Thursday Best Bites - Ceylonta Restaurant, Ottawa

My first plate...

Where:  Ceylonta Restaurant, 403 Somerset Street West, Ottawa, Ontario

What:  Buffet Lunch

Comments:  A friend introduced me to this gem last week.  First time here for me and first time having Sri Lankan food and what a revelation.  Excuse my ignorance when I describe it as Indian food, but not.  Similar flavour profile, but different nuances and flavour combinations that I have not experienced before.

The restaurant itself is rather small.  Do not be put off by the dimly lit corner where the buffet is, the food taste and quality more than make up for the dim lighting (I suspect a few replaced light bulbs would remedy this).  There were many items to choose from on the menu ranging from Tandoori chicken to curried beans to a wonderfully creamy squash cooked with the skin on.  The squash was the best thing that I ate that day - butternut squash simmered in coconut milk and mildly spiced.  The range of curries available was impressive.  Many vegetarian options for those so inclined.  I truly did appreciate the chickpea curry - not from canned - delectable.  If you have not recently had soaked/cooked chickpeas, you don't know what you're missing.  The spicy curried green beans were also flavourful and spicy.

I must take a separate paragraph to comment on THE most delectable, succulent, juicy chicken breast morsels that I have ever eaten.  As I took a bite, I thought it was chicken thigh meat, however, the colour of the meat said to me that it had to be a breast.  At one point, my dining companion stuck her fork into the chicken to cut it and it actually squirted hot chicken juices across the table.  How's that for chicken breast - which I'm sure many of us have seen mistreated at various establishments.  We confirmed our suspicions on the cooking method by asking our server.  She was more than happy to share.  Chicken breast, cooked over a very, very low heat for a long time - about 3 hours - in a savoury sauce of tomato, tamarind, onions and more.  Their patience was our reward.  Need to go back and try the Thali for dinner - six separate dishes of curried vegetables or meat with steamed rice.  Oh my...

My second plate...I could have gone back...

Ceylonta on Urbanspoon

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