219 Hospital Road, Kalubowila, Dehiwala
Originally posted by savan · Last updated on 20 September 2013
Here's a place we really wanted to like. A range of East Asian food that extends far beyond the usual Sri Lankan-Chinese staples, made by people who seem know to what they are doing, delivered quickly to your door.
The offerings include char kway teow, mee siam, sea food laksa - really a few steps beyond the standard sweet and sour pork, their website is great and easy to navigate and the attention to detail - well printed takeout boxes, prompt deliveries is generally excellent.
So it was with expectations of a good meal and a positive review that we entered our orders onto their easy to use online ordering system. We got nasi goreng (Rs. 449), char kway teow (Rs. 419) and noodles in black bean sauce (Rs. 439). The prices were decent, the photos on the website appetizing and the delivery man made it out to Dehiwala in under 30 mins. Everything was going smoothly - until we actually began eating.
The first sign of trouble was that instead of the black pepper chicken we ordered with the nasi goreng we got what appeared to be chicken satay or maybe some sort of red curry, but not black pepper chicken. Again this mix up would have been acceptable in the context of a tasty, inexpensive meal and this was really the main disappointment; inexpensive - yes, tasty - not really.
Everything was a little bit flat - the char kway teow was packed with a generous amount of sea food but the flavor was bland, the noodles in black bean sauce were similarly lacking in flavor. Shruthi's comment- it tastes like East Asian food you get in the West was probably the most appropriate. Just blander and lacking the flavors we are used to. We know you can always add more salt and chilli but the spices, garlic and ginger flavors we curry munching Lankans like also seemed to be missing.
The nasi goreng sums up the experience, apart from the pepper chicken mix up it was edible but lacked the flavor of a simple road side kade fried rice. For us road side nasi goreng/fried rice Vs. China Doll and we'd chose you in a heart beat Millenium Restaurant though, sadly, you don't deliver..
And that's the fundamental issue- the broad and interesting menu, the lovely packaging, the speedy delivery all falls apart if the food is lacking, and the food was definitely lacking - lacking flavor, and just the added oomph that would make this a better option than your nearest bath kade or standard Sri Lankan-Chinese joint..
We honestly wanted to like this place and given a lot of our friends give it positive review we are willing to give it a second chance, though not any time too soon. If our readers/ China Doll fans could list their favorite dishes we might know where to begin on any second attempt.