FOOD FOR THE SOUL
Arugam Bay is a small town on the east coast of Sri Lanka, known for its beautiful beaches and world-class surfing. It is a popular destination for both experienced and beginner surfers, and is also home to a vibrant local culture and community.
Tucked into a little corner of Sri Lanka’s south-east coast, Arugam Bay is a perfect mix of sun, surf and sand. This first-rate point break also has some great food (owing to the splendid mix of local Tamil and Sinhalese, and expats). And while it’s very important to sculpt a beach and hang ten, eating your way across the town’s many restaurants lining the main road, between sunbathing breaks, is equally essential.
Slice, slice baby
The Seahorse Inn and Pizzeria’s garden restaurant, with wooden picnic tables and white-stone benches, is perfect for long conversations over pizzas and mojitos. Start with the Margherita, dripping with mozzarella, or the Primavera with succulent bits of grilled eggplant and peppers. The Infierno (Rs. 540) is slathered with chunks of pepperoni and hints of chilli, and pairs perfectly with a beer (00-94¬771-722-364; www.seahorseinnabay.com; 44, Panama Rd [toward the end of the Main Rd]; pizzas from 6pm; from Rs. 360).
Doughn’t you wish your roti would taste like this?
A local pit stop, Ali’s on the main road might look dingy, but the spicy kottu roti here will brighten up your afternoon! Sinhalese for chopped roti, kottu is a deliciously greasy, pocket-friendly Sri Lankan street food staple. Flaky bits of parotta are furiously chopped and fried with eggs, leftover chicken curry and julienned vegetables. In the spirit of gluttony, make sure you try all kinds – vegetable, chicken and cheese (Main Rd; kottu: Rs.100).
A hop, skip and a jump from the beach, sit down at The Folly’s communal table and feel the sand beneath your feet as you enjoy great breakfast grub. You can’t go wrong with the shakshuka, perfectly runny eggs swimming in a fiery tomato gravy, with lashings of basil and Parmesan, served with hunks of crusty, buttered bread. There’s also giant papaya boats groaning with muesli and fresh yoghurt, Nutella-smeared crepes and thick smoothies to induce a food coma (00-94-773-387¬808; Aloha Rd; 6.30am – 10.30pm; shakshuka: Rs. 235.00, papaya boat: Rs. 235.00, breakfastfrom Rs. 160.00).
Better latte than never
The Hideaway Resort’s fancy restaurant offers fresh and seasonal dishes. Do try the signature dishes, like the prawns coated in herb butter, olive oil- soaked potatoes or the seared snapper with a curried coconut salad. A bit more easygoing, Hideaway Blue, the hole-in-the-wall coffee shop does excellent house blends (00-94-774-596¬670; www.hideawayarugambay.com; Ulle; Hideaway Blue: 7.30am – 3pm, Hideaway Restaurant: 7.30am – 2.30pm, from 6.30pm onwards; coffee from Rs. 135, mains from Rs. 180).
Set bang on the beach, The Gecko’s restaurant is the place for ice cream. With oodles of charm, this is also a great romantic restaurant. Sip on the tangy tamarind lime soda and return each night during your time here for exceptional homemade ice cream in flavours like chocolate and creamy coconut (00-94-771-591-265, 00-94-632¬248-212; Main St; 7am – 10pm Mon – Thur, till 12am Fri – Sat, 8am – 10.45pm Sun).