Located at: Hilton Colombo, 2 Sir Chittampalam A Gardiner Mawatha, Colombo 02, Sri Lanka
Visited on: 10 Mar, 2018
Here’s a food fest that’s still on at the time of publishing this article – the Kottu Fest at Hilton’s The Curry Leaf restaurant, from the 7th to the 17th of March, 2018. I was pretty keen to check it out from the time I heard of it. And, I can tell you, it was definitely worth going for.
The wide array of (conventional and unique) kottus were an add on to The Curry Leaf’s usual dinner buffet. Since kottu is something that, by default, one would like to have a large portion of but, in reality, can’t necessarily do it, we decided to short-list three varieties to try. Our first choice was the Rendang Chicken Kottu. The spices and flavour in this were not as strong as I anticipated – as with the rendang curries you find in Malaysia and the Far East – but did ring in mild tones of tom yum and the like at the back of the palate.
Our second choice was Cheese Kottu, which they offer in combination with chicken, mutton or prawn. We went with prawn. And it was pretty good. Not oozing with cheese, as I anticipated, but still had great flavour. I got the impression by this time that they were not big on gravy in their kottu here, although I had assumed that this would be a (if not the) defining factor for the numerous flavours. They just add in enough to not make the kottu dry but keep it just moist. What made this kottu even better was our choice to go with prawn – the springy crunch from the protein gave the texture of the kottu a wonderful twist.
However, it was clear that we had saved the best for last as we dug into the Green Curry Chicken Kottu. You begin to taste it before you actually eat it. That’s how beautiful an aroma it gives off. Kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass being among the whiffs. And that is what you taste too when you actually do start eating. The herby flavours of the Far East. So refreshing. So unique – to experience in a kottu. Hands down, unanimously voted the favourite at our table. Do try some if you make a visit while the fest is still on.
And a word on the rest of the (standard) buffet. I loved the pumpkin soup. As did I think that the complimentary tempered black-eyed pea dish they served at every table was brilliant (I wouldn’t have minded a take-away portion of these two). I was too full up after the kottu to try the other curries – especially since I was saving a bit of space for the dessert counter. My advice would be to ditch the conventional dessert counter (unless of course you’d like to try some sago pudding and/or watalappan) and head to the lady at the action station. She had pani pol crêpes, a rather soft, disintegrate-in-your-mouth textured aluwa and konda kavum. What we Sri Lankans would describe as ‘hot-hot’ mini konda kavum (mostly seeni but with some pani). So crunchy. So indulgent. And I’m one to ditch seeni for pani any time or day, mind you. But these were special. To finish off we had some ginger tea with hakuru, while being entertained by the calypso band who had made their way to our table. Lovely.