"Oh COME ON, YAMU! There are plenty of good restaurants in Nugegoda and you chose to review this boring Alumka place that nobody gives a shit about? Why!?"
Well, this is a story about where not to eat, if you happen to be in the Nugegoda area.
I’ve been wanting to go to the popular Alumka Food Cabin at Thalawatugoda ever since I read Buddhika’s review on it, and finally after one year later, we got around to it. This time, we went to their Nugegoda branch, down Raymond Road.
So was our experience better or worse than their other branch? Worse! Much, much worse!
From normal rice and curry and fried rice, to nasi goreng and kottu, Alumka Food Cabin has a pretty extensive menu. It's nothing special really, but they seem to do a fine job as the place was buzzing with customers - so it seemed.
Let's start with this plate of Seafood Fried Rice (Rs. 600), which turned out to be the only dish that we did not have anything to complain about. It's a generous portion of basmati cooked just right, and easily sharable between two people.
The seasoning was on point, and the rice wasn't too oily as well. It had plenty of fish, prawns and cuttlefish to go around, along with a sprinkle of spring onions and carrots.
It's a good fried rice, really, but our experience did not get any better after this.
I honestly don't understand why my friend thought of ordering this Baked Chicken meal (probably because it looked really good on the picture that they had displayed on their menu? idk) but, looks can be deceiving, you know? And here's enough proof for that.
Priced at Rs. 950, this one came with a portion of baked chicken, a cup of garlic fried rice, three buns, coleslaw, margarine, and french fries. You also get to pick the soft drink and the dessert you want with it, so we went with a Pepsi and Jelly cup (which is the only dessert they had at the moment).
We didn't realize how bad it was until we started from, "hmm, this is interesting, for Rs. 950 you get a lot of food" and got to "Oh wait! What smells so bad in here? Is it the chicken?... No... OMG! IT'S THE RICE!!!".
It was definitely an old batch of rice. They had probably left it in the fridge for a couple of days, and just reheated to make this fried rice. The garlic didn't do a very good job of masking that unpleasant smell.
The baked chicken was soaked in a sweet and tangy sauce, but was a tad undercooked in its center, making the texture all rubbery. The day was too good to die from salmonella, so we decided to keep this aside.
The buns didn't do the dish any favors either. They were old, rock hard, and quite frankly, just a few hours away from going bad!
So, this is the cup of jelly we got with our meal. Red and yellow cubes of jelly, pretty nice, noh? So how can you possibly ruin something simple like this? Sadly, Alumka Food Cabin excels at that too.
Nearly all of these pretty jelly cubes were covered in fungus, possibly because they've been following the steps they used to make the garlic fried rice - reusing and recycling. Also, it was placed in a showcase, not a fridge.
We actually pointed this out to the lady behind the counter, and she offered us another one. We didn't want to put ourselves through that misery again, so we passed.
As for drinks, we got a Sweet Lassi (Rs. 190) and a Lime Ginger (Rs. 120). The lime ginger was quite good - refreshing, limey, and minty, with a hint of ginger. However, the Sweet Lassi was a bit too salty, which we didn't like.
The place itself was quite hot. The working A/C unit, didn't help. They've got enough seating to accommodate around 30 - 40 customers at a time.
The service wasn't all smiles, but they were able to deliver the food within like 15 - 20 minutes.
Alumka Food Cabin does an excellent job at serving up some unhygienic food for the crowd. Maybe their other branches are better than this, but not the Nugegoda one. Try not to go in here.