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Weekend foodlog

Hi Lanka Map Hi Lanka

Friday evening, on a whim, we landed up at Hi Lanka, the newly opened Sri Lankan restaurant in town. Our intent was to sample the Kothu Roti’s advertised in the menu.  Long back, while I was working at a project site in Tamil Nadu, Kothu Porotta used to be my staple dinner. Shredded fluffy porottas cooked with chicken, spices and curry leaves served with a small bowl of chicken gravy, it was a wholesome meal. I hoped to relive that nostalgia.

Hi Lanka was a one room shop front located on Smt. Santosh Yadav Marg, near NH8, bordering Sector-31. Our hearts sank when we saw a “government approved” drinking place next door. However, having come such a long way, we decided to proceed with dinner.

There was a plastic table for 3 in the open. Inside, the Sri Lankan Tamil chef slogged at a shiny, brand new steel kitchen counter. The menu didn’t offer much choice except Kothu Roti and String Hopper (Idiyappam). We ordered vegetarian and non vegetarian Kothu Roti’s and spent 40 minutes watching patrons of the drinking place before dinner was served. Quantity was substantial. The tomato and grated coconut salad tasted nice. Vegetarian Kothu Roti had a tonne of Soya and smelled of egg. Non vegetarian had shredded chicken and finely chopped, cabbage, carrots and beans. It tasted bland. No comparison to the superlative Kothu Porotta of Tamil Nadu, not even a pale shadow if it. A complete letdown.

Visiting restaurants promising exotic cuisine, especially in cosmopolitan cities like Gurgaon is risky. These restaurants have to cater to a motley crowd. The original recipes are therefore tampered with and watered down to produce a fit for all product, which lacks the flavour and aroma of the authentic dish. Something similar seems to have happened in Hi Lanka. The Kothu Roti, although similar in form totally lacked the spice and vigour of the original.

Check out Hi Lanka, only if you must.

To offset the fiasco of Friday evening, we visited the Rajasthani counter at Dilli Haat for lunch. It is completely vegetarian, but have countless choices. The food is supposedly authentic. We took Special Rajasthani Thali which came with Bajra and Missi roti, dal-baati, churma ki laddu, ker-sangri, gatte ki sabzi, rice, kadhi, side dishes and achaar, all for Rs.150.00. The makki ki roti and sarson ka saag cost us Rs.50.00. Drowned it all with kulhad chai (Rs.20.00). The radiance of a satiated belly shone brightly on our faces.

Dilli Haat, as I indicated in a previous blog, is an exhibition centre showcasing arts and crafts from different states of India. Apart from the close to 200 stalls devoted to handicrafts, utensils, paintings and clothes, it also has 20 odd counters serving regional cuisine from different parts of India. This time around, we spotted counters of Awadh and Orissa. A repeat performance? maybe later.

Categories: Gastronomique
  1. 369
    November 22, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    Hi there – You must have visited Hi LANKA, soon after they opened. Please check out the place again. Food is authentic, taste is fantastic, new Sri Lankan snacks have also been introduced. The service in informal, friendly. COOL PLACE TO CHILL after a hard days work. The place is patronized by many locals. We have seen Sri Lankans eat there too.

    • tailrace
      November 24, 2009 at 8:46 am

      Hi 369
      Thank you very much on the update. We went to Hi Lanka last month. Probably they have improved the setup. The staff have been extremely courteous to us too. I noticed that Hi Lanka has a counter inside Spencer supermarket in MGF Mall. I shall try out some time and update the blog.

      Thanks Again…

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