Colombo 12 isn't running out of kottu/short eat spots and we weren't going to let one of the more popular ones in the area just go to waste.
Lanka Hotel from the outside is pretty much on par with the generic Pilawoos style spot in the heart of Armour Street. We didn't necessarily have the highest hopes for this establishment but was pleasantly surprised within 5 minutes of entering the place.
Bustling with people from all walks of life, whiffs of smells from the kitchen and the afternoon sun streaming in through the glass walls and bouncing off the colourful packets of crisps and such, the ambience at Lanka Hotel was like that of any other place of its variety.
But, unlike most others, Lanka hotel happened to be a lot cleaner than expected. And while people came and went even before we had even placed our order, we didn't feel all that unsafe. Mostly because of the old gentleman who came up to us and asked us what we wanted and made sure we didn't feel like a fish out of water or even remotely unsafe even if it isn't the norm for a girl to be alone there.
While the menu board indicated signs of fruit juice, the staff informed us that in terms of beverages they limited themselves to just soft drinks and tea (Rs. 50). And as expected, we stuck to the tea.
Pulling through as a wonderfully milky cup of frothy goodness, the presence of kahata was felt strongly and the sugar content together with the rest of the elements in the cup added up to be one of the nicest cups of tea we have had in a while. If you do happen to check out Lanka Hotel, skip the sodas and go with the tea. Trust us on this, it's worthy of your appetite.
Rice, hoppers, short eats and kottu Plus a whole feature of colourful Indian sweets and such, the food menu at Lanka Hotel isn't all that special per say, so we just stuck to basics (not like we had a choice) and went with the Chicken and Cheese Kottu (Rs. 520).
A plate full of chopped up kottu roti in an ensemble of spring onions, capsicum, onions, cheese and a whole heap of deep-fried chicken bits, we really, really liked this one.
The presence of cheese was felt but not too strong and whilst the kottu didn't turn out to be all that spicy, the addition of lime and chilli paste wound up being a winner in our eyes.
How does one go to such an establishment and not get the short eats? Thus, we wound up with a whole tray full of them.
The Egg Pattie (rs. 50) turned out to be a fluffy lump of dough with an egg and potato ensemble hidden inside it. Not all that spicy, but good nonetheless, it was as good as you could expect.
The Chicken Samosa (Rs. 50) came as a nice surprise. With a nice crispy outer shell and bits of shredded chicken and onion on the inside, it was more or less like a mix between the normal chicken filling and chicken floss. Spicy and altogether quite nice.
The Pol Sambol Bun (Rs. 70) was introduced to us as the Maldive Fish Bun, but it was more pol sambol than Maldive fish, and somehow it was the only one that even remotely differed from everything else. Spicy, drier than preferred but having enough Maldives fish to add a heap of flavour to the curry, the ensemble came with a sweet bun which wasn't all that ideal but did all right at the end.
Our final pick of the day came in the shape of a Beef Roti (the rectangular, thin one). Clocking in at Rs. 80, it was more potato curry, and maybe 1 cm sized piece of beef in the mix. All in all, there wasn't anything all that special about it, so, we wouldn't necessarily recommend it.
Cleaner than your average the kadey, Lanka Hotel proved to be a pretty successful venture after all. Sure, it isn't the fanciest place around, but if you're looking for a place that's good enough for you to get a full meal out of, we suggest going with this.
Get the cheese kottu, it's worth it.
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