RESTAURANT REVIEW : Great Wall Restaurant | Sunday Observer

RESTAURANT REVIEW : Great Wall Restaurant

Chef Ekanayake, and Sujith
Chef Ekanayake, and Sujith

Thursday is somewhat an awkward day of the week, perhaps that last serious day of the week which opens up to the fantastic Friday feeling. Finding a venue for dinner was quite a task and we settled to check out one of Colombo city’s oldest restaurants. The Great Wall has been around for 27 years, serving an array of far eastern cuisine.

Conveniently located at Edward Lane, Colombo 4 the venue is one that has been built on strong family values. It is one of the few restaurants in Colombo that does not serve any liquor, encouraging families to come and dine. As we walked in through its heavy wooden doors the venue transported us into the land of the orient.

One of the first things to stand out is a large white porcelain vase, adorned with beautiful flowers. The wooden partitions display paintings of Chinese girls. Our friendly waiter Sujith escorts us to a table. Sujith has been here for 20 years and knows most customers by their names. This is a vital element in the hospitality industry. The venue can seat 90 persons.

The menu has a wide selection of dishes from China, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. The head chef is Somasiri Ekanayake, who has been here since day one, and has truly mastered his culinary art- as we would soon find out. Whilst having my lime juice I decided to walk around and appreciate the fine art collection on display. On one corner are statues of two warriors of the Ming Dynasty. The glass partition opens up to a pond where another large stone vase sits. We skip the routine of having soup and head for the main course dishes, although the tom yum soup is the favorite with many locals. We have three dishes- belly pork, fried chicken with chili and cashew nuts and Thai fish. The pork is nicely done with thin layers of fat retained in the meat.

The thick coconut creaminess of the Thai fish is also reflective of how seafood is enjoyed all over Asia. This is supplemeted by the “Great Wall” mixed fried rice, spinach and hot butter lotus root. The lotus root is a creative dish by Chef Ekanayake, and shows his ability to take an indigenous root and give it a oriental twist.

The root is sliced and dipped in batter and deep fried, giving you a crispy side dish. This is the innovation in cuisine that keeps a business alive.

It was a lovely contrast to the lotus root curry we often find in Sri Lankan kitchens. For our dessert we selected a plate of fresh fruits. The lychees were delicious and cool. Fruits are an ideal option for dessert, as we often indulge in desserts that are loaded with cream and chocolate.

The fired ice cream is a hit at this venue. As we conclude our dinner Sujith recommends we try the Chinese green tea. The tea is ideal as it slowly gives you a sense of bliss. Some form of musical entertainment may enhance this dining experience. Great Wall has sustained itself for more than two decades as one of the best family restaurants in the city.