Mama’s Restaurant – Meet The Sri Lankan WonderwomanDreaming of Kottu, Rotti and never-ending Curry.

Lucy Theobald

3 years ago in Sri Lanka

A couple of weeks ago, I was wondering through the streets of Perranporth after a day at the Surf School, when I bumped into a friend called Waffles (he’s actually called Matt but he used to sell waffles). We had a brief chat about tragic surf, weather and taxis and somehow started chatting about Sri Lanka.   It wasn’t long before he asked me if I had been to “Mama’s Restaurant”.

My response was a little squeal of joy, “OF COURSE!”  Soon, we were chatting about how awesome Mama was and how much I missed her all-you-can-eat curry buffet.We reminisced about the clanging of Kottu Rotti.  The rhythmic chopping drew all of us into Mama’s Restaurant where we sat on sticky plastic chairs in the evening heat,  sipping on lassis.

Feast your eyes!

By the end of our chat, Waffles and I were dreaming of curry and wishing we were back in Sri Lanka, consuming Mama’s warm smiles, energetic laughter and delicious curry.

But who exactly is Mama and why is her restaurant so special?

Well let me tell you…

Who is Mama?

To me, Mama is a sort of Sri Lankan wonder-woman who runs a restaurant in Midigma on the South Coast of Sri Lanka.  Concealed in a narrow plot away from the buzzing streets lined with hotels, surf camps and eateries, it’s literally in her front living room.

To many, she might seem like any of the other locals who rely on travellers venturing here to score waves for their livelihoods. Yet, there’s something about her restaurant and her hospitality that sticks with you. When you walk into Mama’s Restaurant it almost feels like being welcomed into a family home for dinner. Mama stands on the doorstep with a beaming smile and ensure’s you’re fed a hearty meal to fuel you for surfing. I am in awe of her. I dont know how she manages to look after her family, run a household and feed a bunch of hungry surfers all in one (oh so generous) helping. Our lives seem a lot less complex in comparison.

She treats you to the classic Sri Lanka Menu: curry, sambol, rotti, kottu, lassis… You name it, she’s got it.

Mama’s Restaurant. Photo

Why is Mama’s Restaurant so Special?

For me,the plastic table cloths and chairs and bright interior are a reminder of summer parties where everyone crowds round the barbie, laughing and enjoying food together, but there are a number of things that make Mama’s restaurant so special and that make her globally renowned by surfers.

Of course, it goes without saying that she does some of the best curry in Midigama.  All the produce is sourced locally- it may sound clichéd, but you really do get a taste of Sri Lanka here.

Mama standing proudly. She’s only looking a little less happy because its the end of season and “Mama tired now.”

Mama has also managed to reincarnate eating together as a special social occasion. It’s great being able to sit round the table with your family and friends, talk about your days surfing and tuck into some hearty grub.  With “offline” moments becoming fewer and fewer, and the pace at which we work, interact and live getting faster and faster, it often feels like moments spent together around the dinner table are diminishing. Mama has somehow been able to strip all this back to the basics and bring everyone back together over the dinner table.

Part of the family

At Mama’s, it’s also refreshing to see so many surfers indulging in local cuisine and not opting for all the faddy pop-up cafés that seem to be popping up everywhere within surf culture; we take so much when we travel, it’s important to give back to the local community.

Lastly, there are very few places you’ll go to eat where you’ll be made to feel like part of the furniture and part of a family. I’ve never met a restaurant owner who is as friendly, passionate and loving as Mama, a feeling that resonates with the everyone who comes here to eat.

So next time you’re in Sri Lanka, make sure you visit Mama at her restaurant.The curry is calling!

You might even want to join us there on a surf trip! The curry is calling!

Or, if you fancy finding out more about Sri Lankan food, click here!

Photos courtesy of @pindygram