’s got chunks of chickpeas and carrots and is topped with two sparsely diced dried red chili.
Personally, their chicken biriyani topped the list for me. I really liked how flavorful each bite was once you have a bit of it all in a spoonful. Obviously, it was in great contrast to a North Indian biriyani. The chicken, which made the middle layer of the plate of biriyani, was succulent and packed with spice. The massive plate was accompanied with a thick raita and a moderately spicy minchi sambol. The biriyani was also topped with a carefully placed hard-boiled egg and an abundance of fried cashew nuts and onion strips.
Nothing extraordinary about the Parata either though. Ah but I’ve got to say, it was soft as a baby’s bottom!
Have you tried the Bamboo Room yet? Let us know what you think of it in the comments below! Is there anything we’ve missed?
Tip: Don’t call me inhumane, but maybe you should give the mutton brains a try!