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Scorcher reviews: Elephant Corridor

Scorcher Davidson

Elephant Corridor

179 Coleman Parade, Glen Waverley

More info here.

Click PLAY below to hear Scorcher’s review on 3AW Breakfast

Sri Lanka holds a certain allure for me. I want Kandy and I’m not talking about the edible kind.

The country has catapulted right to the summit of my bucket list in recent years owing to articles I’ve read and pictures of seen of ancient Buddhist ruins, lush tea estates and golden beaches.

“India’s teardrop” is experiencing a tourism boom at the moment with international visitor numbers up more than 10 per cent this year. And with direct flights from Melbourne to Colombo it’s now easier than ever to get there.

And it’s at this point, dear reader, where you pause to ask: “Hey Scorcher, isn’t this meant to be a restaurant review? Why do I give an elephant’s tusk about your travel musings on Sri Lanka?”

And you’re right, of course. My hankering for some spicy Ceylonese cuisine has driven me to daydream of a bit of downtime on a sandy Sri Lankan beach.

But with all my holiday time done and dusted for the foreseeable future, the closest I’m ever going to get to Sri Lanka is Glen Waverley. Or, more specifically, Elephant Corridor in Glen Waverley, a buzzy little jewel of a restaurant tucked away on the edge of shopping centre car park in Melbourne’s outer south-east.

Opened in 2011 and hugely popular with locals, Elephant Corridor bangs out authentic, comforting Sri Lankan and Indian dishes to ravenous Glen Waverleyites looking for good food at a keen price.

We visited on a Friday evening and there was a line out the door of folk eager for a curry fix. But it’s not just the fragrant kormas or spicy vindaloos that have diners hopping to snag themselves a table; a Sri Lankan speciality called hoppers – thin, bowl-shaped pancakes – is one of Elephant Corridor’s main drawcards (come Sunday and Monday evenings for ‘Hopper Delights’ nights).

Served in two varieties – one made from a rice flour batter, the other a nest of thin rice noodles – hoppers are traditionally loaded up with accompaniments such as kiri hothi (a yellow spiced onion gravy), meat curries or coconut sambol and eaten by hand.

The menu is quite extensive but I veered more towards the smattering of Sri Lankan selections. The Sri Lankan-style salt and pepper calamari was some of the schmickest I’ve tasted but it’s not a dish for those who can’t handle a bit of heat; wok tossed with curry leaves, chilli oil and pepper, this is approaching “blow-your-knackers-off territory” on the Scoville scale.

The dish that got my elephant ears flapping was the lamb kothu-roti, a deliciously dense bundle of lean meat, capsicum, tomato, lemongrass and juliette omelette that’s eaten as street food on the subcontinent.

The Sri Lankan devilled chicken, with soft boneless meat and smooth tomato-based spicy sauce, was super tasty but the dry goat curry, which promised so much on paper, was a bit of a letdown. While good to dunk flaky garlic naan into, the goat itself lacked a bit of tenderness and succulence.

The service here is as warm as the food, with chipper staff enthusiastic to walk quizzical diners through their menu choices.

So if, like me, you fancy a taste of Sri Lanka but can’t get to Colombo anytime soon, a trip down the Elephant Corridor may just be the next best thing.

Scorcher Davidson
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