In a country where people eat buth all morning, day and night, finding good rice and curry is not that hard. From streetside kadeys to five-star hotels, we've got plenty of places look for that.
If you haven't already figured it out, Ayubowan is a particularly posh place to get rice and curry.
Due to the current situation in the country, taking pictures of places can be a bit dodgy. We've been encountering that problem for the past few weeks, at most of the restaurants we've been to. So let us paint you a mental image of how Ayubowan looks like.
If I'm correct, this is where Ceylon Cafe used to be. With big, throne-in-a-historic-Sinhala-movie type chairs, full-length mirrors, saffron walls and giant chandeliers, the ambience at Ayubowan makes you feel like you entered some sort of Maharaja's palace.
Dim in various corners and having a whole load of framed - what looked like print-outs of old newspapers, it screamed glam. We're gonna be honest, it was slightly intimidating. Kudos to the person who made the playlist though. Sinhala classics you don't hear on the radio anymore greeted us and stayed by our side throughout this entire escapade, and, for that, we are grateful.
The food menu, we were told was limited to Fried Rice (Rs. 550) and Rice and Curry (Rs. 500). [Ed Note: However, they're supposed to have this fancy big menu with a massive range of Lankan curries - from thambun hodi and crab curries to hoppers and kottu. They forward it online, whenever requested].
Fluffy and cooked to perfection, the rice came steaming. The chicken, on the other hand, was relatively cold, hard and didn't have much flavour. Same goes for the fried fish. However, the omelette turned out to be peppery and positively stacked with green chillies, which we really enjoyed.
The curries on the side turned out to be Dhal, Manioc, Kang Kung and Ladies Fingers. Creamy and doused with spice, the dhal curry didn't have much gravy as we would have liked, but was, all in all, not bad. The Manioc curry turned out to be a mix of both good and bad. While the gravy was fantastic, the pieces wound up being tough to the point of us wondering why. The kang kung curry also turned out to be a wonderful mix of chilli and Maldive fish which made every kind of difference in the best possible way.
Now, the ladies fingers. Good Lord! This is and will forever be one of my favourite takes on ladies fingers ever! This was essentially the love child of batu moju and the normal bandakka curry we're used to. If you do happen to pay them a visit, pray that they have this. It was amazing.
This is our Fried Rice. A giant plate of white rice tossed in butter, leeks, carrots, fried chicken and not much else. Salty and not very oily, we weren't blown away. And for Rs. 550, it's just not worth it. Go with rice and curry - it's the a better choice.
The beverage menu at Ayubowan is pretty limited. Spanning to just a few alcoholic options, milkshakes, tea and fruit juice. We went with their Plain Tea (Rs. 150) and a Watermelon Juice (Rs. 250).
The Watermelon Juice was a tall glass filled with a sweet, slightly watered down take on watermelon juice. While we do say that it tasted watered down, there is the possibility that the fruit itself was watered down as well. So, look out!
Nonetheless, wonderfully refreshing, this was ideal in terms of getting out of the heat.
Here's where things get a tad iffy. While they managed to bring our food within 10 minutes of ordering, the tea took close to 40 minutes to arrive. Curious, very, very curious.
Nevertheless, the staff proved to be super friendly and quite helpful throughout.
Ayubowan is all right. They did have a few ups and downs, and it's not a bad place to get rice and curry. Maybe not for your daily fix, but, on exceptional days when you're feeling exceptionally generous, because why not. But try to stay away from the Fried Rice.
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