Nadi Curry House - Some very legit Sri Lankan food off High Street North (East Ham)
I've been going to this place whenever I get the time (usually to grab takeaway which I'll have the next day) as every meal I've had there has been excellent, but I'm always on my way to Thattukada when I pass it. The restaurant itself is just off High Street North on the same road as The Overdraft (Sibley Grove I believe) with easily visible signage. The actual interior is extremely small with no real seating besides a few stools which were only recently added.
The business is family run with a different relative (or set of relatives) manning the counter each time I've gone. Nothing is prepared to order unfortunately, but the quality of the food in their steam table is extremely impressive. The prices are also shockingly low compared to somewhere like Lihiniya (which I need to get back to ASAP now that his wife is in town) and everything I've eaten at Nadi has been better than equivalent dishes in Cricklewood (though again, I need to give it another shot now that the owner's wife is back.)
So far I've had the maniokka (fried casava) with homemade chili chutney, the banana flower curry, the jackfruit curry, the dal curry, and the lamb curry. Everything has been incredibly good, though the real standouts were the jackfruit and banana flower dishes. The latter seemed to also have dried fish in it (so ask in advance if you're veg) which added a textural change to what was otherwise a mass of banana flower petals. Extremely nutty with a note of dried fish. This is also the first non-Bangladeshi banana flower dish I've ever had. The jackfruit curry was tangy with tender jackfruit and a much thicker "gravy." Very pungent tang with a lot of spice cutting it ever so slightly, but quite addictive. The lamb liver was also one of the better dishes I've had there though it was extremely simple. Relatively large chunks of liver were practically caked with chili and then cooked up with onions, chilies, peppers and scallions. The flavor was much simpler than the above two dishes, but the liver itself was delicious without an overly mineral-y taste. I had it microwaved at home the day after I bought it and it still held its texture and flavor without a strong aftertaste.
All in all I've spent about 15 pounds at this place for all of the above dishes I've tried. It's -really- cheap and the takeaway portions are large enough for a couple of meals. They seem to be doing decent business, but their location and lack of seating means that they could probably use the attention that Chowhound may bring.
The food is distinctly Sri Lankan and the owners are Sinhalese. They also have breakfast in the morning with kattu sambol, string hoppers, etc on offer. Unfortunately they don't have hoppers and given their steam table arrangement I don't even know if the cooking is done on the premises so this might not change.
And this is the part where Dave goes and writes a follow up post ;)
Bit of an update from today's Sri Lankan food run.
The food is all cooked at home and then sold at the location of the place. Given their licensing they can't actually cook in their "restaurant" so the hoppers situation is not likely to be resolved any time soon. They've now added a little sign on High Street North itself that has some menu pictures and points you down the road to their place too. Still though, there's only 2 seats inside and it would be difficult to do anything Chow event-ish at this place right now.
The aubergine "curry" is a dish of quite spicy aubergine slices cooked in a rich oily gravy. It's not thick, more oily and translucent with a roasted flavor. This is the simplest veg dish I've had here and the flavors are more akin to something I would have at an Indian restaurant, but the appearance is extremely Sri Lankan (from what I'm starting to learn of a cuisine that I'm shockingly ignorant of.) Very good and the aubergines stood up to microwaving well.
The highlight today was a dish I haven't seen in here before. Dried fish curry! Completely different from something like Bangladeshi shutki, though the smell is similar. A strong fishy odor gives way to delicate white flesh which maintained its taste and texture despite the drying process (unlike say shutki. I think fermented fish would be a better description.) Though the scent is a bit funky, the flavor is pretty much akin to a mackerel curry. The thick black gravy is more strongly scented and flavored than the fish itself which is delicate and clean with a certain tamarind-like tanginess similar to the flavor I tasted in the jackfruit curry.
All in all great stuff. I haven't had a single bad dish here yet.
The other stuff the had today consisted of a chicken gizzards dish, lamb stomach, lamb curry, chicken curry, fried patties filled with shredded coconut and honey, fried cassava, various fried biscuit looking things with whole shell on prawns embedded in them, the stuff written about above, chickpea and potato curry, spinach, two types of biriyani, dal curry, etc. Probably one or two more that I'm missing.
Another update on an ever changing little restaurant.
I went back for the first time in a while today and the food's still excellent. They do meal deals now which allows 2 veg and a selection of meat based dishes with rice for 3.49. I ended up doing a dhal curry, chana and potato curry and chicken gizzard meal with rice. I also grabbed a full portion of pumpkin curry which I haven't seen on offer much.
The chana and potato curry was OK while the dhal curry was still very good. A little bit on the salty side, but so was Lihiniya's. The pumpkin curry was incredibly good though. Very simple rich pumpkin cubes with a strongly flavored gravy which had a tang similar to that found in the jackfruit curry. Not nearly as tangy though; this curry was more of a buttery combination of pumpkin and gravy with a slightly sour note and a higher level of spice.
I believe the sourness in many of the dishes is coming from very liberal amounts of ground kokum.
It should be noted that I tried to make it over there for breakfast this morning only to find that they were still closed. When I made it back around lunch time it turned out they didn't do any of the breakfast dishes today anyway. I need to talk to them about when they would actually have them as I've been hunting their kattu sambol and string hoppers for a month.
I'm gonna check with the owners to make sure they're licensed. If not I'm going to delete these posts, but you can private message me for more details regarding this place.
There's no number for the address as far as I know seeing as the building itself is pretty much a shack in a tiny parking lot on Sibley Grove. The Overdraft Tavern is misplaced on Google Maps as its actually on the corner of Sibley Grove with a Bairstow Eves opposite it. You make a right on this road (or even look right) and then you'll see the place immediately.
Their lack of inspections may be that they're licensed as a takeaway or something else that doesn't allow cooking on the premises (this is what they told me when I asked them why they don't make hoppers. They prepare all of the food at home and the building doesn't have a kitchen.) They moved the counter around and added a few more stools so it can now seat about 4 at a counter, but it's still essentially a takeaway and I've not properly eaten a meal inside.