The menu at Blue Elephant is dominated by South Indian staples with a scattering of Sri Lankan specialities. However, behind the menu is an exciting list of Sri Lankan dishes accessible only with 24-hours notice.
Ask in advance for ambulthiyal, a dry and sour fish curry that, when made traditionally, is slow cooked until it hardens into jerky-like chunks. The reason it’s absent from the regular menu is it’s difficult to make. Aside from the time taken to dry out the fish, the dish relies on the availability of a rare fruit called goraka, which gives the curry its distinct sourness.
Blue Elephant’s Sunday brunch is centred around the country’s many forms of bread and bread-like snacks. Try pittu, steamed cylinders of ground rice and coconut; and kirri bath, which is similar to rice pudding made with coconut milk. Usually they’re served with dhal, curry and a selection of sambals. Blue Elephant’s sambals are all homemade. There’s a dry coconut pol sambal, with dried fish flakes, lemon, garlic and black pepper; and a seeni sambal, made with sweetly stewed onions, tamarind and curry leaves.
Hoppers – bowl-shaped pancakes made with fermented rice and coconut – feature on Friday nights with an unlimited buffet and live music. Get them with a beer or some arak and a crab curry.
Kothu roti is the most enjoyable pre (or post) hangover dish you’ve probably never heard of. Roti is chopped into coarse strands and then tossed into a wok with whatever you want – egg, vegetables, curry, cheese – whatever.