Home Grown Rice & Curry Restaurant: Great value, delicious curries and rice!
Emma and I ate at Home Grown Rice & Curry Restaurant twice during our stay in Hikkaduwa in March 2014.
This small, local restaurant is located on the quiet side street of Wewala, just off the main street of Galle Road. I say that it is a quiet side street, and for the most part it is. However, the restaurant is located right next to the railway line and every so often a train thunders past and causes the restaurant to shake to its foundations!
It is unlikely that we would have stumbled across this restaurant but for the fact that we saw an advertising board on Galle Road, pointing passers-by 50 metres down Wewala towards the restaurant. We made our way down the dimly lit street and found a pleasant restaurant, surrounded by greenery, and offering a handful of tables on an outdoor terrace. It was basic and homely, it looked clean and tidy and the staff were welcoming. Having enjoyed an excellent meal at an even more basic restaurant (Bookworm Library Restaurant) nearby on a previous evening, we decided to give it a go.
The menu included a reasonable selection of sandwiches, soups, rice and noodle dishes (egg fried rice, chop suey...), spaghetti dishes and seafood meals (fish, calamari, prawns). But, of course, we (and seemingly everybody else at the restaurant) were there for the home cooked curry and rice.
The front page of the menu displays the available curry options. The "special rice and curry" costs 350 Rs (£1.75) per person and consists of a portion of either red or white rice, 2 vegetable curries (which vary on a daily basis), a bowl of dhal and a pappadam. You can then add additional bowls of curry as follows:
Chicken Curry = 200 Rs / £1.00
Fish Curry = 120 Rs / £0.60
Prawn Curry = 200 Rs / £1.00
Egg Curry = 100 Rs / £0.50
We began each of our visits by sharing a starter of guacamole and pappadams (350 Rs / £1.75). We'll often start an Indian meal at home with pappadams, but usually with mango chutney, lime pickle and mint raita, so this was a bit of an unusual combination. It was very nice; a large plate of crispy pappadams and a generous portion of cooling guacamole (avocado dip).
We also had the Special Rice and Curry (350 Rs / £1.75 per person) on both of our visits.
On our first visit, the two vegetable curries were green beans and pumpkin. The pumpkin curry was delicious. We had sampled this dish at other restaurants on the previous two evenings and really enjoyed it. The version at Home Grown Rice & Curry contained green chillies and was very tasty. The green bean curry was a little bland for my tastes, but was nice enough, especially when mixed with the dhal curry or the sauce from my spicy prawn curry.
On our second visit, the two vegetable curries were okra (ladies' fingers) and plantain. We requested for them to be mild, for Emma's benefit, so they were again a little bland (albeit nice enough) for my tastes and had to be mixed with the spicier curries.
We had red rice on both of our visits (a good sized portion) and received a pappadam each. The accompanying dhal curry was delicious; it was spicy enough, but not too spicy for Emma's tastes (which it had been in some of the other restaurants that we visited).
On both occasions, I ordered an additional Prawn Curry (200 Rs / £1.00) and, on our second visit, specifically asked for it to be spicy (to counteract the tame vegetable curries). It was very nice. It contained around 5 or 6 prawns (with tails still attached) in a reasonably spicy sauce containing onions, green chillies, tomatoes and very strong garlic.
On our first visit, we also ordered an additional Chicken Curry (200 Rs / £1.00) which was ok, but not particularly memorable. It contained one piece of chicken, on the bone, and was cooked in some sort of chicken stock without any spice.
On our second visit, we ordered desserts. I had:
Banana Pancake with Ice Cream (300 Rs / £1.50); a large, thick pancake, wrapped around a sliced banana and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Curd and Honey (300 Rs / £1.50); the curd was a bit sour for Emma's tastes when eaten on its own, but much nicer when the pot of honey was poured over it.
On our first visit, I drank Lime Soda (180 Rs / £0.90), which was an ideally refreshing accompaniment to the curries, while Emma drank Orange Fanta (150 Rs / £0.75).
