With a name meaning ‘elephant’ in Sinhalese, the mascot of Sri Lankan restaurant Aliyaa has a strong presence in the restaurant with quirky stone sculptures, embossed ceramic plates and – most notably of all – the custom paper placemats created by renowned Malaysian artist Yusof Gajah. Aliyaa exudes a trendy, artistic vibe with photographs and paintings from local artists displayed prominently on the walls, forming a colourful backdrop to the monochrome arrangement of black leather chairs and white tablecloths.
Al fresco dining is common at dining establishments in the Bangsar and Hartamas area – and Aliyaa is no exception. For those looking to relax in style, however, there are plans to build a lounge area on the second floor of the restaurant, complete with a well stocked island bar and cabinets of famous Cuban cigars. The dim lighting creates a more laid back, intimate atmosphere classic of most upscale eateries, while lively music pipes constantly from the speakers to set an upbeat mood.
When it comes to a dish, the spotlight tends to be on the main ingredient – be it meat, fish, fowl or even vegetables. However, here at Aliyaa, the spices are the stars. Imported all the way from Sri Lanka, these unique spices create the distinctive curry powder that forms the all important base of their delicious curries. Also a must try at this cosy restaurant is the Sri Lankan giant mud crab with its soft and tender flesh, typically cooked in a tantalising spicy curry that melds both of Sri Lanka’s best offerings into one scrumptious dish.
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