Restaurant review: The Petal @ Mandara Rosen | Sunday Observer

Restaurant review: The Petal @ Mandara Rosen

Driving from Colombo to Kataragama is quite a long journey. Prior to my visit to this beautiful adventure location I surfed the internet to locate a venue for dinner, and of the many places that came online one stood out - the Mandara Rosen Hotel. After reaching the sacred city where temples and an ancient devale venerate various deities of different religious faiths, we drove to the hotel, which is situated on a lovely stretch of road that has large trees on either side.

From outside one cannot imagine that a 4 star 60 room hotel exists in this wilderness land where elephants roam in freedom.

The Petal, the main restaurant is located on the ground floor and has a very open ambience to it, the large glass panels sustain the green view and the moonlight drifts in. The high ceiling keeps the inside cool and cozy. Large hand woven tapestry brings that aura of rural Sri Lanka and enhances that “being out of Colombo’ feeling.

Mahesh de Silva the hotel Manager is there to greet me. He has been at this property for 15 years. Dinner on Thursday night takes the form of a buffet. I must confess that I did not expect a buffet at such a far away resort venue, yet the team led by Executive Chef Premasiri Wickramaarachchi had put on quite a dazzling display. The restaurant is full with German and Chinese guests. The soup of the day- Minestrone (an Italian soup) was nice to relish after the long journey. The bread rolls were mildly tough to the bite.

An action station out on the garden took centre stage with grilled fish being served: fish in this part of the country away from the sea is quite a delicacy. Some wild ducks were meandering in the outdoor garden. The lasagna with the pork was a nice treat. The beef marinated in red wine was at the right texture and the strong essence of the red wine had immersed well into the meat giving an opulent flavor.

The fried prawn in oriental sauce was good, but the sauce was a bit too thick. Hot fried vadai from another action station was quite a hit with the foreign guests, which for many was a first time Sri Lankan culinary experience. Chef Premasiri and his team had showcased a separate section of rice and curry- beautifully capturing that village essence of taste, the chicken curry was another stand out dish.

The dessert spread is always an enticing segment at a dinner. Here I enjoyed one dish the Pineapple Jalousie which is a French pie like dish where the juicy fruit is encased in a thick pastry crust, and cut into thick slices.

Mandara Rosen is a nice venue to dine on your transit journey even if you’re going to Yala, as the restaurant serves decent cuisine at a very reasonable price. It is one of those hidden gems waiting to be discovered at Kataragama, the divine abode of Sri Lanka.

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