Restaurant review : The Alhambra | Sunday Observer

Restaurant review : The Alhambra

Chef Ziyad Khan
Chef Ziyad Khan

Indian cuisine has come to be venerated among foodies over the past few years. The Alhambra Restaurant is perhaps the pioneer North Indian venue in Colombo, serving discerning guests for over four decades.

Nestled in the lobby of the Ramada Colombo the restaurant is a pulsating culinary choice - where you can enjoy their Friday Night Buffet or the a-la-carte menu. We chose the latter for lunch on a Tuesday afternoon. A beverage synonymous with Inidan food is the lavish lassi - and the mango lassi is an exotic delight. A little bit of colour could have been achieved in the concoction of this very enjoyable drink to stimulate its visual appeal. Lunch options on the menu are thoughtfully laid out with choices for vegetarian and non- veg.

The Thali Maharaja was my choice, as it is a hallmark dish. The Thali is a celebration of spices and distinct flavours (not to be confused with the saffron – gold chain given as a symbol of love during a wedding ceremony, which also bears the same name). As the Thali was being made, a plate of crispy thin pappadam is kept with an assortment of chutney. Inidan chutney is able to take your senses into realms of bliss. The fresh chutney is a nice contrast to the bottled variety that we often use at home. The Thali is complete, it is presented on a silver platter- the central item being a mutton biriyani. I must point out here that many Sri Lankans have erroneously learnt to say Buriyani (mispronunciation) instead of Biriyani, which is the correct and elegant way to say this name.

Within this culinary domain on the plate a miniature silver dishes loaded with mixed salad, jalfrezi, dal tadka, vegetable samosa, mutton with an additional accompaniment of naan and curd. Wow what a stunning display of creative prowess by Chef Ziyad Khan. The biriyani was moist and oozing with flavour and a regal treat. The naan can be eaten by dipping into the other dishes, tasting them one by one. In addition a gosht gulati kebab was served, this dish made from minced mutton was embellished with fine taste and the freshness of the mutton was nicely sustained.

The Thali is a lovely option for lunch as it can be enjoyed over a prolonged conversation with friends and family. The waiter offers me the menu again for dessert. The spices and flavours of the Thali had me totally subdued that I could not proceed to indulge in the sweet domain, although I spotted one of the signature dishes the juicy gulab jamun. The Alhambra has endured for decades maintaining a consistent culinary perfection that radiates in every dish. The food and portions are value for money.