We dropped into Muntri Mews for a Sri Lankan dinner, made possible by its newly-appointed head chef, Dumindu Bamunu, who was previously the head chef at the award-winning Galle Fort Hotel back in Sri Lanka.
Started off with some cocktails - no Sri Lankan specialties offered, so we settled for a margarita and a mojito.
The starter was Kottu Roti - griddle-fried paratha pieces with shrimps and vegetables. It’s weird to have Sri Lankan street food transferred onto a formal dining table as a starter.
I remembered having the kottu roti prepared the way it’s done in the streets - noisy clanging of two metal spatulas on the griddle - at Nana’s Toyna in Colombo, Sri Lanka, last year. That was also where the late Anthony Bourdain came for his fill of Sri Lankan street food.
Our main course was served as an all-in-one dinner platter of rice, surrounded by a selection of curried meats and vegetables.
The spice level, I must say, has been dialed down to cater to the local Penang palate. Penangites are already on the upper tier of Malaysians with a high threshold for chilis but, believe me, the Sri Lankans are in a totally different league up there compared to the Malaysians or Singaporeans.
The desserts were the classic Sri Lankan creme brulee: Watalappam, and a soothing yoghurt with jaggery, perfect for calming one’s tongue after the baptism of fire by the fiery curries.
Muntri Mews Cafe
77, Muntri Street, 10200 George Town, Penang
Tel: +04-263 6125
Opening hours: 8am to 11pm daily