One of the long-standing establishments for Indian fare, the Elite Indian Restaurant has been branching out for the past couple of years under a new name – Elite Family Restaurant. The newest one of this throng lies in Pelawatte, and it's already a favourite of many. The food here is heaps better in comparison to Elite Indian, and is hella wallet-friendly as usual.
A major part of the menu is dedicated to Indian food, both veg and non-veg, while the rest includes a few Chinese dishes – fried rice, hot butter cuttlefish and the likes.
Elite's biriyanis have always been mediocre at best, and it was no exception this time as well. They don't cook the meat with rice, but instead, they serve it on the side. The Mutton Biriyani (Rs. 650) had fluffy basmati infused with spices, which gave it a good flavour, but it wasn't quite biriyani-like. A toned-down version of biriyani, we must say, but it was a generous portion, nonetheless.
The mutton gravy had strong kicks of masala seeping through, so it's quite unfortunate that we couldn't get the same taste from the meat. Chewy but not fatty, the meat didn't seem to have absorbed the spices. Letting it cook for a longer period should have fixed it though.
The gravy savouries up the rice, while the pickle adds a little bit of sweetness. A tad dry, but not overly so, the green chutney was all right as well.
We're quite happy with the Chettinad Prawn Masala (Rs. 750), in terms of flavour, texture and portion size. Boasting a fine, red hue, it was gushed with spices, and had about fifteen fat, deshelled prawns, cooked to perfection in a rich, creamy gravy. There was a nice balance between sweet and spicy elements, and a lot of masala taste. We scooped up everything in our Chettinad Prawn Masala with a couple of naans – Paneer Naan (Rs. 140) and Garlic Naan (Rs. 120). Both were good – crispy, warm, and delivered the promised flavours. Our favourite was the Paneer Naan, which had lots and lots of smashed up paneer in its entire inner surface.
For Rs. 300, the side of Tandoori Chicken we ordered didn't disappoint. The chicken was a little boney, but flavour-wise, it was well seasoned and smoky.
This Faluda (Rs. 180) is the pinnacle of refreshment. It's sweet, obviously, but in a good way, and the scoop of vanilla ice cream doubles the refreshing quality. All the syrup is in the bottom, so stir it up well before drinking.
Elite does some good Sweet Lassi (Rs. 200) too, which they make with curd and not yoghurt.
Well, if you've seen one Elite, you've kinda seen all of them. The interior is pretty similar in every branch – a massive air-conditioned dining space, wooden chairs and ceramic tables with rotating tops.
They took good 40 minutes to serve the food, but aside from that, the service was better than what we experienced at their Bambalapitiya branch. The staff was pleasant, attentive and helpful.
Good food, affordable rates and generous portions; we're happy about our experience at the new Elite Family Restaurant. Our total bill was close to Rs. 2600, and given the portion sizes, it's more of a meal for three. The location of this outlet is quite convenient, as it's in close proximity to many government and private offices, and there's a whole residential area amid all that.