The rather casually titled Shawarma.lk is a restaurant that's situated in an unassuming spot down Thimbirigasyaya. Contrary to the title, they actually don't have a website which is a bit weird, but live and let live.
They're a fully functioning shawarma joint serving up Palestinian, Lebanese, Greek, and Turkish shawarma. They've also got a hugely detailed list of breakfast platter options, but they aren't actually open for breakfast, so I don't quite know what's happening there.
Indi wouldn't stop hounding us about the review for this place, so here it is folks! What experience did a trip to this doner deli entail? Was it good? Bad? Ugly? Let's see.
A lot of people constantly forget what the word shawarma actually means and instead use it to refer to a wrap.
Shawarma is the method of meat prep that follows an old Ottoman-Turkish method of cooking meat using a spinning, vertical rotisserie. The meat was then roasted, cut and served on pita bread which came to be known as the Turkish Doner Kebap. This served as the base inspiration for many other dishes like the Greek Gyro, the Mexican El Taco Pastor and so on.
At Shawarma.lk they've got a live station where they prepare the food so you can go snoop around if you're bored and feel like making the chefs a bit uneasy. The food doesn't take that long but if you're looking to order kofta, you'll have to order 15 minutes ahead.
The shawarmas here have an option of either a small or large size. The smaller size is a perfect portion for one. For your protein, you get to pick from chicken, beef, or both!
The hummus was great. Strong notes of tahini and lemon juice were present, and we actually ended up ditching the pita to shovel spoonfuls of the stuff into our faces. The texture was a bit grainy, but didn't take away from the overall mouthfeel. A little more time in the blender, and this would've turned into a pasty mess. I'd give it a 4/5 rating. The Palestinian Shawarma clocks in at Rs. 320 for a small portion. In addition to having large chunks of succulent, rotiserrie grilled chicken, it also comes with tomato, onions, pickles and parsley. They didn't give us an option on which sauce to pick but rather chose to serve the shawarma with a giant blob of garlic mayo on the side.
As a whole this wrap had a rather bland flavour to it, with only the char/smokey chicken ad pickled coming through. It wasn't bad, but I'd recommend you try the Turkish shawarma instead.
This is the wonderful Falafel Sandwich. For Rs. 380 you get to have the best falafel
sandwich wrap ever. Bursting at the seams with crunchy, delicious falafel along with lashings of tahini sauce, lemon juice, tomato and onions- this is probably the greatest vegetarian wrap out there. It's also served with a side of mixed vegetables in vinagrette, but that didn't quite look appetising, so we didn't indulge.
Doesn't matter though, our focus was all on that wrap.
Ahhh kofta! Also spelled kofteh, a kofta is essentially a variant of meatballs or meatloaf. Consisting of meat, spices and vegetables ground to form a malleable mass, these are then either fried, grilled or cooked in gravy to produce some of the best tasting dishes ever.
I decided to try a Beef Kofta which amounts to Rs. 340 per skewer. This is a bit of a pricey option, but was it worth it? Well, the beef was tender, soft and still pink in some areas. Breaking apart will cause it to crumble delicately, with notes of cilantro and lemon juice pulling through. I'd say it's quite tasty, but not exactly worth Rs. 340.
Here is the rotisserie. It's piled high with chicken, so I'm assuming the rest of the other meats are prepared in the kitchen. Or maybe I'm just really blind and the beef is in there somewhere, in which case if it is, do forgive me.
Ambience & Service
Ambience here is a bit uh…bleak. The walls are white, the furniture is basic, the decor is practically nil. All they really need to do to produce an illusion of grandeur is to simply switch the lighting to yellow instead of the awful, fluorescent white.
They've got a good customer base, and I noticed people milling in and out of the shops so business must be great. Service is alright, but could be a bit faster.
That's a Wrap!
That's all folks! If you're ever traversing around the Thimbirigasyaya area well after bedtime and are in need of a good shawarma- here's your spot.