Stepping into the newly opened restaurant ‘Flavors’ – is much like setting foot on a microcosm of India itself.
Words Prasadini Nanayakkara Photographs Indika de Silva
This new venture of the Galadari Hotel is to cater to the much-favoured Indian cuisine mindful of its gaining popularity not just in Sri Lanka but the world over. And Flavors presents itself with an authenticity not just in the cuisine itself but in the look and feel as well – all of which are driven by ardent attention to the finer details.
The entrance is adorned in traditional Indian décor, as is the interior of dark mahogany, with wall displays of vibrant colours characteristic of Indian culture. “Inspiration for an Indian restaurant came with the fact that many of our house guests are Indian tourists and what’s more Indian food has become popular among a varied palate specially among Sri Lankans,” said Ananda Warakawa, Director Food and Beverage. “We travelled to India with a local chef and investigated not only the many flavours of India, but also its culture and arts,” he added further on the restaurant’s holistic approach.
Indian Chef Gersome Frank heads the kitchen at Flavors and has designed a menu of approximately 100 dishes that covers the regional variations in tastes across India. Thus dishes from Northern and Southern parts of India can be discovered. Cuisine from Punjab, Kerala, Karanataka, Tamil Nadu and Andra Pradesh compose an endless choice for both vegetarian and non-vegetarian palates. From starters of soups and platters to main courses such as Hyderabad Biriyani to a selection of tandoori spicy delectables such as kebabs, chicken tikka and curries, the tasteful pickings are many.
To preserve authenticity many of the spices, which are at the heart of Indian cuisine are brought directly from India. “Just as a building requires a strong foundation the same applies to these dishes – the ingredients have to be right,” said Chef Gersome. Among the large varieties of Indian spices even cinnamon is specific as it is starkly different in flavour and aroma to cinnamon found in Sri Lanka. Similarly, wide varieties of chilli including a Kashmiri chilli that adds but a faint touch of spice to the dish are brought down especially for the diners at Flavors. A welcome addition to any meal the crunchy papadam, also comes in a selection, made with potato, sago, tomato and rice bases. Authentic Indian rice not only makes for an essential staple cuisine but is also pound for flour to make batter for the many Indian favourites such as idly and dosai.
At the end of a meal Flavors offers a range of desserts, to name a few; the sumptuously sweet gulab jamun and rasgulla drenched in sugar syrup and carrot, beetroot and pineapple halwas are among the temptations for the sweet tooth. With multitudes to choose from, guests arriving at the Flavors are greeted with a traditional Indian drink – Panakam. A unique concoction of jaggery, tamarind, a hint of cardamom and ginger powder not only makes this a refreshing drink but also kindles an appetite for a hearty meal. Buttermilk and lassi are among the other traditional Indian drinks available at Flavors.
The atmosphere at Flavors is equally transporting, in that not only are all meals served in the very Indian copper utensils instead of ceramic ware, the chink of metal joins the aroma infused air along with classical Indian music of gazelles and instrumentals. While you lose yourself in this special enchantment, steaming dishes arrive and are placed in special tabletop containers to keep them warm. As if the senses are not indulged enough Flavors has one more treat to offer – this time a taste of Indian culture. An arts centre at the restaurant displays a variety of crafts that represent the wide array of cultures across the regions and its elaborate history. Guests can also purchase an artifact as a memento of a hearty meal had, which was more than just a treat for the palate but an experience in itself.
Flavors, Galadari Hotel, Colombo
Tel: (+94 11) 254 4544