The restaurant is small, casual and the staff were friendly. Looking at the menu, I was well impressed with the wide range of well-priced, hearty selections offered at the restaurant. It wasn't just "mushrooms". Not that there's anything wrong with mushrooms; I love mushrooms. But I feel like whenever I go to restaurants, the options for vegetarians are very limited to mushrooms this and mushrooms that...
Although I am a committed carnivore, choosing what to have for lunch wasn't easy. Everything sounds delicious on the menu, but at the end Michelle and I ordered the same dish especially after lurking the table next to us. We had the Sri Lankan sweet potato and cashew nut curry served with yellow basmati rice with peas and tomato sambal. Doesn't that sound delicious? Not that it's vegetarian, it's also wheat-free and gluten-free.
Because I am greedy, I also ordered the chargrilled roman style artichoke crostini with lemon aioli, not to share, just for me. I told you I am greedy. To drink, my favourite juice combo, apple and beetroot.
The curry was divine, mildly spiced with just the right amount of heat coming through. We had such lovely time. Alex recently completed her cookery diploma from Ashburton Cookery School and so I interrogated her with her experience and she's very inspiring.
The picture above is my at home version of the curry. I didn't follow any particular recipes. I just use my instinct and I almost forgot how much fun to cook without a recipe... very liberating. I added fresh spinach leaves and fresh coriander to the sweet potato curry, though I must confess my curry paste came from a jar. Please forgive me.
To make the yellow basmati rice, I start by softening finely chopped onions in butter and vegetable oil before adding cumin seeds, ground coriander, turmeric, cinnamon stick and bay leaves. Add the the well-rinsed basmati rice with some water and cook. Once cooked, fluff the rice fork and I added some toasted flaked almonds for some crunch.
The tomato sambal also starts with softened finely chopped onions with cumin seeds, ground coriander and ground ginger. I add slices of garlic, fresh chillies, harissa (North African chilli paste), tinned chopped tomato, pinch of sugar and let it simmer until nice and thick.
The chickpea salad with cumin is a recipe borrowed from Angie at Angie's Recipes. When I saw the recipe I knew I had to try it and this salad works so good with the curry. I love the smell and taste of cumin and the spicy, zing-y vinaigrette made with garlic, parsley, lemon juice, chilli powder and walnut oil brightens up the flavours a lot. Thank you Angie for sharing this recipe :)
Like many other curries, stews, soups, they taste better the next day after the flavours had time to mix together. I made the curries last night for dinner with some friends and was so pleased to have leftovers to enjoy for lunch earlier. yum.
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!