Herali Resturant is quite a new spot down Perahera Mawatha near Monkeybean Cafe. Their speciality is rice and curry served on lotus leaves. We paid a visit to grab some lunch.
They have quite a spread - all of them are neatly displayed in huge clay pots. As for rice, you can get either white, red, and ghee rice with your choice of protein from pork, chicken, fish, prawns and eggs, and you get to pick four veg-curries to pair with your choices.
To go with our Ghee Rice & Curry with Chicken (Rs. 350) we chose the tempered potato, cucumber salad, dhal curry and botu moju.
The ghee rice was nicely seasoned, fluffy, not oily and quite aromatic with plenty of cashews strewn into the mix. The chicken itself was well cooked, carrying adequate levels of seasoning while the dhal curry helped to boost the curry flavour of the plate. Giving off a fresh crunch, the cucumber salad was lovely, while the tempered potato being a less-oily, not-so-spicy element. We enjoyed the sweet and sour flavours botu moju but felt that it lacked a bit of flavour punch.
The Pork Rice & Curry (Rs.300) came with white rice, beans, gotukola mallum, breadfruit and botu moju. To be honest, we were quite excited for the pork curry but it was a bit of a let down as we didn’t score the meatier pieces. Almost half of that was just oily pieces.
Anyway, the meaty pieces were properly cooked, tender in texture, had a bit of chewiness, and carried a mild seasoning. The gotukola mallum was fresh and the breadfruit curry gave decent milky flavour and added a bit of moisture to the meal. Mixing things up with all the curries made way to an even better experience, but however, we felt that the curries could have used more seasoning. But together, they harmonise well and made for a pretty solid plate of rice & curry.
Our Thalapath Fish Rice & Curry (Rs. 280) came with dhal, polos, mukunuwenna mallum and tempered kohila dalu. The well-cooked red rice paired extremely well with the fish curry, its creamy flesh and the spicy seasoning.
The spiciness in the dish was further enhanced by the polos curry, but not in an overpowering way. On the other hand, the beans and tempered kohila dalu made things even more interesting with its crunch. The mukunuwenna mallum was enjoyable with a mildly limey, bitter notes while the dhal curry helped out with curry flavour and moisture. This struck us as quite a balanced and flavorful meal.
Even though Herali Restaurant is a small spot, the inside was spacious enough to hold more than 12 people. Given we went during the lunch hour, the place was quite packed with office folks trying to grab their lunch. Since they steam up the rice in the backroom kitchen, the place somewhat tends to get a bit smokey.
For being quite new, they are doing a really good job of making some superb rice & curry with an authentic Lankan touch. There are few things minor things they can improve in terms of flavours of the curries, but it mostly lands on the personal preference category. When the portion size is considered, the pricing is not too shabby either. If you happen to be in the area wanting to grab a good meal for your lunch on a lotus leaf, Herali is a really good option.