On our second visit, I enjoyed a Pot of Lime Tea (170 Rs / £0.85), which was a normal pot of tea served with a plate of sliced limes to squeeze into the tea. It was good for about 4 cups and was nice and refreshing. I have since recreated this version of lime tea back at home. Emma drank Lime Sodas this time.
Overall, we really enjoyed our two visits to Home Grown Rice & Curry. The home cooked curries were delicious, freshly prepared, served in good portion sizes and were tremendous value for money. I must admit, we only returned here for a second visit because our first choice restaurant (Bookworm Library Restaurant) was closed on our final evening due to the fact that it was raining and it only offered outdoor seating. The food at both places was similarly delicious, but at Bookworm Library we would get to sample 6 vegetable curries, instead of just 2 vegetable curries and a dhal curry at Home Grown Rice & Curry. That said, we were able to supplement our curries with additional meat and seafood options here, unlike at Bookwarm Library where we would simply get the curries that were being prepared that day.
No service charge was added to the bill, but the service here was always very good and we were happy to leave a tip.
The kitchen closes at 10:00pm each evening.
Great value, delicious curries, rice and pappadams. Highly recommended!
Dolphin Restaurant: Cool drinks overlooking the beach!
We visited Dolphin Restaurant for drinks one afternoon during our stay in Hikkaduwa in March 2014.
This beachside restaurant is located just a short walk north of the Chaaya Tranz Hikkaduwa hotel and can be accessed either from the beach or from Galle Road.
You can't really miss it if you're walking along the beach; it is 3 storeys high, is painted in bright blue and purple colours and features pillars and elaborate ship steering wheel-like designs around its perimeter walls.
Our visit was a brief one; we weren't looking to eat, just to shelter from the sun and indulge in cool drinks. Dolphin Restaurant was the ideal place to do this. We made our way up to the terrace on the third floor, where we found breathtaking views along the beach and a (much needed) cooling sea breeze.
The drinks were very reasonably priced (about average for Hikkaduwa, despite the great sea views) – I had a 330ml bottle of Lion Ginger Beer (90 Rs / £0.45) and Emma had a 330ml bottle of Sprite (also 90 Rs / £0.45).
A great seaside setting for cool drinks and a refreshing breeze.
Red Rabbit Rotty Restaurant: Good selection of rotties for lunch
We stopped off at Red Rabbit Rotty Restaurant for a quick lunch one day during our stay in Hikkaduwa in March 2014.
This simple restaurant is located on busy Galle Road, the main street running through Hikkaduwa, on the non-beach side. It was located close to the bus stop from which we were about to catch the local bus to the nearby town of Galle. As such, we were just looking to grab a quick bite to eat before getting on our way. A "rotty" (a Sri Lankan pancake with various fillings available) was the ideal choice.
There are a cluster of rotty restaurants in this area of Hikkaduwa (an area known as Narigama, set back behind one of the town's biggest beaches) – such as "The Rotty Restaurant" and "The Rotty Stop" – but, while they all looked to be popular in an evening, only Red Rabbit appeared to be open during the daytime.
We sat on plastic stools in the small shaded yard in front of the restaurant.
The menu featured a reasonable choice of rotties filled with various combinations of vegetables, cheese, egg, chicken and prawns – all priced between 100 and 400 Rs (£0.50 and £2.00). A new addition to the menu was the lobster rotty (950 Rs / £4.75). There were also a handful of rice and noodle dishes on the menu, as well as a few varieties of traditional Sri Lankan Kottu (a sort of chopped up version of a rotty mixed with meat and vegetables). Finally, there were sweet rotties available for dessert; filled with chocolate, honey and banana.
After placing our order we could see the rotties being freshly prepared on a grill in the corner of the yard.
I opted for:
Cheese, Onion, Tomato & Prawn Rotty - Cost: 280 Rs / £1.40
A thin, folded pancake filled with soft, spreadable cheese (like the Dairy Lea Triangles that I used to eat as a child), lots of diced onions and tomatoes and a fair number of small tasty prawns.
Emma opted for:
Cheese, Onion & Chicken Rotty - Cost: 200 Rs / £1.00
Similar to mine, but with no tomatoes and with pieces of chicken rather than prawns.
