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The Boston Globe

Food & dining

short order

Sri Lankan curries closer at L’Aroma Cafe

Salmon curry at L’Aroma Cafe.

ESSDRAS M SUAREZ/GLOBE STAFF

Salmon curry at L’Aroma Cafe.

Ysuff  (left) and Haleema Salie, their son Afkham,  (back right) and grandson Sinan at L’Aroma Cafe.

The Boston Globe

Ysuff (left) and Haleema Salie, their son Afkham, (back right) and grandson Sinan at L’Aroma Cafe.

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Sri Lankan curries, influenced by neighboring India, and also by the Portuguese, Dutch, and British who colonized the island country, are distinct but not widely known. Now you can try one at L’Aroma Cafe in West Newton. Sri Lankan owners Haleema and Ysuff Salie, who have lived here for two decades, began a curry-lunch special ($10 to $12) a few months ago. (They owned a cafe of the same name in the Back Bay for eight years until they closed it last year, but they never made their native curries there.) “Sri Lankan curries are hard to find,” Ysuff explains. For the salmon curry, a customer favorite, the fish comes in a sauce of onions, tomatoes, curry leaves, mustard seeds, and coriander. First it is cooked with mango to enhance the flavor, then served with basmati rice, sauteed bitter melon, pappadums, and sambal, a chutney of ground coconut and red chiles. The Salies do the cooking, son Afkham manages the cafe, and grandson Sinan mans the register. Besides the lunch specials, there are sandwiches and salads ($8) and sides such as tomato chutney ($2). Teas are mostly from Sri Lanka and Japan and include exotic options like Kyoto rose. L’Aroma Cafe and Bakery, 15 Spencer St., West Newton, 617-630-0006, www.laromacafe.com.

SENA DESAI GOPAL

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