Ayubowan - An Authentic taste of Srilanka in Dubai
For someone who has never tried Sri Lankan food before, Ayubowan came as a pleasant surprise to me. Not only did I enjoy the fare lined up for me, but also gained a new appreciation and liking for Sri Lankan cuisine. And needless to say, the Spice factor was the biggest bonus for me.
As an Indian who appreciates extreme spicy food, I enjoy every indulgence with loads of peppers, chilies and spices but unfortunately in Dubai many of the fare presented in five-star hotels are usually to suit the western tastes – or in other words Chilly is the las thing in the ingredient. So when I get a chance to indulge in some spice, I take it on.
We started off with some complimentary shots of Ambarella and tender coconut juice before going on to the starters.
In appetizers we were served with fish cutlet in the form of balls. The cutlets were soft and the fish flavor was subtle to a very enjoyable level. We then had a piping hot bowl of healthy and nutritious Gotu Kola Soup. This is a soup you can find no where else in Dubai but a Sri Lankan restaurant.
Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) commonly known as centella is a small, slender, low-growing perennial, creeping herb from the Apiaceae family of plants. A culinary vegetable and medicinal herb it is famously called “the fountain of life” because legend has it that an ancient Chinese herbalist lived for more than 200 years as a result of taking Gotu Kola. So, including this not so tasty but very nutritious gotu kola soup in the menu kind of shows the commitment of Ayubowan towards offering guests healthy options.
In the main course we were served a mixed platter with an assortment of popular dishes including Hoppers, Gotukola Sambol, Polos Ambula, Fish Ambulthiyal, Pittu, Kottu and Lamprais.
Hoppers was one of the most delicious I’ve tried. It was very similar to the south Indian appam and made with fermented batter of rice flour and coconut cream. It is a traditional Sri lankan delicacy that is typically had for breakfast and dinner. With a crunchy crust and a spongy middle perfect for soaking up curries, hoppers can be described as a sort of pancake.
Gotukolu Sambol – a delightfully sprightly al of sorts combing Gotukola (pennywort) grated with coconut, shallots and green chili. Typically served with rice, the gotukolasambol is a side dish that is universally loved by the young and the old, alike.
Polos Ambula - Polos is the tender jackfruit and much like the jackfruit, polos is a beloved dish that the sri lankans consume with relish. Deep, dark and flavorsome, the polos ambula combines goraka (brindle berry) paste together with aromatic spices, coconut, onion and garlic, which is seeped in thick coconut milk to bring out its innermost flavors.
Fish Ambulthiyal - Ambuthiyal is today one of the signature dishes of Sri Lanka. It is braised in a mixture of Goraka (Briddle berry) and aromatic spices. The distinct sour taste of goraka is punctuated with heavy aromatics of cinnamon, cardamom and tinged with srilankan curry powder mixes well with the fish giving it a very unique flavor and taste.
Kottu – Kottu, a popular srilankan street food is a curious mix of chopped up strings of roti, begetables, egg, spices and types of meat and seafood. Kottu isn’t pretty. It is messy,it is spontaneous and like all things messy and spontaneous, it is a whole lot fun.
Lamprais - At a glance, it is a modest parcel wrapped in banana leaf. Open it up and you are treated to a veritable feast. This delicacy is very much a loved treat cooked with samba rice, mixture of meat curry, lamb, beef, pork, blachan – shrimp paste, fried ash plantain relish and side of brinjalmoju all of which is wrapped in a banana leaf and baked to perfection. The Lamprais is a complex dish and few do it well and Ayubawan is one of them.
In desserts we had Wattalappan and Sri lankan pan cake, both very unique and delicious.
Overall Ayubowan is a fantastic place to try authentic srilankan cuisine at a true value for money pricing. Great vibe, premium setting and fast service.