I don’t normally travel that far just to check out a restaurant as you know. There are a lot more places that we have never try before within 20 minutes drive from home. OK, maybe I would take a long drive if it is just Suanne and I. With the boys, it is not that easy. They will grumble and complain the moment we drive over the bridge … any bridge. As long as we keep within the boundary of the island that is Richmond, they are fine.
But this one is different.
Earlier this month, Mike wrote to us about this restaurant that he likes a lot. He was telling us about the owner chef who specializes on Sri Lankan food and named a few dishes that he had tried that sounded very interesting.
This time, we did not tell the boys where we are going. They kept asking. I kept telling them it’s a secret. When they saw me driving along Stevestons Highway and then onto Highway 99, they knew it is not good. They knew it is not going to be anywhere in Richmond. Then I turned onto Highway 91 and that very instant both of them knew something is not right. We are going somewhere far far away. LOL!
They even timed the journey and told me that I took away 45 minutes of their life cooped up in the car. *shrug*
Kurumba is located on St Johns Street in Port Moody. We had never blogged about any restaurant in Port Moody before. We even had to create a new “Vancouver Restaurants > Port Moody” category just for this post.
The inside of the restaurant is very clean and neat. It is an average sized restaurant — maybe seats 40 or so. We made reservation thinking that this restaurant might be very popular but it seems like reservation was totally unnecessary. At 5:30PM, we were the only customers. There was a table that had a reserved sign prearranged for 12 people though which I thought is a positive sign.
Service was really good. They have three front staff who were really friendly and helpful. The more senior one, we initially mistook for the owner because she was boldly asking us about the camera and straight away asked if we were journalists. We said no and that we just like taking pictures of the food we eat. Often an employee will not ask so point blankly but an owner would.
It turned out that the senior lady is just in charge of the dining area. I thought that for a restaurant this quiet, they are over staffed.
We learned a few things. Since Mike said that this is a Sri Lankan restaurant, I assumed that the name Kurumba came from the name of the largest city in Sri Lanka, Colombo. Wrong. It is named after a kind of coconut common in Sri Lanka.
This is going to be confusing, I know. I am kind of confused myself. Mike says that this is a Sri Lankan restaurant and that the chef is Chinese who lived for a long time in Sri Lanka. When I asked the senior lady about the chef, she said that the chef was a Malaysian and the mum of the chef is from Indonesia. See what I mean when I say I am confused.
It kind of figured because the signage outside the restaurant (see 1st picture above) says “Kurumba Restaurant — Cuisines of Asia”.
The restaurant had been in operation for three years already and yet they are relatively unknown. There is no word of this restaurant on Urbanspoon but at least on Dinehere.ca there are quite a number of entries. Anyway, when you look for restaurant reviews what do you normally use? I mean aside from blogs. I find that I trust dinehere.ca more than Urbanspoon. Urbanspoon is too lop sided if you know what I mean. Yelp? I don’t even check them anymore. Both Urbanspoon and Yelp, I find, prey on reviewers vanity by giving them incentive to review more to get a higher rank. Anyway, I digressed.
I find it kind of puzzling why this restaurant had flew under the radar for so long because the food here is more than decent. It was pretty good.
When we read the menu, it made more sense. Most of the menu items are Sri Lankan and Malaysian dishes, albeit Chinese Malaysian dishes.
The Sri Lankan dishes are easily identified. Most of the have the word “Sri Lankan …” on it. :-)
Then there is dishes with words like sambal, roti canai amidst other Chinese Malaysian dishes.
The menu speaks of spiciness in a lot of the dishes too. The thing is that they did not indicate if the dishes are spicy nor did they ask us how spicy we want it — just like in Asia, they don’t ask you. They will make it as spicy as it is meant to be. And oh boy … it is spicy. Both Suanne and I broke sweat eating here which is rare because we grew up eating chilli every day.
The Char Ho Fun is their most popular dish. Even Mike was telling us that he saw many people ordering the few times he was there.
We ordered the seafood version which is $12. It is available with beef or chicken version which is a dollar cheaper.
Fantastico … made just like the way we remember it in Malaysia. This is not spicy of course and is common to Chinese Malaysian. In KL this is popularly known as Cantonese Fried Noodles or Gong Fu Chow but this one has more sauce.
The sauce is what makes this dish great. It is a thick … egg sauce that pretty much defines this dish.
