Yesterday was one of those uncomfortably humid days. My clothing was getting stuck to me as I walked with Xiu to Nirvana Cafe Nirvana Cafe, where we met with Sarah, for a fun dinner of Sri Lankan cuisine.

Inside, the air conditioning was on so low, it was barely noticeable. I was sticking to the chair and trying to fan myself for most of dinner until the AC was turned up towards the very end. I really liked our waiter though, who was welcoming, almost as if he was inviting us into his home, and helped us pick out our menu.

Similar to Indian restaurants, a plate of Pappadum was offered. It wasn’t crisp though, soft and bendable, possibly from the insane humidity.


Our first dish arrived and we were all excited to see that Lamprais reminded us of our Zongzi.


We chose the Lamb Lamprais and it was oily but still the favorite for all three of us. The rice was mixed with fried green plantains, caramelized onions, eggplant, chunks of lamb, and a fried boiled egg. The flavors and textures all went well together. I did think it was odd though that there was one salty and spicy fish fritter inside. It was only about 1″ in diameter so we just ate that first and ate the rest mixed together. The red sauce/gravy provided is unnecessary. My favorite thing about the Lamprais is the base heat. It’s not immediately spicy, but it builds in your mouth over time and never got too hot (at least for me).

lamb lamprais

The String Hopper Kottu (we chose chicken) seems to be like a fried rice, but with chopped crepe instead of rice. It’s served with that same red sauce that came with the Lamprais, but this time we used it. The dish was quite bland and under-seasoned on it’s own.

string hopper kotu2

The Hopper was most interesting, something I had never seen or tasted before. A batter is formed into a bowl-shaped crepe, thicker on the bottom, with holes towards the top. We received four, one with an egg inside, which didn’t add much for me.

hopper with egg

The hopper doesn’t have a lot of flavor on it’s own. It is meant to be eaten with a filling (we chose vegetable) and/or chili paste.


For dessert, we shared the Wattalapan, described as a baked mousse. The dessert is like a hard, dense jello, tasting of only jaggery, with the texture of a few nuts on top. The nuts didn’t have any flavor though; we had to ask to find that out that they were cashews.


We finished every bit of the meal and it was enjoyable. For me, most of the enjoyment came from the trying of new and foreign dishes. Aside from the Lamprais, I wasn’t interested enough in anything else to have it again. It was all good enough though that I will seek out more Sri Lankan food.
posted by jessica at 09:20 AM Filed under Closed, Restaurants. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.