Vinisha, Loampit Hill

2 Loampit Hill
SE13 7SW

Thanks to Niru, who sent us this great review of local Sri Lankan restaurant, Vinisha:

Shortly after moving to Brockley, my no-nonsense bookshelf-builder asked me where I was born and then pointed me in the direction of Loampit Hill to a row of Sri Lankan businesses. Since then I have been working my way through the menu of Vinisha.

Sri Lankan food is seriously hot. Ingredients such as dried Maldive fish and coconut milk differentiate it from Indian food and many dishes are fired by the startling combination of chilli, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, garlic, ginger and fennel seeds. But there are friendly entry-points. Hoppers, which are pancakes made from a fermented batter of rice flour, are excellent eaten with seeni sambal, a spiced onion relish.

The closely related dosais are also satisfying. Once you’ve got a handle on these, I can recommend the authenticity of the biriyanis – hotter and sweeter than their Indian counterparts, and also that of the staple dish of Sri Lanka, the unglamorous sounding “chicken curry”. This gravy-heavy dish shows off the peculiar sour-hot tastes that typify Sri Lankan cooking best. Mop it up with cholesterol-raising puris and some plain rice.

You have to try very hard and have a glutton’s appetite to spend over a tenner per head here – I have, and have been pounding the hills of my newly adopted area in some sort of effort at counter-balancing the effects of this excellent find.