Saturday, April 24, 2010
5 Star kiri koss
This all came about because the past few days I had a visitor from abroad who loves local food. And we were running out of options of "decent" Sri Lankan restaurants to take him to. After all there are only a handful. Suddenly I remembered that someone had told me about a nuga something at the Cinnamon grand and found out more details about it. And this was how ended up walking into Nuga Gama at Cinnamon Grand on a rainy friday night.
It felt like that we were entering the set of Survivor as there were torches lit on both sides of the path and in a few seconds we had left the city behind and walked into a typical village. The romanticised view of the picture book village I might add. But still the atmosphere was remarkable. Thatched mud huts around a centerpiece of a giant nuga tree.
What I can't believe is how I had not heard of it for so long or seen it. And I visit the cinnamon grand quite a lot. The fact that it is hidden away in the back yard and to enter it you have to go through the cheers pub could be one of the reasons. But I had not come acros even one article or face book status update or anything like that other than that whisper sometime back.
Fortunately it had stopped raining. Nuga gama can not be experienced in the rain unless you like the thought of walking to the hut where the buffet is under an umbrella.
We had a table set up under the nuga tree but it was damp humid and hot. The atmosphere though was amazing. The staff are dressed in traditional sarong and baniyan and the captain is dressed up as a headman. The buffet consists of all local delicasies. And everything is cooked right in front of you in clay pots on open fires.
They even have toddy to drink which is nice though I was adviced by the waiter it should not be drunk in the night as it ferments in the stomach.
I only wished the pricing too could be as authentic as the village atmosphere.
Well personally I don't like to pay five star prices to eat string hoppers, red rice, kohila and kiri kos. Predictably I found the food dull and tasteless I am sure it has been made to suit a foreigners palate knowing no Sri Lankan would visit this place of their own accod unless they have someone to entertain. But my guests enjoyed it I think.
However I could not help but feel absolute admiration for the money making skills of those who run this hotel. This would have been one of the cheapest restaurants to invest in. No light fittings (they use lamps - you can see how dark it is in the picture) or air conditioners. Absolutely cheap to construct since its only mud huts. No expensive kitchen equipment. And no expensive food items. This is stuff which you would find in a hundred rupee lunch or dinner packet. And they are selling it for roughly fifteen hundred bucks per person. Don't let me start on the price of drinks one round of drinks and dinner for four came to ten grand. And the place was crowded.
Is it pure genius or sheer greed what do you think?