Sri Lankan Cuisine - San Ramon
Kadupul is a new restaurant which will open sometime in April, according to its website. It is located in a small strip mall on the corner of Alcosta Blvd and San Ramon Valley Blvd. This is the same location where Turkuaz Turkish Market used to be. I happened to drive by and I stopped to see if I could snag a menu. Peering inside, I could see that the remodeling is not finished but it appears that they might make their deadline.
This seems to be a restaurant spawned from a catering business. The website announcing the opening of Kadupul links you to what appears to be a catering service located in Livermore and serving a Bay Area. The catering menu looks mighty fine. More info at:
Kadupul Sri Lankan Cuisine
8939 San Ramon Valley Blvd
San Ramon, CA
Tried it this past weekend. Has its ups and downs.
The curries are superb. The flavors are well developed and contain lots of subtlety.
Lots of interesting menu choices, some of them beyond the usual fare you see every day. When's the last time you've seen wild boar on the specials board?
The setting is appropriately nice and relatively modern.
Staff and chefs are very willing to help the uninitiated in Sri Lankan cuisine, and seem to be eager for feedback from diners. Very nice people.
The place is cash only. Not sure whether this is permanent or just the result of newness. Honestly, I haven't kept more than thirty bucks cash in my wallet for ten years, so something like this immediately reduces a restaurant to a "planned" event instead of just dropping in for dinner.
The menu is a mess. Pages unbound, multiple items with no listed prices. Very hard to navigate.
The dumplings were tasty, but had a too-hard pastry exterior, like they were taken right out of the freezer and put right into the oven or fryer.
The place is suffering heavily from catering company syndrome. The operators don't seem to have gotten that a restaurant and a catering business are two different things. Everything smacks of being prepared in advance and then just heated or fried and put out to the customers. When I ordered an iced coffee, I watched the waitress walk over to a cooler and pull out one of two pre-made gallons of liquid and pour it over ice. Do it in the back and at least give me the illusion that it's fresh.
Catering style works for curries. They usually get a bit better with a day of age. But NOT with drinks, and especially not with anything with doughs.
They had TV monitors mounted on the walls. Thank God they were not turned on.
The roti was tasty, but again the texture was slightly off and it was very thick for a roti. I accept that this may be the norm for a cuisine I'm not used to. The flavor was pretty darned delicious.
On the plus side, I know at least some of the items are freshly made, as they had a chef out front of house making fresh items. Just didn't happen to order them this time.
Overall impressions are good. I'll stop at the ATM and go there again and try something new. The overall cuisine is terrific. I hope that the initial kinks are worked out and that the food will be (or at least seem) more freshly prepared and less brought out of the freezer.
Worth a try, but don't expect too much yet.
re: Melanie Wong
I drove by there today and the Open sign was in the window.
How many Sri Lankan restaurants are there in the Bay Area?
> I have no idea what Sri Lankan cuisine is all about
Very similar to Indian. It's an island off the south coast of India. Used to be called Ceylon.
> right next to Lumpia House
Yeah. I was in there recently. Hadn't been in there for quite a while. One of the items on the lunch special was Bicol Express. It was great. Didn't know what it was. Turns out wikipedia has a page on it. It's named for a district in Manila. One of the legends (not on wikipedia, on another site) says that it was named after a train that passed throught the local station.
8937 San Ramon Rd, Dublin, CA 94568
The only other one I know of is Spicy Leaves in Los Altos. They have a few Sri Lankan dishes; the rest of the menu is Indian. Their Sri Lankan dishes are quite good, but I don't know if I could discern the regional differences based on that small sampling, aside from some of the spicing seeming more southern- than northern-style.
I've never been to India or Sri Lanka so I'm no expert on different Indian regions. But as we get more Indian regional restaurants it's been great to explore more dishes. Madura in Sunnyvale is currently providing a nice introduction to Tamil Nadu cuisine!
re: Melanie Wong