A few musty bookstores away from Jimbocho crossing, R Sri Lanka is an oasis of calm. Enter through the tinted glass doors and you're struck by the high ceilings, the palm fronds, and the giant elephants painted on the walls. The only Tokyo branch of a restaurant launched a few years ago in Fukuoka, this Sri Lankan soup curry place specializes in one dish and does it perfectly.
Choose from the limited menu of soup curry with pork cutlet, steak, shrimp or dal beans, add a topping such as mashed potato, coriander or cheese if you like, and select a spiciness level depending on how adventurous you feel. (The "hot" level 3 packs quite a punch.) Your chosen dish arrives on a steaming hot plate, the rhomboid rice standing proud in a shimmering ocean of curry soup.
The shrimp garlic is recommended. Large tender shrimps and bell peppers sauted in a very garlicky sauce peek out from the soup curry. Some customers immediately mix all the ingredients together to soften the rice, while others prefer to mix a spoonful at a time to enjoy its chewy nuttiness.
Another standout is the seafood noodles, the only noodle dish on the menu. The Bifun noodles also come in a photogenic cube, this time packed with stir-fried shrimp, clams and bell peppers. Fragrant chili oil dances on the surface of the soup curry. The portions are already generous, but hungry eaters can do a David Copperfield and say "more please!" to receive extra an ladleful of rice and soup curry at no extra charge.
If the spiciness lingers in the mouth, a refreshing lassi will take away the heat much faster than a Sri Lankan Lion beer or a Scottish Brewdog. There's also an intriguing cardamon-infused shochu on the menu...maybe next time.
(No dinner on Sundays.)
by Raj Jaffrey