Restaurant Guide

Lankan Filling Station: Restaurant review

O Tama Carey's brand of Sri Lankan food is all killer, no filler.

Address

Ground floor,
58 Riley St,
East Sydney NSW

Hours

Tues-Sat noon-10pm
Sun 10am-4pm

Prices

E $7-$19
M $11-$22
D $6-$14
Banquet $65

At Lankan, even the most humble ingredients are transformed into something special. The cabbage mallung sees the quotidian vegetable thinly sliced, tossed with mustard seeds and ghee, and transformed into a sophisticated dish worthy of multiple helpings, while the red lentil dhal comes thick, scoopable and heady with coconut cream and curry leaves. Even the suwandel rice, an heirloom variety sourced from a Sri Lankan not-for-profit, is notable for its exquisite fluffiness. There are fancier dishes, too: pan rolls, those crisp crêpe cylinders, stuffed with curried minced beef, and a dark and broody goat curry fragrant with cardamom and clove. Lacy hoppers, primed for tearing and dipping, are as unmissable as ever, as are the sambols, such as the coconut number (pol sambol) that's complex and funky with dried Maldive fish. The waitstaff are agile in more ways than one, deftly ducking and weaving through the narrow space while replenishing hopper supplies, though orders can go missing if not taken through the tick-the-menu system. On paper, the desserts don't sound like much – curd with kithul, say – but the appeal is in the execution, and one bite of that sharp, silky buffalo curd with rich palm-sugar syrup will convert the doubters. It's a final, masterful lesson on how simple is best.
Phone:
(02) 8542 9936
Bookings:
No bookings
Features:
  • Licensed
  • Vegetarian-friendly
  • Wheelchair access
Accepted card types:
  • American Express
  • Eftpos
  • MasterCard
  • Visa
Chef:
O Tama Carey
This review was made independently for the Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide. The guide's reviewers visit unannounced and pay their way.