Down South (ie. Hikkaduwa, Galle, Unwatuna, Mirissa) is pretty popular for weekends, long weekends and general seasonal festivities. But with Hikkaduwa becoming slightly passe, the crowd’s edged a little further down the coast to settle alongside Unawatuna’s turquoise waters.
Here you get a cluster of beachside restaurants and bars unfurled across the bay’s curving shore, each conforming to typical beachside nomenclature: Lucky Tuna, Full Moon, Peacock…
Happy Banana is one of the better known joints, often used as both landmark and collection point – if you find yourself lost in Una, just tell someone to meet you by Happy Banana. You’ll be fine.
It’s a fairly nice place – minus the rather horrific faux coconut tree pillars. There’s a broad, semi-open indoor dining area and plastic chairs and loungers scattered out on the beach with a good view of the ocean and enough natural shade for those who fear ‘getting dark’. And the food, while not that cheap, is pretty decent, the menu including everything from spaghetti carbonara to pol sambol and parippu.
So what makes this place different from any of the other beachside eateries? Well, nothing really. You’d probably be alright at most. But the fried rice at Happy Banana is decent – loaded with plenty of butter and stock. The Sri Lankan omelette is good too. And the juices. In fact, most of the food here isn’t bad, in spite of the terrifying extensiveness of the menu.
However, Happy Banana’s probably a little too mainstream for Una’s more veteran weekend denizens, who prefer…well, we actually don’t know. We still sort of like it though. Not so much for the parties, but more for relaxing during the day and eating too much fried rice while wandering into the sea for intermittent dips.
The service, however, can be a bit hit and miss. And a few times they didn’t have chilli paste, which to a Sri Lankan ordering fried rice is pretty much a tragedy. So expect the erratic, but then this is the probably the same at most places down the strip.
But like Hikka, Una too is now sitting on the crest of a changing tide in our fickle loyalties. Apparently Mirissa’s becoming the new place to be. More on that soon.