A rice and curry buffet with with 20 curry options, some of the best views in the city and a super central location for Rs. 1000 (lunch)? Well that's what Akasa Kade on the top floor of the Ceylinco House building in Fort offers every day of the week.
Places that do offer a really good rice and curry spread are actually absurdly few in a city where rice and curry is eaten three meals a day everyday by the vast majority of the population. There is the overpriced, admittedly sometimes tasty, but frankly odd option of eating buth curry at five star hotels like the Hilton and the Cinnamon Grand, and then there are endless street level eateries but still few, if any, places at either end of the spectrum can match the taste of a home cooked curry feed.
Worst of all, middle of the road places offering above average curries, air-conditioning/a pleasant dining environment without five star extravagance/prices barely exist. There was Raja Bojun, but these days its more miss than hit, and Green Cabin is probably the best current attempt at a mid-range curry house - but Akasa Kade seemed to be another potential mid-range contender.
It's always nice to head down to Fort for lunch; it feels like something your parents or grandparents would have done. In fact they probably did, as Akasa Kade has been functioning since 1963 when Ceylinco House was the only high-rise building in the city and the thirteen storey restaurant/ballroom was one of the most glamorous places in the city. Actually, the Akasa Kade still offers some of the best views of our city; you can get a fabulous view of the port, Fort, the Galle Face waterfront and the suburbs, beyond which, in itself, almost justifies the Rs. 1000 you spend on the buffet.
The problem however is that while the view is excellent value for money, the food is not. It's not that its bad in any way, it was fine, but it just lacked the simple tastiness that even a good roadside kade lunch so easily achieves. For Rs. 1000 you expect something more. There was plenty of variety - far more than the standard buth kade: mukunuenna, fried mushrooms, tandoori chicken, hoppers and an unusual lotus root preparation, among other things, but nothing stood out as particularly tasty. It was in sum a pretty average rice and curry feed and for Rs. 1000 you can definitely do better....
As for the view, though, no amount of money can buy you a significantly better view of Colombo - the upstairs dining area is particularly excellent and it really might be worth paying for the mediocre buffet just to site there. But even so you can't help but wonder if a passable curry buffet is the best use of this prime bit of space?
Some more prices;
Lunch Buffet - Rs. 995
Dinner Buffet - Rs. 1400
Set Menu - Rs. 450 (Lunch & Dinner)