The Cinnamon Grand's one of Colombo's staple spots for weddings, events and meals. We've tried and liked Breeze Bar
, the Lagoon
, and thought Chutneys deserved a review of its own.
They serve good South Indian fare, with a menu neatly divided between the four Southern states'(Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala) vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisines. The food is quite authentic, with brilliant quality and questionable quantity.
We ordered a nandu rasam
(spicy crab meat soup) to start with, which was possibly one of the best soups I've had in the country. The flavour was strong, layered and the meat was almost buttery in texture. At Rs. 290, it was just perfect.
For the mains, we tried their thengai satham
coconut rice and chappathi, which were straightforward and well done. There were three soft and well-done chappathis at Rs. 230, and enough rice for two people at Rs. 260. Both were reasonable if not spectacular.
We also ordered a soppu palya
(essentially dhal spiced with mustard and garlic) at Rs. 360, which was a good vegetarian option from Karnataka, although it could've been a bit more spicy. The kori garlic thalna
, another Karnatak option, was a delicious chicken dish cooked with coriander and red chilli. It came to about Rs. 750 and was very tasty but a bit lacking in quantity - it was barely enough for two people.
The palkatti green peas kuruma
, a vegetarian dish from Tamil Nadu, came to about Rs. 400. It's pretty much a creamy coconut gravy featuring green peas and home-made cottage cheese. The flavour and components were great, but again barely managed to stretch for two people.
For dessert, we tried the pesari pappu payasam - a yellow mung dhal flavoured with jaggery and coconut milk which came to Rs. 350. It was thick, hot and rich. Pretty authentic in taste and had the right ghee to jaggery ratio in my opinion.
Ambience & Service
The vibe at Chutneys is what you'd expect from your usual CMB 5 star. Lots of A/C, shiny surfaces and glass. They've added some fun touches, like an extended theme of jumbled alphabets from the four states on the menus, wall panels, and even the ceiling. There's also an open kitchen which emits loud frying hisses and puffs of aromatic steam now and then, which is quite fun.
It's mostly a family joint, and definitely doesn't seem like a romantic date spot. They do solid vegetarian options too, so it was quite popular on a Poya. It was fully booked and pretty much full at 8:30pm on a Thursday night, which is commendable. Make sure you make a reservation.
Service-wise, they were incredibly swift and efficient, especially when the restaurant was full. Our soup arrived in exactly 5 minutes flat, hot and fresh, and our food took maybe 10 minutes tops for the full order. This was while the restaurant had filled up completely too. As the crowd tapered out, they were a tad more leisurely with our dessert but we didn't quite mind. The waiters were great - proper 5 star service. The hostess in the lovely sari however was as warm as an Arctic winter and didn't even crack a smile or welcome, which was a little unnerving.
It's a shoes and pants sort of place, so no shorts allowed. If you are a man wearing shorts, they provide you with a nice sarong!
The food is superb, with special mention for the brilliant crab meat rasam. It tastes authentic and fresh, although I'm not sure the quantities are enough for the average Sri Lankan appetite. Check with the waiters as you order, they're more than equipped to recommend dishes and quantity. Great, efficient service too. You're looking at about Rs. 4000 for a couple.
They have an all-you-can-eat buffet on Tuesdays from 7PM to 11PM.