Chef Lanka, 50/B 217 Mickleham Road, Tullamarine. Phone: 9338 3839
This Chef Lanka is the youngest of three siblings – the others are in nearby Glenroy and the Melbourne CBD.
It’s a big, ritzy room with a raised area lined with many serving “chafing dishes”, the premises being sandwiched – so to speak – between a Subway outlet and a restaurant of the pizza-pasta-seafood-steaks variety.
Just up the road is fine Lebanese place done out in fast-food livery.
Only a few of those heated serving contraptions are in use for the Saturday lunch buffet – makes sense, as we are the only customers.
But there’s more than enough range for a grand lunch and the quality is high.
This is, in our estimation, very good Sri Lanka tucker.
(I’m a bit disappointed in the pics – they make the food look less good than is the case!)
Two kinds of rice …
Fried rice that recognisably of Chinese derivation but somehow different – it’s plain wonderful.
Chicken biryani quite different from those we get from our fave West Footscray haunts – milder, sweeter thanks to the currants, but still real nice.
Lamb curry with meat quite well done but of deep flavour that’s somewhat like the vinegary tang of a vindaloo. I’m told, however, that it’s nothing of the sort …
Devil Chicken – another dish of seemingly Chinese heritage. The battered meat is nicely chewy and the dish as a whole is very mild – this surprises us as it appear as though it may quite spicy-evil.
Jackfruit curry that looks so unappetising that I give it a miss. At first glance, I take it to be made of overcooked fish cutlets!
A highlight – cashew curry, the nuts with just enough gravy and just enough softish crunch left in them.
Spicy potatoes so very, very familiar from my workplace’s weekly, Friday curry runs to another fine Sri Lankan place just up the road apiece.
Another highlight – a super mix of carrot, broccoli and cauliflower done in coconut milk and crushed mustard seeds.
It’s very yummy!
As well, on hand is an endless supply of pappadums and maldive fish, if you like ’em!
Chef Lanka has a mixed bag of buffet offers, depending on the days of the week and times of the day.
The lunch buffet we have dug costs $15 on Saturdays and Sundays.
The same deal costs $12 for lunch from Mondays through to Fridays.
On Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, a $25 buffet is on offer – and we imagine this will be fabulous when we get around to trying it.
On those nights, all the many serving contraptions come into play – that’s a lot! – and so the food will be even more colourful and diverse, and perhaps even include a goodly dash of seafood.
There’s an extensive a la carte menu as well – including hoppers.
At dinner time Mondays through Thursdays there’s a superb thali-style deal I checked out on an earlier, solo reconnaissance visit.
How’s this for $10.90?
The same lamb curry as in our lunch buffet, coconutty chick peas, coconutty and scrumptious okra, an oily but delicious mix of eggplant and potato, rice and pappadum.
The achaar I ordered separately out of curiosity. It was fresh and crunchy but I found the mustard oil flavour somewhat overpowering.
Check out the Chef Lanka website here.