The noodles that get served with the Char Hor Fun is rice noodles. They allow you to choose the noodles you want but trust me … you want to have this with rice noodles and make sure you also choose the seafood.
Actually they have a lot of ingredients which is more than the noodles. We are not complaining of course. The serving is big and more than sufficient for two people.
We were glad to see that they even served pickled green chilies with the Char Hor Fun, although they use a smaller variety of chili. They taste just like the bigger ones that we were used too. So this was good because not many people serves this anymore.
This was a good start to our meal.
We enjoyed this dish a lot. Mike recommended this one first and foremost and so we thought we must order this.
It is called the Kurumba Platter ($20). The platter consisted of crispy veggie rolls, sliced BBQ pork, Calamari rings, hot garlic wings and roti canai. Be forewarned that this is a huge platter. The entire platter took up the space of almost the entire table. Do NOT order this if you have only two people.
He he he … all of us ate this dish with our hands. I think it even tastes better, not to mention fun, eating it with hands … and it is the way its meant to be. Nanzaro and Arkensen loves this dish. At times I saw that they have one hand with food in the mouth and the other hand picking up the next piece. Finger food at its best!
Oh there are also several dips served with the platter. Each of them are meant to go with the items on the platter. The dips are curry dip, chili garlic, plum plus an eggplant dip which is interestingly sourish.
The roti canai is beautiful. Flaky and soft. I was just thinking about Bo Laksa King’s roti canai and I must say that this one beats Bo’s in my books (sorry Bo!).
The piece of roti canai is so big. The above picture was taken when it was already part eaten and we realized that it is one big piece of roti canai. Never seen it that big before.
Oh yeah, we quickly bunch it up again because we wanted to make sure it stays warm. Roti canai must be eaten warm.
The curry that goes with the roti was spicy enough and has the right consistency we expected. I wished they would give us more than just a small bowl.
Despite the flatten look of the spring rolls and also the visible greasiness of it, the skin was really crispy and the cabbage, carrot and celery in it was warm. Yeah, it was the skin that scores for this item — not the looks.
The hot garlic wings takes the prize for the most spiciest of the dishes we had. You better believe how spicy it is. It is the shallots, garlic and chilli that tops the wings that give it the real kick. This is the one that made Suanne and I broke sweat.
The calamari rings was just OK. I mean, there are nothing much to it especially in comparison to the earlier items I described above.
The BBQ Pork (char siu) was just so so. It tasted good but it did not look particularly great.
This is a Sri Lankan restaurant right? So we had to order a Sri Lankan dish.
The $10 Beef Kotthu Roti was recommended both by Mike and the senior lady. The senior lady told us that this is a Sri Lankan hawker-styled specialty prepared from roti chopped into shreds and then stir fried with onions and eggs.
At a glance this looked like char koay teow but obviously the “rice noodles” are actually cut roti. It has a firmer texture.
The beef were delightfully chunky. This dish is rich in spice flavour.
I was told that this is a dish that is very Sri Lankan and is close to being the national dish. You got to try this at least once in your life … it is unique in many ways.
I wasn’t thinking right. It did not occur to me that we already had too much food ordered. And yet I ordered the Sri Lankan Beef Tripe Curry ($8) because I find the combination of tripe and curry and the word “Sri Lankan” interesting.
The tripe was too soft and it softened out the spiciness of the supposedly good curry. It was our least liked dish. Enough said.
The silliness did not stop at the tripe. I also ordered the Sambal Green Beans ($10). It was good and has a lot of sambal. Yeah, you want to maximize the sambal by ordering rice. Really, the sambal goes great with steamed rice.
The sambal wasn’t too spicy though.
It was not too cheap as a meal for the family but then I do realize we over ordered that day. But overall, their prices is on a slightly higher side.
So with all the effort to drive all the way from Richmond, I had to ask the chief complainer, Arkensen, if the food is worth the 45 minutes drive. He said “It is OK”. I interpret that he is satisfied and he is not complaining anymore.
And guess what, I had to take the scenic route back to Richmond which took us 70 minutes to get home.
I like Kurumba. Their food is really good, well at least most of them. There are a lot of items on the menu that we would love to try someday. Go click on the menu further up this post and check them out one more time. If you are familiar with Malaysian and Sri Lankan food, you will probably be salivating reading it.
|Kurumba Restaurant [Website]
107-3003 St. Johns Street, Port Moody [Map]
11AM – 10PM ♦ 7 days a week