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4/5

New Banana Leaf

720 Galle Road, Colombo 3


They do chicken biryani pretty darn good and now have crab and lamb on the menu.



Banana Leaf is back. Well, 'New' Banana Leaf. Those golden grains ensconced in thick, emerald palms, the hefty hunks of masala-smothered chicken, the crispy deep-fried boiled egg...this was one of my - and perhaps even Colombo's - favourite Sunday lunchtime repasts. When Banana Leaf suddenly vanished from the buth lunch circuit no one really knew why - and it was a cause of minor despair amongst hard core fans. While a solitary sheet of A4 paper stuck to their front door promised a speedy return, the sun-faded blue ink indicated otherwise.

But as promised, the (rice) king has finally returned, conquering Taprobane (the bookshop) to construct a shiny new, palm-patterned kingdom, complete with excellent, attentive attendants. Moving a few doors down from its former location, the once ubiquitous yellow rice and masala chicken packets have finally resumed their place in Colombo's carb-happy dining scene.

Mounds of saffron rice await behind glass walls, the most generous portions of succulent, reddish-orange chicken and deep pools of thick, savoury hothi. Under 'The Banana Leaf Specialties' comes this legendary meal, christened the chicken biriyani (Rs. 350). But ignore the name - this is nothing like an authentic biriyani, more a savoury rice and meat dish, that despite its bold borrowing of the expectation laden name is about as satisfying as you'd expect an authentic biriyani to be - just different. There's something very special about the masala chicken - the generous, whopping portion aside, the meat is tender and soft - packed to the brim with spicy, piquant flavours. Instead of being fried to death like the standard biriyani accompaniment, the chicken is more gently handled, and liberally brushed with a heavy masala paste.

But while we wax lyrical about the 'biriyani' that Banana Lead is so well-known for, they also offer other dishes: crab, mutton, prawn and so on - none of which we've tried. And dessert wise they serve a formidable wattalapam - just the right consistency, and with that perfect burnt-caramel look and taste.

While Banana Leaf - actually New Banana Leaf - may be under different management, it's still the same, taste wise. And true to their name, all meals are plated on the glistening green frond of a banana leaf, infusing that special leaf-wrapped taste that makes you question the point of ever eating on a plate. In short, we're glad they're back. All hail the New Banana King.

TIP

Try the canonical 'chicken biriyani' - not really a biriyani, but still excellent. All food is served on a banana leaf.
All Reviews

Good biriyani with crab and lamb options. They close early at night, so best stop by for lunch.

The New Banana Leaf isn't all that "new" anymore, but their chicken biryani is still pretty darn good. It's got some local influence to it, but most of it works quite well.

Banana Leaf is back. Those golden grains ensconced in thick, emerald palms, the hefty hunks of masala-smothered chicken, the crispy deep-fried boiled egg...this was one of my - and perhaps even Colombo's - favourite Sunday lunchtime repasts.

සිංහල සත්තයි! ඒ දසුන දක්කත් හරි නෙත් දැහැන් බිඳ කඳුලු ඉනුවා. කිව්වට විශ්වාස කරන්න යාළු පළවෙනි වතාවට දැක්කෙ බනානා ලීෆ් එකේ භෝජනාගාරයෙ එක මේසයක විතරක් කට්ටිය ඉන්නව. හප්පේ.. ඉස්සර, ඔ්කට ඇඟිල්ලක් ගහන්න බෑ. කොටින්ම, කට්ටියක් කාලා නැගිටිනකම් තව කට්ටියක් බලාගෙන ඉඳපු දවසුත් තිබ්බ.

සිංහල පංකාදු පහයි!. මට්න් නම් අන්න මට්න් ඈ… ඒ කරියට එයාලා කියන්නෙ පෙපර් මට්න් කියල. මම හිතන්නෙ ඒ නිසාම වෙන්න ඕන හොඳ සැර ගතියකුත් තියෙනව. පාන්, පරාටා කන්න කියාපු.

සිංහල ඒ වුනාට මෙතන එහෙම නෑ. බිරියානි බත් එක වෙනම බිත්තරේ වෙනම සලාද, ග්‍රීන් පීස් ව්‍යංජනය, උම්බලකඩ සම්බෝල වෙනම. රයිස් ඇන්ඩ් කරි එකත් එහෙමයි. බත් වෙනම එළවළු වෙනම හරිම පිළිවෙලයි. හිතේ හැටියට බෙදාගෙන කන්න පුළුවන්. අනික ව්‍යංජන ජාති බෙදා හදා ගන්නත් පුළුවන්.

සිංහල බනානා ලීෆ් ආපසු ඇවිල්ලා. මෙහි මසාලා ක්‍රමයට පිසින ලද චිකන් කුට්ටි, ගැඹුරු තෙලේ බදින ලද තැම්බූ බිත්තර ආදිය සමග බුරියානි ඉස්සර මගේ ප්‍රියතම ආහාරයක්. මගේ විතරක් නෙවෙයි, බොහෝ කොළඹ වැසියන්ගේ ප්‍රියතම ඉරිදා දිවා භෝජනය තමයි, එය.

Address

720 Galle Road, Colombo 3

Directions

It's before you get to Barefoot on Galle Road, just before the St. Kilda's Lane turnoff. Big green building.

Contacts

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