Wembley has an interesting Indian neighborhood, with strong Kenyan/African-Indian and Sri Lankan roots, and rather different from the Pakistani neighborhood in Eastham, or the Bangladeshi curry houses of Brick Lane.
Bustling Ealing Road has quite a few interesting eateries to explore:
A branch of the very popular Saravanaa Bhavan vegetarian restaurant chain, with branches all across the world.
Fresh coconut water and sugar cane juice stand
Shri Vallabh Nidhi Mandir Hindu temple on Ealing Road
Asher’s, which serves vegetarian thali lunch-tray sets has mogo (cassava or “yucca” root vegetable) and masala mogo (dressed in Kenyan/East African-Indian masala spices) on its menu. I’d had loved to try it but for our planned lunch at Gana Sri Lankan restaurant further up Ealing Road.
Maru’s Bhajia House, which served a selection of bhajias or battered, deep-fried snacks. Its menu also listed the Kenyan mogo and a very interesting-sounding Kenyan bhel. Tempting indeed - we promised ourselves that we’ll come back to Wembley to explore these food options.
Our lunch venue was Gana Sri Lankan & South Indian Restaurant, with Jaffna-Tamil owners. I was with a fellow ex-Chowhound, Limster, whom I’d normally trust with my life when it came to things gastronomic. This time, unfortunately, his rec was off-the-mark as the food at Gana did not live up to both of our expectations:
Kottu roti - basically chopped up paratha bread, griddle-fried with onions, meats (chicken), vegetables and curry gravy. The version here lacked the assertiveness of the ones I’d had in Colombo, Sri Lanka, like at Nana’s Toyna a few months earlier.
Egg appam - a Sri Lankan staple, which they totally messed up here - not sure what kind of batter they used here, but the finished product did NOT have a delicate lacy effect, nor taste as nice as I know this dish should be. This one was simply nasty.
Seeni sambol to accompany the egg appam - it took them a LONG time to serve us this, as most of the waiters seemed unaware of this very “Sri Lankan” condiment, which left us pretty perplexed. When it finally came, the sambol did not seem fresh and was probably dug out from behind the larder somewhere. I’m not sure the people working there are Sri Lankans, or maybe they were Tamil-Indians who were also not trained nor familiarised with Sri Lankan food culture.
We cut our losses and got out of there after this. Maybe we should have tried one of the Kenyan-Indian eating spots instead.