Palmyrah (Hotel Renuka).

Located in an unpromising basement room at the bottom of the Renuka Hotel Palmyrah has long been one of the best places in the city for Sri Lankan food. A cuisine type which, quite bafflingly, is massively underrepresented in the capital of Sri Lanka. This is not to say you don’t get Sri Lankan food in Colombo, you do. You get tons of it – in little road side kades, informal eateries and roving food-carts – but in terms of sit down restaurants – with table cloths, air-conditioning, and waiters in ungrubby uniforms – there are only a smattering of Sri Lankan options in the city.

There’s the ever reliable Green Cabin, the not so reliable Raja Bojun, Cafe on the 5th and at the top end Nuga Gama and the Hilton’s curry leaf.

More or less rounding off the paltry selection of restaurants dedicated to the cuisine of the island in Colombo is Palmyrah, which specializes in the food of the north, of Jaffna. Here you find the spicier, richer, more complex curries of the peninsula, plus a full array of Sri Lankan staples – hoppers, string-hoppers, pittu, thosai etc.

There’s that distinct taste of Jaffna food – lots of fennel, a darker more aromatic curry base, less coconut milk and an abundance of sea food (try the fish pittu). Of all the variations of Sri Lankan cuisine the cooking of Jaffna is the most sought after. For years most Colombars’ quests for northern delicacies ended at Palmyrah – trips to the actual North were out of the question.

Although the restaurant’s interior – sterile and over-bright – isn’t all that attractive, the food at Palmyrah has always been something special. Piles of super crispy hoppers, unusual mixed meat – chicken and mutton, curries and of course delicious plates of Jaffna crabs and prawns. While it’s a city Sri Lankan staple with so many new spots to sample it’s been difficult to make time for a trip to the Renuka Hotel, but I dropped in the other day and found things were still in good working order.

The interior does seem to have been somewhat refurbished, yet it manages to retains the same bland, business-hotel, basement feel (not a good thing). Their lovely old paintings of Jaffna are less prominent than they should be. The service though was helpful –and we ordered raal varai, mutton curry, a crab meat curry, some prawn rulang, and lots of hoppers.

Barring the mutton curry which was under-flavored and overspiced, everything was good. Small things like the accompanying sambols and rassam starter were pitch perfect – spicy but not overpowering. The varai, a prawn based sambol, was delicious- lightly spiced, packed with the taste of crustacean, I’m beginning to think this is the king of Sri Lankan sambols. The rulang – spicy bits of prawn tossed with egg was also excellent and the crab meat curry was rich and sweet. Crucially the basic hoppers were light, crisp and excellent, though the egg ones could have had runnier centres.

This was a tasty meal, perhaps there was less of the wow this is how good Sri Lankan food can be, factor I’ve experienced in the past… I think the flavors have become a little more generic – less clearly Jaffna, but its still very good and at about Rs. 1000 per head, good value. One of best places in the city for a curry meal – though it would be much more popular if they did a little more with the decor.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp

Highlights.

Latest.

KAMU.

Steak Bar: A Grand Sunday Brunch at Kingsbury, Colombo

Written by Shamrina C Welcome to the ultimate brunch experience! Nestled in the heart of

Highlights Kamu Yamu Guide

Dampa Seafood: Where seafood dreams come true!

Are you ready for a culinary journey that captures the essence of the ocean? Look

Highlights Kamu

An unforgettable brunch celebration at Harbour Court, The Kingsbury.

The Ambience From the hotel entrance to our designated seat, a vibrant atmosphere resonated with

Highlights Kamu

Sizzle and Indulge: Chef Azam’s Steak Extravaganza at London Grill, Cinnamon Grand

Picture this: an invitation from the ever-charming Kamal Munasinghe, the brains behind Cinnamon Grand Colombo

Highlights Kamu

Crispy Chicken Fiesta at Popeyes Sri Lanka

The Menu Ambience Upon entering, we encountered a cozy color scheme featuring tones of red,

Kamu

Unveiling Ramada’s Festive Christmas High Tea Extravaganza!

Written by Shamrina C Mark your calendars for the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th of December,

Kamu

Trending.

MLH Plant-Earth Market and Poya Vegan Buffet: A Vegan Oasis

Mount Lavinia Hotel (MLH), took a significant step towards promoting a plant-based lifestyle when it

Trending

Indulge in secluded romance and a tropical getaway

at Sun Siyam Pasikudah this Valentine’s Day With up to 50% discount on room upgrades

Highlights Trending

Slow Food at Mount Lavinia Hotel made a grand comeback with the leadership of Anura Dewapura

Mount Lavinia Hotel, hosted its first Slow Food event for the year on 2nd February

Trending

Flying Ravana Adventure Park Celebrates 5 Years of Unforgettable Adventures

Colombo, Sri Lanka - February 05, 2024 - Flying Ravana Adventure Park, the beacon of

Trending

Excel Colombo Convention Centre: The New Powerhouse for Events in the City

In a momentous announcement, Excel World proudly revealed the transformation of one of Colombo’s historic

Trending

Yamu Guide.

Steak Bar: A Grand Sunday Brunch at Kingsbury, Colombo

Written by Shamrina C Welcome to the ultimate brunch experience! Nestled in the heart of

Highlights Kamu Yamu Guide

9 Special Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Him

By Fathima Rukaiya Are you trying to find the perfect way to show your special

Highlights Yamu Guide

9 Special Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Her

Written by Fathima Rukaiya The season of love is upon us once more, and opinions

Highlights Yamu Guide

Romantic Dinner and High Tea date spots for Valentine’s Day  2024

Written by Shamrina C 1. Via Torino Indulge in a fine dining exclusive 3-Course meal

Highlights Yamu Guide

BYOB Bliss: 16 Places to you can Bring Your Own Bottle!

Written by Shamrina C 1. Giovannis Indulge in Italian flavors, grooving music, pet friendly, and

Highlights Yamu Guide

Unveiling Ramada’s Festive Christmas High Tea Extravaganza!

Written by Shamrina C Mark your calendars for the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th of December,

Highlights Yamu Guide