Nicely presented in clay pots, Kaala Balan – Maha Gedara offers a wide range of freshly cooked, good rice and curry with a super Sri Lankan touch. You can pick five curries to go with your plateful of rice (white/red), and that includes a protein of your preference as well. They serve them on nelum kola (lotus leave) neatly placed on a pun watti.
Our Chicken Rice & Curry (Rs. 280) comprised of a hefty piece of well-seasoned chicken, dhal curry, tempered manioc, tempered okra, and tempered garlic (yes, yes we love fried stuff, but who doesn't right?).
We especially liked their dhal curry, which was adequately milky, with a nice aroma of karapincha (curry leaves) emerging through, while the rest of the curries were also rich with spicy notes. Adding an extra heat and a limey hint to the whole meal, the pol sambol was a flavorful condiment.
Kaala Balan – Maha Gedara does an excellent Pork Rice & Curry (Rs. 290), and we devoured it within minutes. It came in a slightly grainy gravy with a nice peppery hit and the distinct sour notes of tamarind and goraka. However, it wasn't good as our favorite at Jaadi Samanga Game Kaema, but it was a close second.
The rest of this buth plate had a cucumber curry, tempered winged beans, kohila sambol, and polos (young jackfruit) curry. With the perfect balance between milkiness and spiciness, and a hint of sweetness, the cucumber curry was really good. We liked the polos curry too – it was cooked right, with a deliciously sour gravy, and a slightly firm exterior, as opposed to being mushy and overcooked.
We tried a couple of their desserts – Watalappan (Rs. 50) and Chocolate Biscuit Pudding (Rs. 50). If I had to pick a favorite, I'd go with the watalappan. Sweet, and light, it wasn't anything remarkable, but at that price point, I'd say it's pretty solid in comparison to the half melted CBP with way too sugar in it.
Ambience & Service
The massive room aligned with a bunch of wooden tables and chairs, yellow colored walls with dark brown colored wooden windows, and a thatched canopy that runs as a ceiling, the interior here gives out an authentic Sinhala buth kadey vibe, and lives up to its name – Maha Gedara. It actually reminded two of our favorite rice & curry joints in Nugegoda – Jaadi Samanga Game Kaema and Rasa Piyasa. Although, this place is much spacious than those two, accommodating around 40 – 50 customers at a time.
They've got a bunch of cool boards like this to express what each counter in the restaurant is about – 'Pelata Hitan' (stand in line), 'Bedaaganna Bolan' (pick your curries), 'Kaalaa Balan' (go ahead and eat), 'Beela Balan' (grab your drinks).
The service here is pretty quick, while the ladies and the gentlemen behind the counters being really friendly. You actually can choose the amount of rice and curries you want on your buth plate.
It's been only a few months since the opening, but it's already crowd's favorite. From what we gathered, they get a lot of take-away orders from the residents around, and people who pass by come into dine-in. We quite enjoyed our experience here – so should you, if you happen to be around Ratmalana and find yourself craving for some great rice and curry.