Rice & curry spots are everywhere. Good, bad and ugly, we've witnessed them all. That being said, finding a good rice and curry spot in Colombo can be tough. Especially ones for when you're looking for a break from the same old chicken and fish rice packs.
Nelum Flower is a restaurant in Dehiwala that looks like almost every buth kadey in Colombo – which, essentially it is, except for a few tweaks here and there.
The ambience at Nelum Flower is more or less like every other buth kadey in Colombo. Small, clean with enough seats to accommodate a few people, it's quite small. Therefore, we'd recommend that you get your food to go.
Nelum Flower has – in terms of protein, one of the largest selections we've come across. From fish curry to deep fried fish to prawn curry, crab curry and chicken cooked in at least 3 ways, this one reminded us of the spread in Praneetha.
Quite possibly due to the fact that we happened to drop in for lunch a little later than the norm, they didn't have more than 6 vegetable options to go with. They also had run out of the yellow rice set menu, which was actually alright considering the number of other options you could have gone with even with those items being unavailable.
We go the White rice with Chicken Curry (Rs. 290), which consisted of a well cooked, sizable piece of chicken, that was well spiced without being overcooked.
The Tempered Potato curry was a mix of rather hard potatoes, onions and a lot of chilli. Oily and spicy, this went quite well with the fluffy white rice they served.
The dhal curry, like the chicken, was a bit on the familiar side. Not particularly exciting in terms of being any different to what we're usually used to, this was a good accompaniment because it helped tone down the spice.
Our favourite of the veggies was the watakolu curry. Creamy with the skin being soft enough to eat, this was one of the times I had like watakolu curry from outside. Plus, it goes really well with the chicken. Ditch the dhal, go with this, we say.
This is the White Rice with Crab Curry (Rs. 450). Here we have tempered cabbage, tempered capsicum with Maldive fish, dhal curry, kakiri curry, carrot sambol and crab curry.
As you can probably tell, the salad was as fresh as a store bought salad could possibly get. Zinged with a tinge of lime and with plenty of finely diced up onions and carrot, we really liked it. The tempered cabbage, on the other hand, was a tad too bland for our liking. Yes, we're aware that cabbages are naturally bland, but, this really didn't have much of an input to the dish so nope, we're not buying it.
The tempered capsicum was lovely. With lots of Maldive fish bits and plenty of onions to not make it all that spicy, this was one of the nicest takes on tempered capsicum we've had in a while.
Like the cabbage, the kekiri curry too wasn't that great. We found the pieces to be too large, and the spices were on the milder side of things.
Tucked away in a foil packet lies a pretty big crab with more than its fair share of gravy, which was brilliant. Spicy, with lots of tomato and onion and creamy in texture, this really pulled together the entire packet of rice. So even if the others failed in terms of flavour, this managed to bring it back. And for Rs. 450, we doubt you'll find a better option anywhere else.
We also decided to get a Chicken Biriyani (Rs. 550). With a good amount of green peas curry, chutney, onion sambol and an egg, this came with more than its usual amount of chicken. Yea, you get the fried piece on top, but, underneath it is another giant piece that had been cooked in the rice.
While the rice wasn't the most flavourful one out there, it didn't really disappoint because of the accompaniments they had given managed to tie everything together. The green peas managed to add a bit of cream to it while the chutney gave it a bit of a sweet kick. The crunch was brought on by the onion and the chicken. And given the size of the packet, it's easily enough for 2 people.
The staff was super nice. From the minute we walked into making sure we were all right when we left, the staff was super helpful throughout. Friendly and giving in to every one of our requests without batting an eyelash, the service here was wonderful.
Really, what's not to like? The food was quite nice, the crab curry tying everything up in one delicious as hell bow. The service was fast and the staff was nice. We'd recommend it.