One of London’s widest choices of Sri Lankan food is reason enough to visit Gana, but don’t expect fripperies. Behind the frosted-glass frontage, you’ll find a café-style interior with shiny wood-effect table-tops, chequered tiled floor and a glass display counter.
Downstairs is the ‘basement hall facility (family only)’, a murky, compact, woody room with space for about 30. A mid-afternoon meal was let down by tepid dishes (a party at a neighbouring table sent their order back to be reheated), but full-flavoured, uncompromisingly fiery food in huge portions at low prices won us over. Rasam soup (one of several South Indian dishes, only £1.50) was pleasingly peppery and deliciously tart with tamarind. Other highlights were the soft and savoury fish cutlets (fish cakes); the string hoppers, served with crunchy-fresh coconut sambol and tangy sothi gravy; beautifully smoky aubergine jaffna; and Gana special kothu roti, a pasta-like ‘bread biriani’ mixed with mutton, chicken and egg.
In contrast, ‘mutton curry with bone, liver and heart’ was hard work: the gravy sublime, the offal tender, but the clattering preponderance of bone a challenge. Kind staff tend solicitously to their mostly Sri Lankan clientele.