After receiving lots of positive recommendations for Dhanista's, I decided it was about time for me to try this new(ish) Sri Lankan restaurant for myself. I also happened to stumble across a voucher online for £30 worth of food for two, for only £10! Very lucky indeed.
After some gentle coaxing to get my boyfriend to go, and avoiding the temptation from the aromas wafting out of the profusion of other restaurants on London Road, I arrived.
On entering I was rather surprised to see how bright it was: it was nearly 7pm and yet it looked like lunch time. Some curtains and candles might be a good idea so as to create a better evening atmosphere.
The staff were very welcoming and friendly. I could smell the aroma of various spices and garlic floating through the kitchen into the restaurant. Looking at the menu I remember feeling a rare excitement, mostly arising from the fact that there were so many dishes that I had never heard of, let alone tasted, before.
We chose masala squid and a mushroom dish to start, followed by aubergine curry, butter chicken, egg kotthu and pilau rice.
Our food arrived shortly after, and I dug past the unwanted raw onions to some very tender and tasty squid. I've never had squid 'Indian-style' before, but this definitely won't be the last time! However, I do feel it could have benefited from a dipping sauce of some sort.
The mushrooms were gorgeously rich and had been coated in batter, fried and served with a spicy tomato sauce.
I had been slightly worried, when ordering, about the portions being too big and daunting, but I needn't have worried as they were spot on. The mains arrived and, with them, mouth-watering smells.
Two whole baby aubergines and a rich coconut and lime leaf sauce made up my brinjal curry. It tasted as good as it smelt. The occasional surprise crunch of a whole fennel, cumin or coriander seed filled my whole mouth with the perfumes. An explosion of taste. The texture of the aubergine was spot on: charred on the outside with a silky interior.
The pilau was perfectly cooked and fluffy with various colours and spices. The egg kotthu (basically a chopped up paratha mixed with chopped egg and spring onions) is pure comfort food. It brings back childhood memories of my mums last-minute meals of fried egg on paratha - delicious!
The whole thing comes to just over £30 and unfortunately they don't accept my discount code as I'd not printed off the voucher and attempted to show them the e-mail on my phone. Oops, silly me. But, I suppose that this gives me another excuse to come down again another time!
I'm happy Sheffield has a new Sri Lankan restaurant to join East and West. I find that most other Indian restaurants simply do not compare, with their oil-laden dishes that taste exactly the same as one another. Give me more fresh and simple flavours from South India any day.
My trip to Dhanistas has sparked in me fresh anticipation for my holiday to India, thats for sure!