Big on Sri Lankan and Indian cuisines

RAAM Ravan in Desa Parkcity is a venture that pays tribute to the owners’ Sri Lankan heritage and their love for Indian food.

“We wanted to fuse and serve both cuisines, which are distinctive in terms of spices used,” said Ad Lincoln Wilson, who owns the restaurant with his wife Thanuja Darshani.

“Sri Lankan food uses more black pepper and coconut, while Indian food is more curry- and masala-based. We have cooks from both countries to prepare their respective cuisines.

Kerala Prawn Sambal is a spicy dish, though heat levels can be adjusted upon request.

Kerala Prawn Sambal is a spicy dish, though heat levels can be adjusted upon request.

“Raam Ravan offers a little bit of everything – Ceylonese and Sinhalese food such as appe (hoppers), crab curry and lamprais (rice dish baked with a banana leaf wrap), Northern Indian food like chapati and paratha, and Southern Indian food like thali sets and thosai,” he said.

Lincoln, as he is better known among his friends, said his wife Thanuja named the restaurant after the Ramayana epic.

Besides the chicken thali set pictured here, the restaurant also offers vegetarian, mutton and fish sets.

Besides the chicken thali set pictured here, the restaurant also offers vegetarian, mutton and fish sets.

Raam Ravan has a feature wall dedicated to the ancient Indian poem on the challenges Prince Rama endured to rescue his wife Sita from the demon king Ravana.

“Our restaurant is a simple and unpretentious place, with emphasis on quality and freshness of the food,” said Lincoln, adding that spices, tea powder and selected ingredients are imported from India and Sri Lanka to ensure authenticity.

“It has a rustic village ambience for a laid-back feel, replete with mud walls and atap roof.”

Trinco Crab Curry is a seasonal dish featuring Sri Lankan crabs marinated with Sri Lankan spices, served with a light and flavourful curry.

Trinco Crab Curry is a seasonal dish featuring Sri Lankan crabs marinated with Sri Lankan spices, served with a light and flavourful curry.

One of Raam Ravan’s specialities is the lamprais and Trinco Crab Curry.

“Lamprais is a Dutch Burgher-influenced dish that can be a standalone meal,” said Lincoln, who has 25 years’ experience in the F&B industry.

“The different components, such as meat, ash plantain, Maldivian fish sambal, dhal, brinjal moju, egg and rice boiled in stock are cooked separately, then baked together in a banana leaf wrap.

Lincoln says his wife Thanuja named Raam Ravan restaurant after the Ramayana epic.

Lincoln says his wife Thanuja named Raam Ravan restaurant after the Ramayana epic.

“The fish lamprais has fried fish cutlets, while the chicken and mutton versions come with curry. As it is quite tedious to make, lamprais is only available on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays,” he said of the dish brimming with assorted tastes and textures.

Trinco Crab Curry is a seasonal dish featuring Sri Lankan crabs marinated with Sri Lankan spices, served with a light and flavourful curry.

“I prefer using Sri Lankan crabs as they are juicier and sweeter compared to local flower crabs,” said Lincoln.

Egg Appe (top) and Nutella Appe (bottom). The restaurant’s appe, which is Sri Lanka’s version of appam using coconut water and rice flour, come in both savoury and sweet forms.

Egg Appe (top) and Nutella Appe (bottom). The restaurant’s appe, which is Sri Lanka’s version of appam using coconut water and rice flour, come in both savoury and sweet forms.

The Raam Ravan Platter makes a tasty sharing snack. It features a selection of the restaurant’s snacks on a single platter, including murgh pakora (deep-fried battered chicken), pyaz bhaji (onion rings) and boiled tapioca, accompanied by mint chutney and sambal dips.

Lincoln shared that some of the restaurant’s popular mainstays include Kerala Prawn Sambal, Kerala Grilled Fish, mutton briyani and chicken thali set.

“Our briyani is done in the Punjab style. For the mutton briyani, we saute the mutton and spices together, cook the briyani rice separately with some mutton stock, and serve everything together in a claypot for the final touch,” said Lincoln.

The restaurant’s appe, which is the Sri Lanka’s version of appam using coconut water and rice flour, comes in both savoury and sweet forms.

The Raam Ravan Platter makes a tasty sharing snack.

The Raam Ravan Platter makes a tasty sharing snack.

Light eaters may enjoy the variants, such as Egg Appe, Nutella Appe, Green Pea Masala Appe, Maldives Fish Appe and Appe with Gula Melaka, as a meal on its own.

For dessert, there is the house speciality – Watalappan with Ice Cream – as well as Carrot Halwa with Ice Cream, Curd with Gula Melaka, kheer and gulab jamun.

The watalappan, which resembles a creme brulee, was my personal favourite. The restaurant’s take on this Sri Lankan dessert uses egg, palm sugar, coconut and cashew nuts, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Meanwhile, Raam Ravan’s bar offers a range of martinis, mojitos, margaritas, coffees, teas and non-alcoholic drinks too.

Lincoln recommended the Coconut Cocktail, which uses fresh coconut water.

For mocktails, he suggested the faluda, a popular and sweet Sri Lankan drink made from rose syrup, basil seeds, milk, ice cream and almond.

Source: The Star

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