If you’re in Colombo 7 and you’re craving a good biriyani, Raheema is one of the first places that will come to mind. That’s exactly the situation we found ourselves in, and we’re glad we dropped in.
Things at Raheema have remained more or less the same over the years from the menu, to the restaurant and staff, which we were happy to see. If you’re a past pupil of either Royal College or Thurstan College, heading back here will most likely be accompanied with a good dose of nostalgia. You’ll find the staple Indian dishes like biriyani, parathas and dosai as well as the addition of some Chinese dishes, which we weren’t exactly tempted to try.
We stuck to the classic chicken biriyani (Rs. 350) and beef biriyani (Rs. 270). They were served with a raita and shorba (gravy). It’s clear that they haven’t changed a thing in the recipe, because it still tastes exactly the same as it did back in the days when we were schooling. The only difference was that they had upgraded from Samba to Bhasmati rice, which only adds to the flavour.
The portion size is more than enough for one person and both the meats were cooked well, specially the beef which was really tender and seasoned well. The only thing we were particularly happy with was the raita, which was just a bit too thick and we would have preferred if the onions had been more finely sliced, but that’s just a side.
We also tried out the mutton fry (Rs. 370), which was basically a devilled fried mutton. I hadn’t tried this on my numerous prior visits, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it tasted great and was a good addition to the biriyani. You need to be a bit careful when eating this though because we did come across a few shards of bone.
No visit to Raheema is complete without getting some muscat from their shop downstairs, so we did just that. It’s not the best muscat you’ll come across in Colombo, but it’s still weirdly satisfying after the biriyani.
Ambience and Sevice
The restaurant upstairs looks exactly the same as it did years ago. Like literally nothing has changed up there for the past decade, from the CRT TV, to the red cushion seats and weird curtains. While that’s remained the same, the eating hall downstairs has gotten a much needed facelift. There’s seating for around 70 and more importantly, it’s pretty clean.
The service here is also swell. The waiters are super friendly and most of them have been working there for years so they know exactly what goes on in the kitchen (which happens to be surprisingly clean as well). Oh and the waiters now where bright red waist coats so they’re like impossible to miss.
Raheema Hotel is one of those places that just seems to get better with time even though not much really changes. The food is good and the service is pretty great. If you find yourself wanting some feel good food, you should drop in.