Sometimes a long pending bookmark & a new cuisine can be such a wonderful experience. It’s like walking into a movie without watching the trailer, every new dish can be a mysterious experience in itself. And at the end of it, you feel that The Force has awakened new flavors in you.
Ayubowan which literally translates to ” Long life” in Sri Lankan parlance, stays true to the ingredients/ preparations which when consumed regularly is a sure mantra for a healthy happy life.
Ambiance: This place stands out with the ample use of dark wood in its setting. It transports you to Sri Lanka with various pictures, elephant sculptures & theme around. It is modern with the open kitchen that you can view as well as traditional elements of a sri lankan household.
Service: The service was Fantastic. We were relatively novice in Sri Lankan cuisine & were guided to select dishes which would give us a well rounded flavor of the country. Our spice tolerance was asked beforehand & food was prepared accordingly. Warm, courteous, smiling staff just made our experience that much more wonderful.
Ambarella Juice: We started with this native fruit juice which wasn’t too sour, a hint of sweetness & a subtle flavor. Good enough to not overpower your palate with any strong flavors.
For the main course we ordered the Hoppers with Chicken Curry & Rice & Curry.
Hoppers: It had 4 regular hoppers ( a semi round crisp pancake with a soft center) & 1 egg hopper that had a bulls eye egg cooked in the center. The hoppers were perfect with the chicken curry which wasn’t too spicy with soft well cooked chicken.
The Fish Curry with Rice was served with an entire array of sri lankan specialties.
Beetroot was tempered & prepared in a savory preparation without any overpowering spices.
Highlight of the night was the Cashew & green peas prepared with a little bit of turmeric in coconut milk. The cashews were soft, yet had a bite to it & the mildness of the spices around it made it a winner dish.
Brinjal pickle: A sweet brinjal preparation was a different burst of flavor never expected from it.
Sambal: A dry coconut mixed with crushed red chillies & a sprinkling of salt added the zing to the food.
Even the small grained rice was tempered with cloves & curry leaves.
Fish Ambuthiyal: This was served complimentary & was sri lankan version of a pickled fish. The flavors of mackerel were intensified by the sour pickling, recommended only for fish lovers.
We finished the dinner with Pancakes which were stuffed with honey & coconut with a serve of ice cream on the side. The pancakes were a little chewy otherwise the filling was right amount of sweetness.
Sri Lankan cuisine is famous for its exploding spices but what we ended up was a very rounded meal with all flavors without being too fiery on the palate.
Pricing: 130 Dhs for a meal for 2. Very reasonably priced for the array of food.
Final Verdict: If this place is a reflection of Sri Lankan food, then we need to visit Sri Lanka very soon. Till then, Ayubowan will be the place for us.