A relatively large maroon coloured building by the side of the Thalawathugoda road, Ajith Food Center is a known spot among the residents in the area.
The building is pretty big, so it's practically impossible to miss. But, if you happen to get lost, please note that it's walking distance to the Keells.
With an entire ground floor dedicated to takeout, Ajith Food Center has a basement that's made solely for customers who choose to dine in. And while the space itself was quite neat with enough seating to seat more than 2 dozen people without batting an eyelash, it had a distinct hospital vibe to it that came from the fact that there was no direct sunlight anywhere and a bizarre chemical smell that's probably something like Pinol.
But don't worry, your body tends to adapt to it after some time so give or take 10 minutes before you to become a part of the smell as well.
In terms of food, Ajith Food Center is pretty much a crackerjack of everything. From rice and curry to nasi goreng to short eats to string hoppers, kottu and a whole bunch of other stuff, they do it like every other restaurant of its standing.
Given how we dropped in around lunch, we decided to opt more for the rice and curry style options.
Placed on a fluffy bed of perfectly cooked and salted white rice, the Fish Rice & Curry (Rs. 200) had 5 curries in it. It's more of a default setting, so you don't get to pick what curries you want.
Smothered in spice, the piece of fish was slightly tough and had enough going on to make you cry, literally. With a serving of tempered radish that followed suit, we looked for relief in the super creamy beans curry. Hands down one of the nicest beans curries we've had in a while, it was good enough to make me, a hater of beans finish the whole serving even after there was no rice left.
With lots of grated coconut involved, the carrot sambol wasn't all that bad. Slightly tangy with bits of pepper dotting the scene, we thought it wasn't too shabby. But, what really stole the show (after the beans) was the mallung. Perfectly seasoned, it accompanied everything quite well.
Then came the Chicken Biriyani (Rs. 450). Featuring a mammoth piece of deep-fried chicken, the biriyani itself was hella salty. Now, the food at Ajith Food Center is compared to normal food, is quite salty.
With bits of curry leaves and such pulling through better than any other herbs they had included, it was alright. Plus, when you mix the minchi sambol, the salad and the egg to the rice, the saltiness of it isn't as bad as you'd imagine.
Pictured Above: Nasi Goreng and EGB
The Nasi Goreng (Rs. 450) was what came instead of the Fried Rice we ordered. Shrugging it off, we dug in and were immediately doused into an impeccable sense of sadness. The rice which was tossed in bits of chilli and spring onions was completely and utterly smothered in oil. With very little amounts of seasoning involved, we weren't impressed. Even the serving of chicken wasn't good enough to salvage the mess that was the Nasi.
We realise how bitter we sound, but we can't really help it. We chose the Fried Rice in a deliberate attempt of straying away from the nasi and after getting a mix-up, getting a serving of rice that has more oil than the Middle East isn't the ideal situation we would have liked to be in. Plus, unlike what nasi-goreng is supposed to be, this was horrendously bland. Sigh.
We ended up getting a serving of their Devilled Pork (Rs. 720) for kicks and weren't too disappointed by it. Comprising of mainly pieces of batter-fried pieces of fat, the pork was smothered in sauce and oil and seemed to be something that would work well as a bite instead of with rice and such. Peppery, salty and having a slight buzz from the acidity of the tomato, it wasn't bad.
The staff muddled up our order a couple of times. We initially got a Chicken Rice & Curry instead of the Fish Rice & Curry we ordered, and they weren't quite friendly when we asked to get it swapped. And there was the case with the Nasi Goreng and Fried Rice.
But aside from that they were quite nice and managed to serve up our food within 10 minutes of placing our order.
Ajith Food Center is not a bad place to get food from. A tad on the salty side of things, the food is adequately priced and you tend to get your money's worth on things. But please, stay away from the Nasi Goreng.