Sri Sri, 151 Bay Street, Port Melbourne. Phone: 9646 2025
Like its genial owner, Keith, the heart and soul of Sri Sri is, well, Sri Lankan.
But his new joint also incorporates elements of quality fast food and fusion/hybrid outlooks.
So while we can and do enjoy some really fine Sri Lankan tucker, at Sri Sri you can also have breakfast or fish and chips.
Actually, Keith’s only been up and running for a few weeks so is still finessing his offerings.
The fish and chips are likely to go and greater emphasis will be put on … curry and chips.
That dish is real big with the English and Irish backpackers, Keith tells us.
But we’re here for more traditional Sri Lankan fare – and we really dig what is put in front of us at Sri Sri.
The term “slider” seems to be a bit like “focaccia” – it can be whatever anyone wants it to be.
So we’re not quite sure what Bennie will get when he orders the eggplant slider ($6) from the specials list.
What he gets is a sandwich made from two flatbreads that appear to be close relatives of the spring onion pancakes found in many Chinese eateries.
Between them is an oily (aren’t all eggplant curries oily?) delight of thin aubergine strips. The curry has a strong, smoky and bitter flavour from fried mustard seeds.
But Bennie loves it – a lot.
“This is very, very good,” he enthuses.
Keith explains to us that creating, and eventually crumbing, the pancakes that go into the crispy beef panrolls is quite an involved process.
He concedes, too, that the end result looks remarkably like a Chiko Roll.
In any case, as far as Bennie is concerned his roll ($3.50) – with its filling of beef, potato, onion, coconut and spices – is another outright winner.
From the Curry Choices list, my Hot Chick bowl is funky and fun.
Four small pieces of chicken are less cooked-to-falling-apart than I am used to with Sri Lankan curries, but the meat comes beautifully and easily from the bones.
The bright yellow dal is decadently rich and creamy with coconut.
There’s two chutneys – one the familiar bright orange and coconut number; the other a crunchy, somewhat bitter jumble of parsley, onion, green chillies and coconut that looks like tabouli. It isn’t.
And the rice is fine and light, too!
It’s a beaut lunch for $10.
Sri Sri has limited internal seating, but outside there’s five good-sized tables with comfortable bright red chairs.
Check out the Sri Sri website here.