The rotties weren't particularly memorable, but they were nice enough and provided us with the quick lunch snack that we were after.
The drinks at Red Rabbit were very good value for money. We each had a couple of much needed cold bottles of Sprite for just 60 Rs (£0.30) a bottle. A selection of fruit juices and milkshakes were available for 100 – 200 Rs (£0.50 - £1.00).
A good selection of rotties for a quick lunch snack!
Bookworm Library Restaurant: Delicious homemade vegetarian curries!
We ate at Bookworm Library Restaurant one evening during our stay in Hikkaduwa in March 2014.
We had read the glowing reviews on TripAdvisor; there were only 5 of them – but each and every one gave this restaurant 5 out of 5. They commented on the fact that the curries were homemade, delicious, served in large portions and akin to eating in a family home.
Had we not read these reviews, it is unlikely that we would have even noticed the restaurant let alone visited it. Situated on Galle Road, the main road running through Hikkaduwa, Bookworm Library Restaurant looks just like a book shop and general grocery store from the front. It rents out books in various languages, sells fresh fruit and bottles of mineral water and soft drinks. The only clue that it doubles as a restaurant is a sign above the doorway advertising "Home Made Rice & Curry".
We had read that bookings are necessary; there are only a few tables and the owner cooks just enough food for the number of people who have booked. We made a booking at about 5:30pm and were told to come back between 7:00pm and 7:30pm.
When we returned shortly after 7:00pm we were met by a friendly, smiling couple. As the lady disappeared into the kitchen, the gentleman guided us through the back of the shop, led us up an unlit external staircase and showed us to a table on the rooftop terrace. There were only 3 tables and the other two were already occupied. As restaurants go, this was about as informal as it gets – the family had simply put a few picnic bench tables on their roof and were dishing out freshly prepared homemade food. We loved it!
There is no menu here. I get the impression that guests simply eat whatever the family are eating that night. Fortunately, they appear to eat a selection of delicious vegetarian curries and rice every night, so you won't be disappointed! Judging by the reviews on TripAdvisor, the selection of curries varies from day to day (we saw photos of a tasty looking garlic curry, but sadly this wasn't being served on the evening that we visited).
We were presented with a large bowl of red rice, a plateful of crispy poppadoms and 6 bowls of curry, which the owner explained to us:
Pineapple Curry - this was fruity and cooling, but also had a spicy kick to it;
Dhal Curry - I've grown very fond of this spicy lentil curry during our recent trips. I used to eat a bowl of it every morning for breakfast when we were in the Maldives a few months earlier. It was too spicy for Emma's tastes, but I thought it was delicious;
Potato Curry - this was the spiciest of all the curries. As well as curried potatoes it included onions, garlic and green and red peppers. It left our mouths tingling! I loved it!
Okra (Ladies' Fingers) Curry - this was a tame and mild curry and a bit bland for my tastes. Emma enjoyed it and it was a nice contrast to the spicier curries;
Pumpkin Curry - this was another mild curry, but it was also fabulously tasty! This was Emma's favourite curry and I enjoyed it far more than the other mild curries;
Jackfruit Curry - this was another mild, fresh and tasty curry. It was more savoury than we had imagined it would be, almost like potato.
Altogether this was a very enjoyable meal. We received more curry than the two of us could eat – we ate as much as we could of each curry, but left some of each, as well as some rice.
We hadn't seen a price list, but we knew from the reviews that we had read that the price would be very reasonable. "Reasonable" is an understatement – the food here is remarkably good value for money! The total cost of the food – including the rice, the poppadoms and more than enough curry (in 6 varieties) for 2 people – was just 700 Rs (around £3.30). We paid an additional 120 Rs (60p) each for 500ml bottles of Sprite.
One thing to be aware of is that eating here is weather dependent. The tables are outside on an uncovered terrace, completely exposed to the elements. You simply couldn't eat here in heavy rain. We found this out to our disappointment as we tried to book a table on our final evening. It was raining mid-afternoon and we were advised that the restaurant wouldn't be opening that evening. The rain cleared later, but it was too late by then, the decision not to open had already been made.
