Heladiva.

Heladiva is a bath kade style restaurant housed in a beautiful old bungalow on Hunupitiya Lake Road serving authentic Sri Lankan cuisine.

Beyond the realms of the local bath kade and the expertise of your own kitchen, where can you really experience authentic Sri Lankan cuisine in Colombo? There’s Nuga Gama (an upmarket take on village food), the longstanding Green Cabin, Palmyrah and a few others – Currymuch, CurryLeaf. But strangely, local Sri Lankan cuisine doesn’t appear that much in restaurant form in the city – compare to the sheer waves of Chinese joints that have washed onto our shores.

Heladiva is a formidable new contendor in the take-your-tourist genre of dining. Housed in a beautiful old bungalow on Hunupitiya Lake Road, the bath kade style restaurant serves a selection of Sri Lankan snacks throughout the day as well as breakfast and lunch. You get a variety of excellent, authentic local curries: spicy wattaka (pumpkin), kehel muwa thel-dala (tempered banana flower), gotu kola, and pepper chicken, etc. all served on a bed of fluffy white rice and topped with crispy slivers of salty fried chillis (note: the meals also come garnished with fried fish heads – if you’ve never come across these on a plate of rice before they can be a bit alarming – brittle triangles with gaping spiky mouths and blank eyes.)

The food is served bath kade style, ie. tall peninsulas of rice piled onto a plate, surrounded by teetering seas of curries (a standard rice and curry meal costs Rs.200.) Also available are fresh juices made from local fruit (beli, divul, ambarella etc.) and Sri Lankan sweets and desserts (wattalapam, kavum, kokis, Elephant House ice cream). While you won’t get the wide variety of Green Cabin or the ambience of Nuga Gama, this is authentic local cuisine served well – and it’s a solid option for whisking newly landed friends for a taste of what the island has to offer.

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