Lonely Vegetarian in Sri Lanka

5 Jul

Hi. Earlier this year, in April, I was in Sri Lanka on an invitation from the University of Moratuwa, Faculty of Architecture, which has a B.Des course under it;s department of Architecture. I was there for two reasons – 1. as an external examiner for the final year B.Des juries (they call it comprehensive design project, and I shall hopefully discuss my experiences of the juries in another post). 2. I conducted a three day workshop on hand book binding for the 2nd (now 3rd year) students of B.Des.

Moratuwa is a town around 30 kms down south of Colombo, on Galle Road (which is one of the oldest roads in Sri Lanka). My hosts had made arrangements for my stay in another beautiful place on Mt. Lavinia (this place also has a heritage hotel, which was originally the residence of the British Governor). I was put up Hotel Palm Beach, which was a very tranquil place. The rooms were offset, (rather than along a corridor as we have in most Indian hotels), giving each guest a high degree of privacy. Although most of the time I was away to the university during the day, the stay was a memorable one. They had complimentary breakfast by the poolside. My schedule was such that I only got to see the pool attendant cleaning the pool every morning, while I was munching on my breakfast. he he ….

The first day on arrival in Colombo, I was taken for lunch by my hostess, Prof. Melanie Dissanayeke. We went to a place called, Paradise Road. To be on the safer side, I ordered an Indian sounding dish. Yes, there are a lot of options for those who prefer non-vegetarian, and this is what I got…


the chicken masala & rotis at Paradise Road

the chicken masala & rotis at Paradise Road

The chicken was finger licking, while the rotis were of maida (refined flour, normally used for cookies in india) making them more rubbery towards the ned of the lunch. The ambience was great, with a hand written menu of cocktails by the bar – 


the cocktail menu, handwritten on a blackboard

the cocktail menu, handwritten on a blackboard

The story doesn’t end here. Back in the hotel, during dinner, I thought I will go for something vegetarian. The only thing on offer was a rice plate with dal curry. I asked for just plain rice with dal, and what I got was a full platter with some plain basmati rice, papad and nice sweet mango pickle (reminded me of mom). Along with it was dal curry (yellow lintel) with rather thick gravy, a dry vegetable dish made of green peas (I guess frozen) and kaju, french beans and surprisingly, another dish of deep fried thin slices of brinjals. Unfortunately, I did not carry my camera to the dining hall, but yes, the small notepad and a pen came in handy. They laid out the table beautifully. The dinner was filling, albiet a bit dry for Indian tastes. 🙂


camera: no / pen & paper: Yes

camera: no / pen & paper: Yes


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