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4/5

Aahaara

46, Initium Road, Dehiwala


Aahaara is a caterer that does wood-fired biriyani and rice and curry.



Aahaara (literally meaning food) is a catering service in Dehiwela that delivers sawans, kidus and lunch packets. What we got was a piping-hot platter piled high with fragrant rice, chunks of beef, and fried onions delivered to us by 1 PM.

The Sawan

This flavoursome rice smelled absolutely delicious and drove us insane while we waited to take pictures. Piled at least five to seven inches high on this sawan, the generousity of this dish was overwhelming. The guys over at Aahaara said that it that would be enough to feed six people, but in our honest opinion, it would have fed about 12 full-grown men (12 full-grown Muslim men during iftar or Eid even).

In terms of taste, the rice was soft, fluffy, and infused with spice. We got hit with waves of heat a few bites in, but it wasn't overpowering — it gave just that right amount of subtle Sri Lankan davilla. The beef mixed in it was tender and well-cooked. It had plenty of meat as opposed to some places that just mix in fat and bone for the most part.

Though the rice was nice and satisfactory (we'd give it 4/5), the sides and chicken that came with it were disappointing. The chicken (a full chicken) was intensely dry and was accompanied with a poly-bag full of the sauce-like gravy that had to be poured on top. It was admittedly much tastier once the sauce was poured over, but that still doesn't say much about the chicken.

The dish also came with a tub each of Malay pickle, green peas, and a Maldive fish sambol, pictured here:

To give you a quick run-through, the Malay pickle tasted like it was hastily done — just a few quartered onions left to pickle for a short while (that's what it tasted like, though I don't know if that's actually how they did it). It could have had a bit more gravy and a few more carrots and chillies tossed in, but that's my personal opinion.

The green peas were so-so — they were under-boiled and a bit harder than we would have liked. The flavour was alright, but the curry lacked the generous sprinkling of cashew nuts that it could have had. There were a few kadjus tossed in, but it wasn't enough to qualify this as a green-pea-and-cashew curry.

The Maldive fish sambol was the best tasting of the lot and we loved it, but (there's always an annoying 'but', isn't there?) BUT there was more fried onion than Maldive fish in it. The crunchy little bits of fish were practically non-existent, to be honest (although I'd reiterate that it made for a decent onion-fry).

The Watalappam

Yum. Watalappam translated into plain old English is 'coconut custard pudding'. That sounds terribly terribly boring and bland. Another thing that's boring and bland is watalappam that's light in colour. This one was pretty dark, almost the colour of kithul hakuru itself, so we figured it would taste pretty good.

It passed the test easily enough where taste was concerned. It wasn't milky, and had that sharp jaggery flavour that makes watalappam good. The sweetness thankfully wasn't pronounced, and you could have a few mouthfuls without feeling nauseous. The texture seemed a bit off though because it was too thick and dense. Watalappams ideally should be a tad lighter and fluffier. Other than that, it tasted good.

Conclusion

For Rs. 3,250 (plus another 250 bucks for delivery), Aahaara gives you enough biryani to last half a week (that's actually what's going to happen to our leftover biryani). They can improve their sides, but their main dish is spot on. If you have a hungry horde over for a weekend lunch or something, this is definitely the thing to get.


TIP

We were told that everything is cooked on firewood which is a nice touch, since it's both uncommon and adds to the authenticity factor.

Address

46, Initium Road, Dehiwala

Directions

Go down Galle Road towards Dehiwala. Initium Road is the road right opposite St. Mary's Church, on the seaside. Aahaara is situated at the end of this road.

Contacts

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Open 8 AM–6 PM

Cuisine

Sri Lankan

Price Range

More than Rs.1500

Dish Types

Biriyani

Ratings Breakdown

Overall Rating
4
Quality Rating
4
Service Rating
3
Ambience Rating
3

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