Taste of Lewisham, a fairly recently refurbished Sri Lankan restaurant located within walking distance of Lewisham DLR, serves up some pretty authentic Sri Lankan (think South Indian, if you've not eaten this kind of food before) cuisine. It is also incredibly spicy. I don't know if they offer a mild option - I doubt it - and these guys sure as heck don't warn you when you're ordering.
Anyway, this is only my second visit to this place, my first having been more than a year ago. I can't remember what it used to be called, and while Taste of Lewisham has clearly undergone a refurbishment - it certainly wasn't this clean or shiny or orange and didn't have an English name during my last visit - the menu, quality of food and the prices have remained unchanged. And that's a good thing!
In a bid to be healthy, having had a cholestrol-laden dinner the night before, followed by an equally cholestrol-laden breakfast in the morning, we opted for paneer 65 (Indian cheese fried in spices, £3.75) for a starter, followed by lamb curry (£4.25), mixed vegetable curry (£3.50) and two servings of stringhoppers (idiyappam in tamil, something similar to vermicelli cakes, one portion for £3.50).
The paneer 65 was delicious! Apparently, it's named after a dish found in some restaurant some place and was number 65 on that particular menu. There're different versions of the recipe all over the world wide web, and this one, whatever it is, was amazing. I wasn't so keen on the raw onions, but the curry leaves were a nice touch.
Then came the main courses. I'd remembered that I wasn't quite able to handle the spiciness of the food the last time I was here, and this time was no different, with my lips starting to burn, and my finishing off half a can of Diet Coke even before finishing up one of the ten stringhopper cakes on my plate. I gradually got used to it and thought to myself, "this isn't so bad" when I made the cardinal error of biting into what I thought was a stringbean but which turned out to be a green chilli. I wasn't able to speak for some time after that. I started to sniffle quite badly and finished off three more cakes before regaining my powers of speech which were rapidly used to gesture at the offending chilli which I had spat out onto my plate and exclaimed, "I bit into a f***ing chilli! F***!"
That aside, the food was good. The bill came out to less than £20 including two soft drinks (60 p each), and I reckon that two could end up dining here for even cheaper if you don't go for the stringhoppers but instead opt for rice or dosai. Mind you, as I mentioned in the first paragraph, the food is hot. Very much so. I don't think my stomach could have survived if we'd ordered any more food!Taste of Lewisham
19 Lee High Road
London SE13 5LD