For years, the set of Chinese Dragon Cafes have been one of the most popular places to get Chinese food in and around Colombo. And now, they've ventured into the more local side of things with R N C.
R N C, if you haven't already figured it out yet, stands for rice and curry. And judging by their Facebook page, they're doing it pretty well. We haven't tried a buth kadey in a while, thus, come one fine Wednesday afternoon, after a stream of misunderstandings and various other paraphernalia, we ended up with 3 heavy set lunch packets to go all out on.
True, while it is done by Chinese Dragon Cafe, the concept and menu of R N C aren't available at every outlet. Just the Pelawatte branch at the moment actually. And they don't charge a delivery charge for orders above Rs. 300 - so, if you live anywhere near the Pelawatte/ Battaramulla area, you're in luck!
Nonetheless, if you don't live near the said area, but want to get your hands on their buth packets, they are kind enough to make arrangements as they can.
The menu at R N C isn't vast. Like we stated previously, it's a set menu comprised of 4/5 curries and rice. We went with the Chicken (Rs. 250), Veg (Rs. 200) and Fish (Rs. 240).
Owing to the fact that the same exact curries were in every packet, we're going to ration our descriptions. Right now, the Murunga Curry. It's not often that you find murunga curries included in lunch packets, much less in lunch packets that stick to just delivery and take away orders. And even fewer who nails it.
Fortunately for us, R N C happened to tick every single box on this rather unlikely event. Creamy, seasoned with the right balance of flavours and cooked to perfection, we absolutely loved it. Sure, they haven't been all that generous with the helping of hodi they had included, but the little they gave, carried us a long, long way.
The tempered potato stuck to its roots and came out as a fiercely spicy concoction of well-cooked potato smothered in chilli flakes and onion. Bent towards a hell sort of red, it was brilliant. Spicy as hell with not too soft, not too hard potatoes, this went really, really well with the other curries on this one.
Coming at a pretty reasonable Rs. 240, the fish in the fish rice packet was served in the form of a maalu ambul thiyal. What it actually tasted like was a form of middle ground between a fish curry and ambul thiyal, if we're going to be really honest. However, boasting some rich goraka and tamarind notes, it was quite delicious.
The tempered ladies' fingers seemed even madder than the tempered potato. Fiercely spicy, yet presenting strong hints of sweetness, this was a bizarre take on something we've eaten pretty frequently - and not in a bad way.
Packed with spice to the point of having a thick cake of spice covering it, the chicken was fabulous. Cooked to perfection and served in giant sizes, it was our favourite.
But, combined with the tempered potato and the ladies fingers, the overall flavour of the rice packets were on the spicy side. Call me weak, I don't really mind, but, the addition of the murunga curry would have made the world of a difference. Actually, anything from dhal curry to creamy potato curry to just plain old kiri hodi would have helped to tone down this spiciness a bit.
The food at R N C is pretty good. Individually, the curries were fantastic. But together, they made us cry because of its rich spicy notes. We suggest either requesting for or getting some hodi to go before you eat this.