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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Review: Cafe Little Hut - Russell St, CBD

This tiny little cafe on Russell St, near the corner of Little Lonsdale St. greets you with the tagline "Beyond Expectations". On entry you see that it can only seat a few people and from speaking to its owner it's success relies on its regular patronage, who have obviously had their expectations meet. 
We were there at around 1pm which turned out to be not the best time to dine as we had missed out on seeing the bain maries full of food.  Of the remaining morsels in the servery was enough to make up two full sized plates for our lunch meal. 
The owner-operator, who was quite welcoming and friendly gave us a bit of history on her endeavour with Cafe Little Hut. When acquired three years ago in 2008 it read simply Cafe 294, and served coffee to the regulars. Not being on the busier end of Russell St, the need to expand the menu to include lunch items was quickly realised. The result is a bain marie laden with home-cooked style Sri Lankan goodness. 
Our plates came served to our tables with a timbale of rice on the centre of a square plate surrounded by small serves of various dishes akin to a plate you would be served at your auntie's house. There was a small serve of chicken curry and a dryer style beef curry. A couple of vegetable dishes and a nice serve of homemade chutney.
Whilst the plate set-up is that more of a tasting plate rather than the regular rice and curry affair, it does give you trip through the Sri Lankan menu. The curries are well seasoned and spiced with just the right amount of heat for my trained palate. The definite highlight is the chutney which is reminiscent of South East Asian sambals, and it complements each mouthful very nicely.
For home-style cooking that you know is from the heart Cafe Little Hut definitely delivers. I do recommend an earlier lunch visit to ensure you can get more of the dish you like, although the tasting plate with rice that we had was also quite pleasing.

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