My friend Zoya has a weakness for Indian food. Seeing as we were heading up to Tremblant for her birthday, I figured surprising her with her favourite food was a must.
I would not say that I know much, if anything, about Indian food. I wanted to get her something different though, something that would wow her. So, with numerous recommendations, I decided to take a Sri Lankan approach. And it worked. Not only was she in awe, but also impressed at how different each dish tasted from one another.
I spent almost 20 minutes on the phone with the chef at the Somerset location beforehand – discussing the dishes and what would be the best ones to get. The conversation had my mouth watering and as a result, ordering more than we needed. But that's ok. We ended up with our own buffet at home – so fun. And this food makes great leftovers.
We started off with Kadali Vadai, fried patties of spicy lentil and urid dhal (similar to falafels) and served with a spicy green chutney.
I found the Vegetable Thali to be a fantastic option on the menu as it allows you to savour so many wonderful dishes, six to be exact. I grabbed two orders of this which gave me more than 6 different dishes and doubles of others. Each curried vegetable was to die for. The selection changes with the season but in this particular case we got the chick peas, an insanely delicious bean dish, a sweet and spicy squash dish that was my personal favourite, yummy cabbage, creamed spinach, eggplant, potatoes with sauce, and mixed veg. This also came with steamed Basmati rice.
I fell in love with the Curried Shrimp bathing in a creamy coconut sauce. And the Tandoori Chicken was also very nice, roasted and marinated in Ceylonta's dry tandoori spices.
Another one of my personal favourites was the Beef String Hopper Kothu. Thin strips of noodles and chopped beef stir-fried with a fine blend of onions, herbs and spices. Sooooo good. And also not too spicy so it gave your palate a bit of a break. Although I know my friend and I know she likes things very hot, which is why I ordered a side of Katta Sambol – a mixture of coarsely ground red chillies, chipped Maldive's dried fish and onions in lemon juice that is very HOT. It's meant to be added to your dishes to give them more spice, but some crazy people can eat it as is. For us wimps, there's the Ceylonta Style Chutney, a milder hot sauce made from blended coconut, chili and lime, which is also a very nice complement to the dishes.
And of course, who could forget the Nan Bread and Roti, which slop up all the amazing sauces on your plate.
I didn't take a picture of everything. These aren't the easiest dishes to make look pretty. But believe you me, it was very satisfying. Although I did eat the next day, I didn't really have to.
If the service in the restaurant is as good as it is over the phone, you're sure to have a great, memorable lunch or evening dinner. Apps range from $2 to $5 and mains $10 to $17.
403 Somerset Street West, Ottawa