Restaurant review: Ahara @ Amari, Galle | Sunday Observer

Restaurant review: Ahara @ Amari, Galle

Galle is a heritage city laden with many tourist hotspots. The newest star to take its place in this area is Amari - a brand of ONYX Hospitality, Thailand. The beautiful hotel sits on a pristine area of undisturbed beach, the 172 rooms each with a blissful view of the ocean’s soothing waters. The colourful building rises to dominate the skyline, its contrasting hues resonating well with the surroundings. Enroute to their all day dining venue - Ahara, you pass the swimming pool, with its hallmark bright red parasols, that dot the garden. Ahara opens to a breathtaking sea view, with the sunlight filtering in via the large windows and reflecting on the mirrors inside. One can sit inside or outside.

The interior of the restaurant is an endorsement of planning and creative use of space. Three custom built action stations herald the culinary prowess of the kitchen team headed by Chef Indika Jayawardena, who has extensive overseas exposure.

Each station has three chefs at work, cooking almost every item on the lunch buffet - a concept that ensures fresh food at the right temperature.

The regions that Sunday were Sri Lankan, Italian and Asian. This wise concept of making the food at each station ensures that guests enjoy the cooking process, which in turn makes you appreciate the meal. The interior is reflective of the Thai innovations in comfort, safety and smooth service flow. The colourful marble walls gracefully supplement the wooden floors. The chairs are in four colours, again an interesting contrast that keeps with the Amari brand’s use of vibrant colours.

The salads were refreshingly green, with a star fruit starter - a first in local culinary traditions. The lesser known and eaten star fruit has a mélange of healthy input to the human body. A plate of cured prawns arrives; it is a mesmerizing work of art, gently nestled on slices of olive green avocado and a fine net of paprika. It was a welcome change, to the otherwise spicy and devilled prawns one often encounters. The hot butter cuttlefish was also crisp to the bite and juicy inside.

The cubes of beef were laden with taste, although some pieces were mildly tough. The rendition of the augratin cauliflower was one of the best I’ve had in the past year, creamy and soft.

The fish was succulent, with the right flavour of spice, although a bit more colour on the outside would do justice to this dish. There was pasta and other Italian delights. The Sri Lankan station had yellow rice and an assortment of curries, with pickles. The little jute bag with sun dried “coonie isso”- tiny dried prawns spilling onto the wooden counter was a nice touch to the local fare. After such a rewarding lunch, dessert is mildly daunting to the human soul. Yet, somehow the aroma of the sweets leads you to indulge - a smooth chocolate mousse, seasonal fruits, puddings, cakes and traditional sweets.

Lunch at Ahara is a fascinating affair, best suited for a Sunday afternoon. The serene drive to and back from Galle is a bonus.

Amari is here to stay and dazzle us.