With a name like “Hotel Rolex,” there was little I could do but walk inside (this place is NOT associated with timepieces!).
A huge bright green entrance and a chef gesturing the double “A-Ok” on the sign, was way more than enough for me to come to a conclusion that they served delicious Sri Lankan food.
I was walking around the northern Sri Lankan city of Jaffna when I stumbled into this gem of a restaurant.
Note: Just so you know, throughout Sri Lanka restaurant’s are referred to as “Hotel’s.” They are not places to stay, but places to eat.
The smell of Sri Lankan spices and curries mixed with the humidity in the restaurant offered an irresistible therapeutic aroma.
Not having a clue of what to order, I just chatted with the friendly staff until this remarkable culinary artwork was delivered to the table.
It was heavenly…
…a Sri Lankan meal so good that I dug in with my hands and tuned out of the rest of the commotion in the loud man’s restaurant.
After seeing the selection of seafood loaded in the glass cabinet at the entrance of Hotel Rolex, I orded a small dish of squid curry.
It was superb, nicely rubbery and heavily spiced.
My meal at Hotel Rolex began with a plate of yellow rice that was topped with a series of curries.
The brinjal eggplant (the black stuff on the left), was one of my favorite things on the plate.
The eggplant is seared with salt, oil, sugar, and soy sauce to the point where it’s tender and bursting with flavor. If you visit Jaffna, you need to taste brinjal eggplant!
The entire meal was outstandingly tasty and comforting in a similar manner as a Chinese farm feast.
No full Sri Lankan meal would be complete without a few sides of paratha roti flatbread!
After devouring the squid with such happy results, I decided to sample the blackened shrimp.
They were pan-fried in soy sauce and sugar to obtain an excellent caramelized coating. They were on the greasy side, but apart from that, again Hotel Rolex came through with another mouth-watering dish.
Despite all the delicious Sri Lanka food, I just couldn’t believe how amazing they made daal curry.
Sri Lankan daal has to be some of the finest in the world. They have perfected their recipe of something simple just as Egyptian’s have perfected ful medames.
One reason the daal curry is so good is because they often cook it with coconut milk over a wood burning fire until it’s soft and almost creamy.
I ventured back into the kitchen at Hotel Rolex to meet the smiling chef.
Do you remember the chef depicted on the bright green front sign of Hotel Rolex (look back at the TOP photo)?
Not exactly the same chef, but in Sri Lanka, I’d definitely put my trust in a shirtless cook in wrap-around sarong!
The kitchen was absolutely sweltering, and I immediately started perspiring. The smells were overwhelmingly delicious.
Hotel Rolex Restaurant, Jaffna, Sri Lanka
- Address: No. 340, Hospital Road, Jaffna, Sri Lanka
- Prices: Huge piles of food are in the range of 200 LKR ($1.76) per person, for mixed rice, squid, shrimp curry