There is a powerful new (well, new to me) force in the world of Wellawatte's dining options- Nalapaham. From their base down an unassuming lane off the Galle Road a team of Tamil cooks is whipping up appams
and curries of such deliciousness that competitors on the Tamil/Jaffna non veg circuit(Yaal
, Hotel Rolex, Hotel Maiyuri
, Katpaham) should tremble.
Seriously. We got a tip on their jungle fowl curry and headed down the lane opposite the Galle Road's hotel Rolex. The place is bright, recently refurbished and so sparkling clean that it was a little disappointing. I mean surely something as exotic, wild and potentially delicious as jungle fowl curry wasn't going to be available in this fairly standard looking eatery- I was expecting something more underground, a small kasippu den-like structure where you had to make a secret sign perhaps.
At best this is going to be a chicken from someone's backyard rather than a bairaha battery-farmed broiler, I scoffed. Still, mastering my most advanced Tamil, I managed to ask the mono-lingual staff kattu kohli irukka?
(have you Jungle fowl?) and was given a little bowl filled with some bony looking bits and pieces and a dark curry gravy. It looked fairly standard and with low expectations I picked up what seemed to be a wing and bit in...
For the first fraction of a second it tasted, well, like chicken but then the flavors just kept going and going. This was some pretty wild chicken. The meat is much firmer and darker than you'd find on your pallid supermarket rooster and the taste is so deep and gamey it's hard to imagine that jungle fowls are effectively the ancestors of everyday chickens. How did human beings take something so delicious and breed it (over thousands of years) into something so tasteless?
To make this curry even more excellent they also fold half boiled jungle fowl eggs into the curry gravy. We caught the final dregs of the evening's serving so got only a few small pieces of egg white but with the yolk we are assured it's mind blowing.
After months eating my way through Colombo- for the YAMU cause- this was my best street curry moment, in fact one of my best Colombo food moments. It's unusual , delicious, uniquely Sri Lankan, inexpensive and served in a pleasant and clean environment. If there is one problem with the curry it's that you really don't get a great deal of meat in your (Rs 300) portion- jungle fowls just aren't very meaty (I suppose that's why our ancestors bred them into chickens). The meat you do get though surpasses that from any chicken I've tasted and you can always get two portions.
It's really an outstanding curry but Nallapham's culinary talents are't restricted to the preparation of gamey birds. We helped ourselves to a couple of Jaffna crabs (will I ever be able to resist?). Good murunga leaf flavored curry, good price (Rs 290) but not quite the sweet fleshiness of Yarl Eat House's offerings.
Better than Maiyuri though and combined with the killer app - jungle fowl curry this is great eating. Crab and game, with a little sambar
, piled on top of pittu or short-cut harischandra noodles- fit for Colombo kings.
If you live or work anywhere near Wellawatte get yourself here and try it for yourself. Even if your aren’t based anywhere near Wellawatte it's worth the trip.
Brush up on your Tamil to improve your kade/street cred.
Nalapaham is for those of you with a sudden mid-day craving for crab - besides the biriyani, idiyapam and kottu, they serve tasty crab, cheap.
There is a powerful new (well, new to me) force in the world of Wellawatte’s dining options- Nalapaham. From their base down an unassuming lane off the Galle Road a team of Tamil cooks is whipping up appams, indiyappams and curries of such deliciousness that competitors on the Tamil/Jaffna non veg circuit(Yaal, Yarl, Hotel Rolex, Hotel Maiyuri, Katpaham) should tremble.
වැල්ලවත්ත භෝජන ලෝකයේ මට අලුතෙන් හමු වූ අලුත් ආකරශනයක් තමයි නල්ලපහම්. ගාලු පාරෙන් ඉවත එතරම් ළු්යාපාරික වශයෙන් සාර්ථක නොවන පටුමගක පිහිටා ඇති ඔවුන්ගේ බොජුන්හලේ දෙමළ කෝකිවරු හදන ආප්ප, ඉඳආප්ප හා ව්යංජන කෙතරම් රසවත්ද කියනවානම් වැල්ලවත්තේ යාල් අවන්හල, යාල් ඊට් හවුස්, රොලෙක්ස් හෝටලය, මයුරි හෝටලය, කට්පහම් වැනි යාපන හා දෙමළ නිර්මාංශ නොවන බොජුන්හල් ජාලය වෙව්ලන්න තරම්.