Started off as a humble streetside biriyani joint in Colpetty, the Banana Leaf has now branched out to the suburbs of Maharagama. We dropped in for a late lunch.
Around three years ago, the New Banana Leaf was known as a place where you can get biriyani without breaking your wallet. But now it clocks in at Rs. 600, which is the average price of a biriyani in Colombo, but how good is it in comparison to the others? Well, not very.
The Chicken Biriyani we ordered was a hefty portion that two people could easily fill up on. As you can probably see in this picture, it was a normal rice with a yellowish orange color and not basmati. Tastewise, it was more of a fried rice than a biriyani. We found a few clove and cardamom bits in the mixture, but other than that, the unique fragrance or the flavor of a proper biriyani was nowhere to be found. It came with a full chicken leg, which was cooked with a cocktail of spices. Also, they offer a bunch of side dishes to eat this with – batu moju, gravy, cucumber salad, and Maldive fish sambol.
We didn't expect an authentic Hyderabadi biriyani here – we knew what we were getting into. But for Rs. 600 price tag, it deserves a little more than this.
The Chicken & Prawn Fried Rice (Rs. 510) on the other hand, was superb. It was well-seasoned with a teensy bit chili flakes in it, not crazy-oily, and had a lot of prawn and chicken bits to go with every spoonful.
Out of the curries available, we tried the Fried Mutton with Onion Sauce (Rs. 800). Soaked in a thick, tangy and boasted a rich oniony aroma, it had around 15 deliciously crispy mutton pieces. It wasn't all bad, but the abundance of sauce kinda overpowered the whole meaty flavors of the dish.
As for drinks, we got an Apple Juice (Rs. 180) and a Sweet Lassi (Rs. 200).
The sweet lassi was kinda watered down, so it wasn't thick in texture, neither did it have a rich yogurt-y flavor. Despite the content of sugar in it, we liked the apple juice. It was freshly made from a red apple, so it was naturally sweet, and delicious. But they could've gone a easy on the added sugar.
Service & Ambience
Green colored walls, wooden and steel-back chairs – it pretty much looks like their sister branch. It's a streetside kadey after all, so you can't expect it to be all fancy.
In terms of service, it didn't disappoint. The waiters were quick and knew their way around the menu. Our food took around 15 minutes to arrive.
While their biriyani could use some work, the New Banana Leaf an option if you're around Maharagama and in need of a quick bite.