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3/5

Yarl Eat House

46/1 Station Road, Wellawatte


The Yarl Eat House is perhaps Sri Lanka's best street-diner, serving spicy crab, prawns, mutton and cuttlefish along with a solid rice and curry, all for a reasonable price.



In my appraisal of the Crab Company I laid out Colombo's crabby dilemma. Basically we live in a country famed for its fleshy crustaceans yet getting your hit of high quality crab in Colombo is nowhere near as easy (or cheap) as it should be.

One place that's always been an exception to this crab conundrum is Yarl Eat House. Quite literally a hole in the wall neither restaurant, nor kadai, nor hawker stand just before the Wellawatte public toilet near the top of Station road.Here they serve a good Jaffna crab curry every day of the week at a very reasonable price.

You are eating off a banana leaf in a hygienically challenged concrete cave, however over the years I've taken easily over a 100 people to sample its goods and never had any complaints. The eat-house's absolute lack of pretension ultimately adds to its appeal though the core premise will always be the tasty and well priced crabs.

Now given my crustacean cravings I've been reasonably obsessed with Yarl for about a decade. At some point I even persuaded a BBC film crew to go and film it and while I feared this sudden burst of publicity would upset its cheap and delicious ecosystem they seemed utterly unfazed by their 15 minutes of fame- even during the shoot their only concession to the BBC film crew was to lower their sarongs from hitched up to a dubious height to a semi-respectable knee length. This general unflappability only increased my faith in the eat house. However, after my recent return from a stint abroad I began to hear it rumors that even my platonic ideal of the Sri Lankan crabbery was beginning to let its standards drop.

Deeply disturbed by these grumblings I set off to make sure that all was well down station road. Arriving at lunch time I was pleased to see that at least virtually no changes had been made to their exterior during my two year absence. The same peeling paint, the same hot and poorly ventilated interior and, if not the same, similar stained sarongs on the assorted serving staff.

The crab too looked like it has always done already cooked and piled onto trays in a glass cabinet by the entrance. All very promising but looks can be deceiving, so I ordered two of Wellawatte's finest crab and waited with bated breath. Surely Yarl, the truest of Colombo's crab dens, wasn't going to let me down.

Seconds later the the crabs were cracked and my fingers went immediately to the meaty crevices by the rear legs. Just one bite was enough to establish that my fears were unwarranted. The crab was as good as it's ever been. These aren't large crustaceans but they are impressively meaty for the price, and honestly quite delicious. There also usually is a good amount of roe incorporated into the curry sauce which proves they understand the art of crab.

Delicious roe aside though, it must be said that their fundamental curry sauce has never been very good; it lacks the murunga leaf induced subtlety you find in the Jaffna preparations, but the quality of their crab (brought from Mannar) makes up for this failing. At Rs 300-400 per meaty and roe packed crab this is pretty unbeatable value.

So the verdict - ignore the rumors, Yarl is still good, but note that I went for lunch. I think the crab is better then, too late in the evening it might not be as fresh and delicious. In their price category (Rs 1000-1500 for a two person crab feed) I still think they are unbeatable and on their best days this can be a case of the savage outshining the aristocrat because a really good crab at Yarl, while it might lack size, in terms of fleshy roe packed satisfaction isn't inferior to the offerings from MOC or Crab Company.

TIP

Try lunch.
All Reviews

The Yarl Eat House is perhaps Sri Lanka's best street-diner, serving spicy crab, prawns, mutton and cuttlefish along with a solid rice and curry, all for a reasonable price.

The Yarl Eat House is perhaps Sri Lanka's best street-diner, serving spicy crab, prawns, mutton and cuttlefish along with a solid rice and curry, all for a reasonable price.

සිංහල බැලූ බැල්මට පේන්නෙ වතුරෙන් තම්බල, පොල් කිරි දාලා හින්දල වගේ. හිත හැදෙන්න කියල තිබ්බෙ තෙල් දාපු කංකුං ටික විතරයි කියන්නකො. ඉස්සර නම් බත් එකට දුන්නෙ කන්න පුළුවන් මාළු බැදල, ඔය බෝල්ලු වගේ. ඒකත් දැන් කටුවල්ලන්ට මාරු වෙලා. හපොයි දෙයියනේ ‘යාල්’

සිංහල ''මහත්තයල රතු බත් ද සුදු බත් ද කන්නෙ?'' කෙසෙල් කොල දෙක මේසෙට එලපු සේවක මිත්‍රයා නුහුරු සිංහලෙන් අපෙන් ඇහුවෙ පුංචි හිනාවකුත් දාන ගමන්.

සිංහල කකුළුවන් කන්න හැමතිස්සේම හොඳ තැනක් තමය යාල් ඊට් හවුස් (Yarl Eat House). මෙය අවන්හලක්වත්, කඩයක්වත්, කඩ තට්ටුවක්වත් නොවන අමුතු 'බිත්තියේ සිදුරක්'. එය පිහිටා තිබෙන්නේ වැල්ලවත්තේ දුම්රියපොළ පාරේ ප්‍රසිද්ධ වැසිකිලිය ඉදිරිපිට. සතියේ හැමදිනකම එහි පිරිනමනවා හොඳ තත්වයේ යාපන කකුළු මාංශ කරියක්, හරිම සාධාරණ මිළට.

Address

46/1 Station Road, Wellawatte

Directions

Heading down Galle Road, turn right on Station Road two streets past the Savoy Cinema at the Wellawatte Junction, Taking WA Silva Mawatha, go straight. You can also access from Marine Drive. There isn't really parking down the narrow lane.

Contacts

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Open 11 AM to 3 PM, 6 PM to 10.30 PM

Cuisine

Jaffna

Price Range

Between Rs. 200 - Rs. 500

Dish Types

Rice And Curry Crab

Ratings Breakdown

Overall Rating
3
Quality Rating
3
Service Rating
4
Ambience Rating
4
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User Reviews
F
3

5/5

0

Foodiegirl

Fantastic seafood curries and healthy portions. A true bath kade

F
3

5/5

0

Foodiegirl

Fantastic seafood curries and healthy portions. A true bath kade

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