Late last year I had the chance to meet Isaac from Gluten Free by Isaac. Since the family are Geelong locals, I left it up to them to choose a venue for lunch. Michelle happily recommended Rook, a restaurant that I know they absolutely love going to in the Geelong CBD. Rook is a Sri Lankan Fusion restaurant located at 92-94 Malop Street in Geelong. You’ll easily recognize the large Rook chess piece logo on the front window.
After Michelle suggested the restaurant, I naturally did my own research. I was initially put off by their traces of gluten warning at the bottom of the menu. It is typical that most shared kitchens have this warning. However, from personal experience, it is possible for these risks to be reduced so I reached out to them. They let me know that they have minimal items that contain gluten and cook these separately with clean utensils and clean hands. Furthermore, rice flour is their main ingredient which allows a lot of their food to be naturally gluten free.
Starting with a rice and curry ($10) Isaac choose his favourite menu items. Following the main, he enjoyed a Nutella Hopper($7). If you have children, it is good to mention that Rook does have gluten free kids options. A Hopper if you were curious is a Sri Lankan bowl-shaped crepe created from fermented rice flour and coconut milk. I didn’t much feel like a dessert so Brody and I stuck to the mains. Brody opted for the gluten free Fried Rice with Deviled Chicken($17). It had a mild heat, I think this would be ok even if you aren’t a big fan of spice. Despite only being mild the flavour that was packed with the chicken was enjoyable. The ratio of rice and chicken was well balanced so that if the heat does get to you, you could always cool off with the rice.
I decided to try the String Hoppers dish($15). The description of ‘rice flour pressed into noodles and steamed’ peeked my curiosity. I always like to try something different. My meal arrived on a large plate with three side bowls. The first bowl contained my choice of chicken curry. If you aren’t a fan of chicken they also offer a Southern Sri Lankan Fish Curry instead. Within the second bowl was the coconut sambal. I think of a Sambal as a type of relish. This one consisted of shredded coconut with spices and added an extra texture. Finally, we had their Kiri Hodi. This dish is a turmeric gravy that was creamy thanks to coconut milk. I enjoyed the fact that my noodles absorbed the flavour from it.
While you are enjoying your meals, you can look around at the stylist and modern decor. The small cultural touches and optional communal dining tables give off a family vibe. You can tell that the idea is to enjoy your food and socialize. Additionally, they had attentive service, a vibrant atmosphere and even a chess board. I can’t wait to take my mum down to try them out.
I hope that you enjoyed this review. If you are heading down to Geelong and love a modern twist on Sri Lankan food, check out Rook.
Are you interested in subscriber perks? Sign up for the newsletter for recall notifications, recipes and more.
Until Next Time;