Found almost directly in front of the SLIIT campus lies Olive Garden. It's quite known for their rice & curry and everything else, which comes at a price that even a wallet of a broke uni kid can afford.
There's nothing particularly extraordinary about the ambience at Olive Garden. With a wee bit of seating on the outside and a heap of tables and chairs crammed into the space that is their indoors, it gave off strong food court vibes.
Glassed topped tables, plastic chairs and very little space to move around, the ambience hadn't changed much since the last time we paid them a visit. And given how we decided to drop in on a Sunday afternoon, the place was practically brimming with people.
With one side dedicated to service, the place isn't very large ad if you do happen to go at a busy time, you're going to get pushed around a bit. But, that being said, if what you're looking for is somewhere to crash for a bit of lunch on the rush, this has got to be it.
Now, according to the signs outside, they should have stuff like kottu and stuff. But, given how it was 1.30 in the afternoon, the only thing up for grabs was rice and quite literally, nothing else.
Unfortunately for us, in terms of "rice and curry", they only had the rice part and very few curries. Thus why we decided to take a pass on it.
The rice itself was quite lovely. Not too oily, not too salty and all in all pretty wholesome, we liked it. Now, the chicken, on the other hand, was a fiery red so fierce that even Satan's low-key confused about it. Batter-fried and tossed in a watery tomato sauce that had been around some capsicum and such, it resembled any other Sri Lankan Chinese food place and nothing else.
What really brought flavour to this was the mushroom. Tasting like some sort of flavoured chips packet you get in supermarkets, the mushroom was packed with flavour and managed to drive up the meal as a whole with just a tiny piece of the serving they gave.
Bland enough to make System of A Down, fall into the depths of despair, the chop suey at Olive Garden was like eating watered down-thicked with cornflour soup and was one of the factors you tend to push over not to be touched when eating, even if you really like chop suey as a whole.
The Chicken Biriyani (Rs. 400), like the Set Menu, came as a giants worth of food. With the same piece of chicken (minus the gravy) as the one from the set menu, a deep-fried egg all brought together with a very stringy minchi sambol and a half -a piece of pineapple, we liked this one. The rice itself wasn't absolutely flavourful, no matter what its appearance says and the other elements really helped bring it all together.
They gave it with a small bag of chicken gravy that helped kick things up a notch and as surprising as this might be, the rice wasn't very oily. Sure, it looks like what cholesterol would look like, but, in reality, it was far from it. True, the chicken was more batter than anything else, but, the chicken gravy they gave on the side was good enough to give it that sharp kick of flavour it desperately needed. And if we're honest, we kind of miss this particular plate of food.
Nothing extraordinary here. With enough staff to man the place so that the restaurant runs smoothly without hitches, screaming customers and dirty tables, we had very little to complain about.
Sure, they weren't the friendliest of all the people we've met. But that being said, it's a buth kadey for crying out loud. We've met with a lot worse.
It's all right. While it didn't have anything extraordinary to make us convince you that you absolutely need to be there, there's no denying the fact that it's a pretty decent spot to grab some grub when you're looking for decent rice and curry.