Friendly owners, delicious home cooked vegetarian curries, huge portions and unbeatable value for money! It was just like joining the family for a freshly prepared meal. Very highly recommended!
Dasu's Hut: Sri Lankan breakfast on Galle Road
We ate at Dasu's Hut on our first morning in Hikkaduwa in March 2014.
We had just walked along the beach for the first time and were ready for a late breakfast. Dasu's Hut looked like an inviting place to eat with its upstairs terrace looking out over busy Galle Road.
We were met by the owner and shown to an upstairs table (at our request). We had the entire dining room to ourselves. We had hoped that the dining room would be cool and breezy (it looked that way from the outside and we were struggling to acclimatise to the heat), but it wasn't particularly. Only one of the ceiling fans was turned on and it was having little effect in the stiflingly hot conditions.
This would be our first experience with a Sri Lankan menu and we were impressed by the wide choice of dishes available. As well as the ubiquitous curry and rice (we'd be eating plenty of that during our stay!), there was a wide choice of meat dishes (chicken, pork, sausages, meatballs...) and seafood options (prawns, fish, lobster, calamari). There were also plenty of lighter options; various soups (fish, tomato, prawn, onion, garlic...), toasted sandwiches, sweet and savoury pancakes, salads, omelettes, rice and noodle dishes.
The friendly owner engaged us in conversation. He recommended local sights for us to see, lent us a Galle travel guide to read while we waited for our food and recommended that we visit the Hikkaduwa Sunday Market after our meal (we did...and we were grateful for the recommendation). He gave us a business card in case we wanted to book any excursions through his company.
Even before entering the restaurant I had decided that I wanted to sample a Sri Lankan breakfast, so that is what I ordered:
Sri Lankan Breakfast - 525 Rs. (£2.60)
This consisted of:
A glass of fruit juice or plate of fresh fruit;
Tea or coffee;
Roti, bread or string hoppers;
Choice of curry (chicken, beef, fish or vegetables).
I opted for a glass of freshly squeezed pineapple juice and a pot of tea. The pineapple juice wasn't as cool and refreshing as I had hoped for; it really could have done with some ice in it.
I really wanted to sample the string hoppers (a sort of steamed flour dough squeezed into noodle shapes), but for some reason that I didn't understand it transpired that I would have to have rotis instead. I noticed on another restaurant's menu that anybody wanting to order string hoppers had to give a day's notice, so perhaps that was the reason I couldn't have them.
I received two round rotis; pieces of flat bread with a thin layer of coconut inside them. They were particularly nice when dipped into the accompanying curry, but would have been a bit plain on their own.
I chose the fish curry. It was quite spicy and contained green chilli peppers and various leaves and spices. There were a few sizeable chunks of flaky white fish and a handful of fairly large bones in it. I enjoyed it.
Emma opted for a pancake from the dessert section of the menu:
Pol Pancake (Coconut) - 250 Rs. (£1.20)
A sweet pancake filled with grated coconut and served with a small bowl of syrup.
...and to drink:
Pineapple Lassi - 250 Rs. (£1.20)
Nice, but like my pineapple juice it would have been better with some ice in it as it wasn't very cold.
Overall, we enjoyed our late breakfast at Dasu's Hut. The service was friendly, the food was tasty and the prices represented good value for money.
Parrot's Paradise: A decent, friendly little beach place.
I don't normally eat during the day, especially in the heat of a near equatorial sun as you get in Sri Lanka in January, but for some reason I found myself fancying a snack lunch when I visited Hikkaduwa and wandered into this place which proved to be an excellent choice.
I was welcomed in by the delightful manager and shown to a table by the beach, which I must say I find over-rated, but it is pleasant enough. I was not sure about the availability of beer here as places differ in Sri Lanka and so I ordered and EGB purely out of curiosity. I had seen advertising posters carrying the slogan, "No EGB, no food" which I thought was rather an extravagant claim and so I thought I'd give it a go. What it turned out to be was Elephant Ginger Beer and I have become rather fond of it, it really is delicious. It is becoming increasingly difficult to get good ginger beer in the UK so this was a treat in itself.
