Wednesday 11 October 2017


A Li Yaa Island Restaurant & Bar

Since 2007, I’ve been popping into A Li Yaa Island Restaurant & Bar whenever I have a craving for Sri Lankan cuisine.  
The restaurant is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year with A Journey To Yalpanam (ye old name for Jaffna). 
Its marketing manager, Janaka Ranjana says: “The interior will be decorated to replicate old Jaffna for the four-day food festival and we have a special guest chef from Jaffna to lead the kitchen team.” 
The Jaffna buffet starts with dinner on Oct 30 to Nov 2. There will be two sessions for dinner (6-8pm and 8.30-10pm) while lunch is from 12.30pm to 3pm.

Papadum with sambal (clockwise from top left) Seeni, Pol, Karupillay and Katta

My Best Friend and I get a taste of what to expect, starting with the Sri Lankan 4-Sambal Set with papadum.
  • Katta Sambal with Maldive fish, a red hot, fiery sambal.
  • Seeni Sambal, sweet from the use of caramelised onion.
  • Karupillay Sambal, a blend of fresh curry leaf, chilli and mint.
  • Pol Sambal, made with fresh grated coconut, dried chilli, onion, lime juice and curry leaf.

Rotti Rolls stuffed with minced lamb and  cutlets (from top) potato, fish and lamb

MBF loves the Rotti Rolls, stuffed with spicy marinated lamb and onion before they are panfried lightly. I enjoy the different textures of the potato (vegetarian), fish and lamb cutlets.  The lamb tastes rather like the filling in the Rotti Rolls. The fish cutlets, with flaked fish, onion and chilli, are the yummiest.  

Dry Jaffna-style Crab Curry  is finger-licking good

Jaffna is famous for its Crab Curry and this is part of the buffet spread. The sweet, meaty crabs, imported from Sri Lanka, are cooked in a dry, dark sauce that’s finger-licking good.  

Eggplant in 2 ways: Creamy Kathrikkai Paal  (left) and Jaffna-style Eggplant Sambal

Eggplant is another Sri Lankan favourite. For something mild, Kathrikkai Paal is a rich, creamy treat cooked in coconut milk. On the other hand,  Jaffna-Style Eggplant Sambal is bursting with the aroma of caramelised onion, chilli, tomato and curry leaf, stirfried with thin slivers of crisp eggplant.

Longbean curry, another Jaffna favourite

Longbean curry is another Jaffna classic that will be served during the anniversary buffet, alongside other dishes such as Mutton Paal Poriyal and Jaffna Prawn Curry.

Oh-my-goodness Sweet Apam and festive Ribbon Cake

For dessert, there will be special pastries such as Ribbon Cake but don’t miss out on the Sweet Appam. It has perfectly crispy edges and a moist heart rich in coconut milk, dotted with brown sugar. Fold the soft centre over the crisp edge and pop this into the mouth for a delightful contrast in textures.
The A Journey To Yalpanam buffet is priced at RM148++, inclusive of a traditional drink.

(no pork served)
48 Plaza Damansara, Jalan Medan Setia 2
Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2092 5378

Jaffna Festival: Oct 30 to Nov 2. 
Lunch, 12.30pm to 3pm. 
Dinner, 6-8pm and 8.30-10pm

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