Smack dab in the middle of the Battaramulla town, amidst banks, vegetable stalls and kottu shops lies an indiscreet little sanctuary of Indian food – that's quite possibly one of the easiest places to miss.
That being said, Buddika paid Hotel Suvai a visit a while back and absolutely fell in love with it, which is why and where this comes in.
Hotel Suvai is not, in fact, a hotel at all. It's a little eatery in Battaramulla.
Not fancy, but clean enough for you not to question if you're gonna wind up with some unknown disease, it's alright. It has enough space to seat at least 8 people on the ground floor and they do have dining setup upstairs too. We actually suggest dining in because not only do they serve their food in giant steel trays but, the staff is super nice as well.
The menu at Hotel Suvai is vegetarian, so, we wound up with all vegetarian options. But, they occasionally do both fish and chicken. Ranging from bread to curries to starters and soups, the amount of stuff Hotel Suvai has to offer, is a lot.
The Chapati (Rs. 180 for 2) is completely made up of atta flour and is served with a serving of tomato chutney. Soft with slightly tough edges, the chapati was lovely. Plus, they're quite big and a little on the thicker side, so you're bound to feel full with maybe after 2 of these. Not too salty and dusted with a sheen layer of flour, we loved it.
The best part about getting food from Hotel Suvai is the complimentary tomato chutney. We don't know what they put in it apart from tomato, but, it was so, so good. See, it looks and tastes like just squashed up tomato, but, there was some other hidden tinge of God-knows-what which made it evident that it wasn't just, you know, squashed up tomato. Try eating the chapati with just the chutney, thank us later.
The Poori (2 for Rs. 130) was a deliciously oily, flaky puffed up disc of absolute heaven. Like the chapati, this wasn't salty and it was served hot.
With a golden brown, paper-thin crust-like layer just floating above, the inside was thick and soft. It's hard to go on about poori, I mean, it's poori, what even are you supposed to go on about? But seriously, just go for it. If you're looking for a solid poori with a creamy, salty potato curry on the side, this is probably the way to go.
Out of the curries available, we wounded up with a Paneer Manchurian (Rs. 460 for L) and a Curd Rice (Rs. 210).
Fiery red with lots of deep-fried cubed up paneer, the Paneer Manchurian, looked quite small in portion size, but had a lot in terms of flavour. You could literally feel the spice in the gravy – there was so much. Salty, spicy and overall fantastic, this went really well with the chapati. Plus, it's impossible to eat a lot of it. Meaning, this tiny portion is more than enough for 2-3 people.
The curd rice was, in our opinion, the nicest, most bizarre take on rice we've had in a while. I mean, it's more or less like eating milk rice, just, with a lot more flavour involved in the process. Tangy, thanks to the heap of curd and with bits of carrot and other vegetables cut into tiny pieces and lots of mustard seeds, it's impossible to eat it in large quantities and is really, really good.
If you like curd and you're a rice person, you're bound to love it. Plus, for Rs. 210 it's a steal.
*Pictured above – Badam Milk (left), Coffee (right)
On the beverage side of things, Hotel Suvai limits itself to mainly coffees, milk and masala tea (which isn't included in the menu, but, is available). We went with the Badam Milk (Rs. 300) and a Coffee (Rs. 60).
Hot, sweet and utterly milky, this badam milk comes from a powdered packet. Nonetheless, if you're looking for something super sweet and milky to the point of being able to replace dessert (it had bits of spice and nuts in it, so it's not just milk), we suggest going with this.
The Black Coffee, on the other hand, was strangely good. Sure, the coffee tasted like Nescafe and water but they had added some sort of sweetness that tasted oddly like the burnt sugar part of caramel pudding. Which, essentially, helped us overlook the fact that it's probably just Nescafe.
The staff at Hotel Suvai comprises of just one or maybe two people manning the whole restaurant. There was one lady in particular who was really nice. She explained the process of everything and even told us a few pointers like how they have a thali style lunch system which allows you to eat an unlimited amount of food for Rs. 560.
Managing to bring our food within 10-15 minutes of ordering, we're pretty happy with the way things turned out.
If you haven't got the memo yet, we loved our experience here. The food was hella affordable and very good and the staff is welcoming and even the ambience had its quirky perks. If you do wind up in Battaramulla, we'd definitely recommend checking it out.