Sulthan Palace has been in the same spot, forever. It has witnessed 7 year old me gawking absently at it from the greasy windows of my school van, to teenage me ambling past it, heaving for breath under the weight of my backpack and drooling over the many sweets and nicknacks on display.
I'd never set foot inside it, until the day of this visit. It still baffles me to know that it was a vital element in the background periphery for most of my life- yet I haven't had much to do with it at all.
So when a good pal suggested we go here for dinner, I immediately jumped at the idea.
Their menu is pretty much a small book. You'll need at least 10-15 minutes to go over it and make your decisions unless you know what you want. We settled for the simpler options.
This is the Paneer 65 (Rs. 400). It comes with about 12 cubes of deep-fried paneer, and the classic lime wedge+onion rings duo. Tastewise it's a straightforward, cottage-cheesy snack with a savoury crust that delivers a nice little crisp.
Their Butter Naan clocks in at Rs. 80 a pop, and it's big enough for one person. However, if you're pairing it with a heavier side dish, it's best if you get about 2-3.
The naans were hot-hot, and chewy as opposed to the traditional thin-and-vitreous naans most places offer. This isn't a bad thing, it's just extremely filling. Each naan is generously drizzled with butter (or ghee, I think) and is a great option for when you want to ignore your carb consumption and indulge in a bit of stress/fun eating.
As an accompaniment to the naans, we got a dish of Butter Chicken (Rs. 360). I love butter chicken very much, and while this dish stayed true to the book, it didn't quite make us go 'shaaa'.
The gravy was excellent; it was rich, thick and gooey - but the spice content was low. This is a bit confusing because it boasted a fine, red hue. It comes with an ample amount of chicken, but the chicken was a bit on the tougher side. The dish wasn't warm either. Perhaps ask them to make it fresh, or get something else.
As with most outlets such as this, they have a classic range of drinks and dessert. I'm talking fruit juices, milkshakes, fruit salad, watalappam and so on.
I've heard that their Faluda is up there in the city's list of Best Faludas of All Time. Faluda essentially is a big part of my life in general, so I couldn't skip out on that, and why should I?
It comes served in a gigantic plastic beer mug. You can see the layers it has in the terrible photograph provided. Comprised of rose water, food colouring, kasa kasa, and a gigantic scoop of vanilla ice cream - this behemoth of a diabetic's nightmare also comes topped with sprinkles.
Now here's the thing: you can only take about two sips of this before you feel sick. It's essentially just a mug of sugar- but with different flavours. It's great, don't get me wrong. But unless you're really dedicated, you won't be able to finish it in one go. It's pretty much a death sentence disguised in a mug for a mere Rs. 160.
The Lime Soda is also served in a similar mug, and is also priced a Rs. 160. It's a big glass of fizzy lime juice, basically and is a good choice to go with your meal since it'll probably last throughout.
All the syrup is at the bottom so stir, stir, stir.
A portion of Gulab Jamun costs Rs. 100 and it's a pre-packaged dessert that contains 5 small balls that have been soaking in syrup for waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too long. You only taste the syrup. Bad choice here.
Sulthan Palace is renowned for their Muscat (Rs. 70 a piece). They adorn their shelves with various colourful varieties of this uniquely Sri Lankan dessert, so we couldn't leave without trying one.
The muscat is rich, sticky, and simply fantastic. It's got a number of cashew bits embedded into its deliciously sticky self and will pretty much leave you wanting another piece. And another piece. And another piece.
Expect a bit of awkward staring from the waiters when you go here. They're nice and polite, but I guess it's still weird for two girls to go have dinner at a restaurant such as this, so idk.
If you haven't been around elements like the ones I will list after this sentence, you'll find the place gaudy. Beige-yellow curtains, wooden chairs with red velvet seating and garish white lighting everywhere makes it a bit difficult to use a camera in here. But it's rather homely, in a peculiar way.
Plus, there's this amazing staircase that provides a look into the city's architectural style back in the day. Spot the small retro features like this, and you have yourself an interesting dining experience that'll probably squeeze a small chortle out of you and take you down the memory lane.
I don't know what to tell you. For one, their Butter Chicken could certainly have been better, and the Faluda here might make you ill. But the rest was smooth sailing. Definitely drop in if you haven't and if you have, let me know which dish was your favourite.
Sulthan Place has garnered a lot of mixed reviews from the good people of Colombo and beyond. Our recent experience here was alright.
Sulthan Palace formerly known as Rahumania is a great spot at the Town Hall hub to get a delicious, cheap range of biriyanis, meats and even Sri Lankanized Chinese.
Rahumaniya's is opened late (2am late), seems to offer a wider selection of Indian-inspired dishes, and now benefits from an extensively refurbished interior.
සිංහල උණු උණුවෙ ඒකෙන් කටක් දෙකක් කෑවා කියන්නෙ, ආයෙ ඔළුව උස්සන්න හිතෙන්නෙ නෑ. කාගෙන කාගෙන ගියහැකි එක හුස්මට. යාළු, කොත්තුවට මට්න් කෑලි දාලා තියෙනවා... හොඳ හැටි මිරිස් තුනපහ එක්ක කරිය වගේ හදල හරිම රසයි!
සිංහල සුල්තාන් පැලස් එකේ කෑම පෝෂන් සෑහෙන්න ලොකුයි. ගෙවන ගානට උපරිම වටිනාකම මේ කෑමවලින් ලැබෙනවා.