Peri Peri Kukula.

For all those desperately waiting for Nando's to come back to Sri Lanka, we have a good news! It's back! Well… Not exactly but since the 1st October, Peri Peri Kukula is filling the gap. Good on them!

Like their restaurant, their menu is compact and mostly comes down to Peri Peri chicken and 6 different sides. All you need to do is to choose the size of your portion (1/4, 1/2 or a full chicken) and the spiciness of the Peri Peri sauce. They also have some starters as well as a Peri Peri Chicken Burger and a Peri Peri Pulled Jack Burger. That's pretty much it.

It's an ideal place to go with this annoying friend who always takes ages to make a choice when it comes to food. 

The Peri Peri

No, Peri Peri sauce was not invented by Nando's but actually way before, in the 15th century, by Portuguese settlers in Mozambique. They created this fusion marinade mixing the African grown piri piri chilli, also known as bird's eye chilli, with imported ingredients like bell pepper, tomato, garlic, onion, red wine vinegar and paprika. 

Peri Peri Kukula has given their own take on the world known sauce, using Sri Lankan ingredients only – piri piri chilli having been introduced to Sri Lanka by the Portuguese few centuries ago.

Peri Peri Kukula's version of the Portuguese sauce is creamy, rich, flavourfull and of course, spicy. Besides marinating the chicken in the sauce for 12h, they generously apply it while grilling the chicken. In case it's still not enough, you can dip your meat or your side(s) in the extra sauce provided on the side. And trust me, you'll happily do!

I wisely went for the Medium Peri Peri and was glad I did. The sauce was already packed with heat. If you are a chili lover, go for the Hot version and if you feel adventurous, dare trying the Extra Hot option. 

The Kukula

Chickens are free range and delivered directly from the farm everyday. The meat is flame-grilled on order.

I ordered 1/4 Chicken (Rs. 670). The chicken was cooked through but not dry as it's often the case. The generous amount of Peri Peri marinade made the meat spicy and tasty and probably helped to keep it moist and tender through the cooking process. Unfortunately the chicken didn't have much of this delicious grilled taste that you'd expect from a flame-grilled chicken.

Heads up to our health-conscious readers: no oil is actually used in the whole process, neither in the preparation of the sauce, nor for cooking, making the dish a healthy option. 

The Sides

Peri Peri Kukula's sides are worth the visit as well. They are pretty similar to the ones you'd find at Nando's and include chips, salads, rice, corn and garlic bread. Except from the fries (the owner explained that Sri Lankan potatoes are not starchy enough to make good ones), they are all homemade. 

Simply flame-grilled, the Corn on the Cob (Rs. 180) was great! Sweet and juicy, it had this distinctive grilled taste that was lacking in the chicken.

The Three Beans Salad (Rs. 350) consists of a generous serve of red, white and kidney beans, capsicum, onion and coriander. You can easily share the portion between 2 to 3 diners. The coriander gives a much-appreciated fresh twist to the salad and entire meal.

Service

Service is very pleasant and attentive. It's actually taken care of by the owner who seems passionate about his new business and who's very keen to have a chat and go through the menu from A to Z with customers. 

Food comes reasonably quickly. It's not a fast food though so if you are in a hurry, go get some KFC opposite the road but you won't get the same quality in your plate.

Ambience

The tiny restaurant is divided into 2 rooms and counts about 8 tables. It's nicely furnished with rustic wooden tables and chairs. 

I like what they've done with the floor.

The choice of upbeating Latin music suits the Portuguese influenced theme of the restaurant and gives a good vibe to the place. It also does a good job in covering the noise from Jawatte road that can be busy during peak hours. 

Verdict

Tasty, affordable and generous homemade food in a very friendly atmosphere.

Peri Peri Kukula has started off on the right foot and we hope that they'll keep up the good work and motivation.

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