My last post on Sri-Lanka is on Colombo, Sri-Lanka’s capital. Humid, chaotic and dusty, Colombo isn’t the prettiest part of Sri-Lanka but it is probably the most lively and has lots of eating options.
Devilled chicken at Green Cabin Cafe
This no frills restaurant is apparently an institution in Colombo for inexpensive Sri-Lankan food. The main feature is an outdoor courtyard eating which is surrounded by black mosaic adorned black booths although the courtyard itself is pretty lacking in plants or decoration. There is a lunchtime buffet which is good value if you are particularly hungry but we ordered off the menu. The chicken curry (R160) featured a typically paltry portion of chicken which was eye-wateringly spicy. Alongside curry “Devilled” food is popular in Sri-Lanka and basically entails adding chilli and paprika to any food from eggs to seafood. The devilled chicken (R 325) had a mild hit of chilli and was served with lots of red onion and peppers slow cooked until they were soft . It was good but if I went back to Green Cabin I would order a lampari – curry wrapped in a banana leaf – which seemed to be the most popular dish amongst the other customers at the restaurant.
Pappadoms at Green Cabin Cafe
Details: 453 Galle Road, Colombo, Sri-Lanka (Ph 011 258 8811)
Damage: Such a bargain even my mother would approve
The Gallery Cafe
Housed in the famous Sri-Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa’s old offices Gallery Cafe has the wow factor. If you eat there during the day you can browse the adjoining shop but it is at nighttime that the cafe turns into a swanky restaurant. The restaurant faces out onto an open air courtyard in a typically Bawa focus on nature. The lighting is low but the noise level is not, Gallery Cafe is probably the most lively and bustling place we ate in Sri Lanka. The cocktail menu is extensive and good so it is worthwhile having a drink in the lounge area before sitting down to dinner. The menu features traditional Sri Lankan dishes with a contemporary spin on them along with staple restaurant crowd pleasers such as steak and buttered prawns. To begin, grilled calamari was springy and coated in a light batter.
Jaggery ice-cream at Gallery cafe
From the mains the black pork curry (R895) was tender beneath its black crusted coating and was served with a host of accompaniments. There was an aubergine curry known as brinjal pahi, cucumber raita and sambol. Despite being in Sri Lanka, MTV boyfriend could not resist ordering the lamb cutlets (R2655). The cutlets were grilled to a perfect rose pink and served with fat chips and minted peas. From the dessert menu the jaggery ice-cream was a highlight. Jaggery is a type of unrefined palm sugar which you find a lot in India and Sri Lanka and it was spun like fairy floss on top of vanilla bean ice-cr
Details: 2 Alfred Road House, Colombo, Sri-Lanka (Ph 011 2582 162)
The doorman at Galle Face Hotel
Gourmet Travel Tips
The Galle Face Hotel is a must stay in Sri Lanka just for the amazing atmosphere and history of the place. It is a little worn looking in parts but the huge terrace where you can sit and sip cocktails as the sun goes down more than makes up for any frayed carpet in the rooms. From $USD85.
If you liked reading this you might be interested in my post on where to eat in Kandy or you can read about a Sri Lankan cooking course near Galle.