Greenlands is a South Indian vegetarian restaurant that has been around as long as I can remember. I even recall fond tales from my parents who would rendezvous there in their youth. Its strongest point is the nostalgia, to be honest, and anyone who's been there over the years will attest to that. There's way more competition these days, and they don't seem the overly competitive type.
Buddhika decided to try their rice and curry for lunch. I went with the paper dosai, though their onion dosai is also good.
The rice and curry (Rs 200) is quite wholesome, with plenty of dhal, a little bit of mango pickle. The main curry is bittergourd, which added a sharp acidic kick. You don't get your usual spicy flavours of a Sri Lankan rice and curry, so this might not be for everyone. I particularly love the contrast of texture when you mix the papadam with the wet rice and curry.
My paper dosai (Rs 185) wasn't served in any dramatic fashion, just a long roll. It wasn't too oily and just perfectly crisp. I have no complaints, really. It filled me up and the price was reasonable.
I like to have thayir vadai/curd vadai (Rs 90) as a sort of dessert. We quite liked the flavourful curd that it sat in, as we tried to make out what went into it. There's some caramelized onions in there that add some depth to the flavour.
We washed it all down with some buttermilk (Rs 110). It was pretty good. The green chili and onions are what really add to the character of an otherwise plain concoction. It's fairly rich, though it isn't super thick, and I wouldn't be able to finish one by myself.
The staff at Greenlands seem as old as the establishment itself, sporting hair as white as their crisp white dhoti and shirt. When the place is not too busy, they are fairly amicable. Ordering is pretty straightforward. If you don't know what you want, you can ask them, though there's a large board with the whole menu at the entrance for that purpose. Sometimes when the place is busy they can seem a little grouchy (in particular one of the older, short men who always seems to ignore me when I try to speak in Tamil). There's no service charge, so don't forget to tip them!
This is what I love most about Greenlands. Though the interior is painted a muted, almost sickly green, the large paintings on the wall are just fabulous. You're immediately transported to a world of kitsch South Indian imagery, with Krishna on one side, and a court dancer right in front of you. The place is quite clean, though if it were lit brighter it would seem more so.
While there are many other South Indian restaurants serving much better fare, Greenlands still holds a place in people's heart for sheer nostalgia. They do what they do quite well. However, in comparison, it's not really better than places like Shanmugas or Thalis. Prices are reasonable, so two can eat for under Rs 1000 easily. Oh, and they have the rare combo of a liquor bar and a/c hotel rooms also on offer, so that's something!
Greenlands still holds a place in people's heart for sheer nostalgia.
Greenlands is great, and a long-running institution from what I gather. It’s a budget South-Indian joint in a peaceful location, that has oodles of run-down character and is as cheap as anything.
සිංහල ග්රීන්ලන්ඩ් හෝටලය අඩු මිළට දකුණු ඉන්දියන් ආහාර පිරිනමන පැරණි පෙනුම ඇති එහෙත් සාමකාමී වටපිටාවක පිහිටි අවන්හලක්.
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