Having been to Sri Lanka more than 10 years ago, still to this day one of the stand outs for me was the delicious food I sampled. One might describe Sri Lankan cuisine as a fusion of flavours from its historical background, including influences from India, Indonesia and South East Asia. So as you can imagine, I was very excited to be getting another taste of it here in Sydney.
Opened in July 2018, owner and Chef O Tama Carey, previously from Billy Kwong and Berta in Sydney, decided to go back to her roots and open her own Sri Lankan restaurant and bar, Lankan Filling Station. With incredible recipes passed down through generations, Lankan Filling Station is a sensory delight from all aspects.
Tucked at the end of a leafy street in Darlinghurst just out of the CBD, you instantly feel transported with its sleek modern interior consisting of polished concrete, dark wood tones and soft coloured lighting (fit-out by David Mitchell Architects). The very friendly, helpful and knowledgeable staff made us feel at ease and that nothing was an inconvenience right from the word go.
After selecting a wine from the curated list that is reasonably priced, we were then guided through the menu which consists of a few sections: Short Eats, Curries, Vegetables & Sides, Sambols & Pickles, Hoppers and Dessert.
We opted to sample the Murukku (crispy chickpea batter with crunchy pulses, spices and curry leaves), the Devilled Cashew Nuts and the Potato fried roll for starters. These were all packed with flavour and the nuts were great to keep picking at throughout our evening.
For Main, we shared the incredible dry Black Curry – usually goat or lamb and we had goat which was very tender – made from toasting multiple spices (including clove, cinnamon, cardamom and coriander seeds). We also added the Eggplant (soft and spicy with tomato and tamarind) and the vegetable Dhal which were simply divine as side dishes. To accompany this, we enjoyed a plain Hopper each with some Raita (cooling yoghurt, cucumber and cumin) and the Katta Sambol (fried onions, chilli and vinegar). All of the above were simply amazing and it instantly took me back to my trip 10 years ago, which demonstrates how authentic the food is.
For dessert, we had the very traditional Watalappam, which is a steamed jiggery custard with cashews and sesame seeds. We feel this may be an acquired taste for some people, but we loved it and it was a great way to finish the evening.
With just the right amount of spice and flavour in all of our dishes, we simply couldn’t fault our evening at Lankan Filling Station.
Tip – as you can’t make a reservation and this place gets packed, we suggest you either arrive early for a 6pm dinner or later after 8pm.
We can’t wait to go back to sample more from the menu!
Lankan Filling Station
Open: Tuesday to Saturday 12pm-10pm & Sunday 12pm-4pm
Location: 58 Riley Street, East Sydney
Photos: Lankan Filling Station