Rusi is the brainchild of the folks behind The Office Pub close by. The Sri Lankan takeout counter replaces a custom sushi counter, Maki My Way, paving the way for food trends of the future.
In fact, much of what’s sold here is actually prepared in the Office kitchen since it’s so close.
Though this is located in a food court there are only a few other restaurants in the space, so competition for seating in the long, narrow dining hall is low. Rusi is the first operation in the space to the right of the door as soon as you walk in.
Sweet and spicy onion buns ($1.50) are part of an appetizers section of the menu, often known as “short eats” in the Sri Lankan community. The thick crusty dough outside encases gooey onion jam that’s spicy and sweet as promised.
Fish cutlet croquettes ($1) are filled with spicy curried fish and potato, the outside crispy.
There are also chicken patties and veggie patties ($1), fish buns ($1.50) and mutton rolls ($2).
Mutton kothu rotti ($11.99) is the most expensive variety, but sings with a depth of flavour for a takeout meal, sliced scallions and a lemon wedge lending brightness to this comfort meal.
Chicken kothu rotti is $9.99, like the mutton the chopped pieces of rotti pancake mixed with onions, egg and cabbage with chicken curry on top.
It’s the same chicken curry that goes with the chicken biryani we grab, made from chicken breast. We get the meal with an addictive eggplant curry and a refreshing but still spicy carrot salad, all that accompanied by a hard-boiled egg.
Squid curry starts at $7.95 for a small order, $13.95 for a large. The chewy protein is slathered in warmly spiced curry sauce that’s again basically the same as that used for the chicken. We get this meal with comfortingly basic pureed spinach, daal curry and a mix of beans.
Chicken thali ($9.99) is a crazy deal for a what you’re getting, chicken curry, rice, papadum and your choice of three veggie curries. It’s filling enough to share easily, especially if you heap on a few extra veggies like we did, kale salad, beetroot salad and curry potatoes joining the same carrot salad and eggplant.
There aren’t many dedicated Sri Lankan restaurants downtown, but Rusi and The Office Pub manager San Yoges is aiming to change that. He notes that many people are already kothu rotti fans, and even more like spicy curries, so with the opening of Rusi we’ll see if that number keeps growing.