[Ed Note: Urban Elephants has completely changed their menu recently. Now it's just generic fried rice, pasta and kottu varieties – nothing fancy and no Asian fusion.]
Urban Elephants is newly opened resto in Moratuwa, specialised in Asian Fusion. On a slow Tuesday with an elephantine hunger rearing its head, we headed there – hoping for some good food.
Spoilers; the food was excellent!
Food & Drinks
Their menu is fairly simple but covers a lot. You can pick your choice of carb, a protein or two, and then your veggies. Also, there are add-ons like eggs and cheese along with a few soups. As for drinks, they’ve got you covered with iced tea and fresh juices.
We chose an Egg Fried Rice (Rs. 280) and Kottu (Rs. 300) as our carbs, a Thai Red Curry Beef (Rs. 390), and Indonesian Style Prawns (Rs. 410) as accompanying proteins and a Chopsuey (Rs. 150), and Hot Butter Mushroom (Rs. 150) as veg-based dishes.
The Egg Fried Rice was the normal wok fried basmati rice but made perfectly to be fluffy without being oily at all. It gave off a pleasant aroma that makes your mouth water from the very first whiff.
Plentiful with bits of veggies and eggs mixed in the rice, you can easily eat it on its own, because it is that good. However, you can get the most of it by mixing it up with curry, which is what we did. The generous portion size is a plus too.
We praise any place that offers kottu for lunch and love the ones who do that and pulls it off right. At first glance, we thought this portion of Egg Kottu is gonna be heavy on oils but we were wrong.
The mild heat coming from the spices complemented the roti which made us stuffing our face with this. The thinly cut roti pieces made it easier to eat and thankfully, it didn’t stick in our mouth in an annoying way.
There were pieces of egg, onions and green chillies mixed in with a sprinkle of scrambled eggs. They had managed to keep all the flavour elements well balanced along with the spices. You don't get any sauce or anything to accompany the kottu and honestly, it doesn't need any.
And mind you, this plate would serve two people. As for me, this is one of the best kottu’s I've come across.
The Thai Red Curry Beef came with around six sizable beef pieces soaked in a bowl of beautifully orangey gravy. Having absorbed all the spicy goodness in the gravy, the meat was delicious, and we are glad that the spices didn't overpower the fresh beefy flavours.
If we are to nitpick, a slightly thicker gravy, enrichened with coconut cream would have been even better.
We were in for a treat with their Indonesian Style Prawns. There were four jumbo-sized, well-cooked, chewy prawns swimming about in a well seasoned, creamy gravy. The prawns had soused up all the marination – making for a succulent dish.
The Indonesian style meat curries have this signature karawala-like flavour and this gravy was rich with that too. With hints of chilli emerging through, we wish we had some kadey paan to sweep it off the bowl.
The Chopsuey (Rs. 150) was an assortment of veggies, that packed a fresh crunch and a bit of saltiness. There were thinly sliced carrots, bok choy, seaweed (I presume) and mushroom, stir-fried to perfection.
This portion of Hot Butter Mushroom (Rs. 150) was another dish that we found delicious. It was fried nicely while keeping the crispiness of the batter on point, and was well seasoned with a tinge of saltiness to it. The red chillis helped to spike up its flavour. Coupled with the sheer portion size, this dish is a steal.
As we were waiting for our order, we got ourselves a couple of fruit juices. At Rs. 300 each, these homemade juices are served in glass bottles.
Remember the slightly powdery texture you get when you bite all the way to the inner core of a ripened amberella? Imagine how surprised we were, when we found that in our drink – perfectly balanced out with the natural ambarella taste. It’s an unexpected but very much welcome twist to the drink which added to its rich, tarty flavour.
The Passion Fruit was equally delicious, with the sour and sweet notes of the ripened fruit coming through. Both of the drinks had the perfect amount of sugar, was very refreshing and not watery at all.
This is one of, if not the best fruit juice I’ve encountered – and my lunch partner agrees.
Awed by the drinks, we inquired how they came to be. The person who handled our order said that they buy the fresh fruits to ensure the quality and only makes a few of each to maintain the consistency of flavour across the board. This is a conduct we appreciate very much.
Service and Ambience
They have a small area set up near the counter for you to enjoy a light meal.
As we were told, they are still tidying up the seating area, so for now, you have to stick to take away. Given that we ordered a lot of food, they graciously arranged a few tables and chairs in their work-in-progress dining area.
Once you go through the wooden doors, you have a concrete seat and chair set up – which we think is the outside dining area with a covered with a canopy. From what we gathered, it will be a good place to enjoy your meal once the constructions are done.
In terms of service, the staff was quite helpful. We were advised which dishes would go along well with each other and about the portion sizes. The food got arrived within around 20 minutes, which is alright, considering that they make it freshly for every order. They also didn't forget to check in on us to make sure everything was in order.
It seemed that the person who waited on us was the owner/ manager and that this is a family-owned venture. He talked about the dishes and ingredients with much enthusiasm and expressed how he wants to get everything set up as soon as possible.
In the beginning, we felt coming all the way to Moratuwa was a drag but after the meal, we felt stupid for not doing it sooner. For the price, quality and the portion sizes, they are an excellent option to grab a meal at. It’s an easy recommend. I, for one, am gonna return there even if it’s a distance away.