Enjoy Ceylonta’s Sri Lankan fare, so long as you’re not in a rush
Chances are if you’ve been to Somerset Street’s Ceylonta you’ve discovered it through a friend. Near invisible to foot traffic – in spite of its central location – this restaurant is a treasure that, once found, you’ll want to return to again and again.
I decided to introduce one of my more adventurous dinner companions to Sri Lankan cuisine on a recent visit to this hidden gem. We began the meal with a couple of interesting imported beers, a smooth Cheetah lager from India, and a chocolaty Singha Stout from the Lion Brewery. This beer, also known as Lion Stout, really stands up to boldly flavoured dishes, and is well worth looking for at your local LCBO.
The meal arrived at a relaxed pace. The service seemed somewhat strained with only one waiter on staff, but it was adequate nonetheless, with my water glass never empty for more than a moment.
First to arrive was the vegetarian string hoppers kothu. This stir-fried chopped noodle dish sure isn’t much to look at, but it tastes awfully good, with its satisfying caramelized flavours. The hoppers appeared to contain frozen mixed vegetables, which were off-putting, but irrelevant to the taste of the dish. This will be the first and last time I’ll ever recommend eating a dish that includes frozen veg. The beef curry had a rich dark sauce, emboldened by a substantial amount of heat. The last main to arrive was the ghee dosai, a giant crêpe fried in clarified butter and served with coconut chutney and a curried vegetable sambar for dipping. This dish is typically eaten with your right hand, but if you’re unsure with how to proceed, the friendly wait staff will be more than happy to show you how it’s done.
I must admit that this was not my first time at Ceylonta. On previous occasions I’ve enjoyed their devilled shrimp, but I usually opt for the vegetable thali. An excellent value, with six different small dishes of curry, this main gives you plenty of variety as well as basmati rice and a papadum to go alongside.
The waiter was apologetic for the slow pace of the evening, but experience has taught me that this sort of thing is not unusual here, and that a meal at this restaurant is best enjoyed if you’re not in a hurry to get somewhere afterwards.
403 Somerset St. West
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