Giving competition to up-scale vegetarian restaurants and your basic saivar kadeys is Sudarshan Veg, a restaurant that is tucked away in a road in Bambalapitiya. I had serious doubts about the quality of food here because:
So, I began my investigation.
The first item for the investigation was Pani Puri, one we got off their Indian Chaats selection. We received a portion of 6 puris for Rs 185.
While the puris were slightly disfigured, they were packed to the brim with spiced potatoes, chopped onions and coriander. With the combo of the spicy mint flavoured water and watered down sweet tamarind chutney, the end result was similar to what you would find at a pani puri stall in India, except it felt more hygienic.
What arrived next was the North Indian Thali (Rs 600) followed by a Sabzi Dum Biriyani (Rs 565).
The Thali had a generous amount of white rice and roti along with a mushroom soup, spiced potatoes, paneer curry, dhal, mixed veg curry, a dessert, a glass of buttermilk, and two flattened veg kebabs.
The accompanying curries were really well spiced and bound perfectly with the rice and soft roti. The mushroom soup, which I confused for kheer, tasted super creamy and buttery. I loved everything about the Thali from the silky paneer to the refreshing, spiced buttermilk and the dessert, kesari bhath, was well prepared without killing you with the sugar and ghee.
Truly, a Thali worth the price.
Vegetarian biriyani is usually a disgrace to the biryanis overall, but this particular biriyani put all the chicken biriyanis sold in Colombo to shame. With so much of masala infused into every long grain of basmati, I didn't miss the taste of chicken at all. Neither dry nor insipid, this was of the best of biriyanis I have had!
On a sweeter note, we also tried their Badami Kheer and Phirni. Both were priced at Rs 285 each, but the Phirni was complimentary for some reason, which was really nice.
Topped with almond flakes, this kheer had a thick consistency and tasted richly of almonds (badam). Sweet and creamy, this was one of the ideal ways to end my Indian meal - really helped ease out all of that masala from my oesophagus.
A rice pudding of sorts, phirni is a dish I have avoided all my life. But this was the best phirni I have had in the past 20 years of my existence as a Biriyani loving mortal. Served chilled, it worked well with the humidity, and tasted divine with the milky goodness coming through.
Would I recommend this dessert to anyone? Hell, yes.
The service is what you would anticipate at any restaurant.
Attentive staff coupled with smiles made our experience one without complaints.
In terms of the ambience, this restaurant hasn't spent its bucks hiring an expensive interior designer.
It's brightly lit and there's plenty of seating, including upstairs and outdoors.
While the interior doesn't stick to any Indian theme to highlight the cuisine served, it looks like any normal family-friendly restaurant you would find in India.
Judging by the restaurant's mediocre exterior, I walked in expecting a very dull experience.
But surprise! It was one of the best Indian veg restaurants I have patronized in Sri Lanka! The mainstream veg restaurants will have some serious competition, if Sudarshan Veg won't compromise on its quality.
However, slightly disappointing is the fact that they don't serve some of the classic items mentioned on their menu such as Dahi Kachori and Jalebi with Rabri.
However, on the whole, will go again. For the biriyani.