The menu was provided and I opted for the beef rotti (pictured) and with the usual question of whether I wanted it spicy or not. Well, I do like spicy food so that was easily answered and chef certainly did not disappoint as it was verging on the volcanicand great stuff. Obviously, they will make you a tamer version if an almost suicidally amount of chilli is not your gig.
A further examination of the menu indicates that they offer all the usual standards like Western or Sri Lankan breakfast, jaffles (toasted sandwiches), deviled dishes, fried rice, various "mains" which feature seafood and fish heavily as you would expect and an extensive range of desserts.
There is not much more to say about Parrot's Place really and I still do not know if that is a nickname of the owner of if the birds of that species actually frequent this bar! Incidentally, if you do fancy a beer, you can get one here as I subsequently found out.
At 300 rupees for the rotti it was certainly not overpriced.
This is a very pleasant little beachfront eating joint on a strip probably over-subscribed with them and I recommend it.
Favorite Dish: I only had a snack of a spicy beef rotti as described and it was excellently done, very tasty and as spicy as I had asked for.
- Food and Dining
- Beer Tasting
- Budget Travel
Spagetti & Co: Spagetti &Co restaraunt in Hikkaduwa: what a waste
I did not like the restaraunt at all. Neither food, nor the atmosphere was any good.
The dinner price in Spagetti & Co was a bit higher than in most places in Hikkduwa.
Favorite Dish: Pizza was alright, BUT I know a couple of other places here that have more tasty pizzas.
Hotel Francis Restaurant and Bar: Tasty food in Hikkaduwa
The Hotel Francis Restaurant and Bar is along the main road in Hikkaduwa and serves tasty food in clean surroundings at reasonable prices.
It's speciality is seafood and it has several specials on offer daily - just see the board by the entrance.
I had a fish dish and my husband ordered chicken and both were tasty enough. Service was a little on the slow side, but this is just the norm in Sr Lanka!
Favorite Dish: Freshly caught fish.
Refresh Restaurant: Great food with beach views!
Refresh Restaurant is quite expensive by Hikkaduwa standards, but is worth the extra money in my opinion as the food is good and the beach location is nice too.
The restaurant has several sections which are modernly decorated and the speciality is seafood. Staff are friendly and service is quite quick by Sri Lankan standards.
I had the Chicken Sizzler and my husband had the Chilli Pork, both of which were very tasty. We also had a few beers and soft drinks and the bill was around Rs. 3,000, which was the most we paid for a meal on our trip.
Favorite Dish: Chicken Sizzler.
Sirikata Paya: Local food
Managed by a Sri Lankan family, this beach shack has amazing sea side views. They incurred considerable damage to their property due to the Tsunami, but have rebuilt it again. The also rent surfboards and snorkelling equipment. On the other side of the restro that opens up on the main road, they also have an antiques, and jems and jewellery store.
Other internationally managed hotels and restros have managed to survive the Tsunami onslaught, but its the locals who are having a tough time. So I request visitors to catch up on this place, and hey...u get gr8 food and fabulous deals at the store aswell, all at a very cheap price.
- Water Sports
Poseidon Diving Station: Sea and surf
Poseidon Diving Station has a restaurant open for all. The restaurant serves a variety of food, from breakfast and beach snacks to European and Sri Lankan meals.
I did my the late breakfast and lazy lunches here, and the food and service was A1.
- Sky Diving
- Diving and Snorkeling
- Water Sports
Spaghetti & Co Italian Restaurant: Best Pasta & Pizza on the Island
The best Italian food I've ever tasted (although I've not been to Italy yet!). Lasagne and pizzas come very highly recommended.
The place is very busy all the time, because it was included in the latest edition of Lonely Planet. However, they don't seem to have adjusted staffing levels to meet the extra demand. If you want to be served quickly, or get a table straight away, you need to be there around 7pm.
Favorite Dish: Lasagne - simply the best I've ever had (other than my mothers!)
- Plenty of choices
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- Plenty of choices
- Agoda.com Save up to 75%, Don't miss! Live support, Instant confirmation.