58 A Horton Place, Colombo 7
Originally posted by shru · Last updated on 10 September 2013
Gerard Mendis Chocolatier, one of the newest additions to the city's recent flurry of bourgeois eateries. With the rise of late-night cocktail lounges like Sugar, Qbaa FDO's and coffee shops like Cioconat, Pascucci, Cup Cafe - it's become clear that the city's got a bit more money to spend - especially on liquid consumption. But what of chocolate?
A large space with a heavy leaning toward brown paint and decor, Gerard Mendis is the new chocolaterie/restaurant on the block, bringing the five-star patisserie experience out of the hotel and onto the geographically - if not financially - more accessible streets of Colombo. Until now the only places dedicated to selling confectionary (I think) were located either at the basement of the glitzy hotels, in the kitchens of home bakers or at the imported sweet-ridden glass annexes of ODEL.
So where does a posh chocolatier fit in in a country where the manufacture of inexpensive biscuits is one of our biggest, most booming industries? Well, there's a restaurant tacked on to the store, and while it's really quite pretty - and ridiculously photogenic - it seems something of an afterthought - or a safety net for the fancy confections. Could a store dedicated to selling chocs at Rs. 100 a pop be viable just yet?
While the restaurant - freshly opened just last week - may still be in its teething stages (we were presented with a plate of rather uninspiring pork chops, Rs. 1300) - former Hilton chef Gerard Mendis does seem to be something of a whiz with chocolates. They're excellent - but expensive (Rs. 390 for a box of 4!). Slim platters of soft, Guylian-like marbled conches lie under yellow spotlights - small spheres of passion fruit gels encased in milky cocoa and white comma-shaped praline shells - a colourful whirl of caramel, crunch and cream waiting beneath Gerard's gleaming glass vitrines. There's a wide variety of the cocoa confection available. Also thick, decadent wedges of berry topped cakes and desserts. Also pastries.
Design wise, the restaurant is quite camp. The logo - a leopard straddling a giant golden 'G', and beneath it a curling calligraphic font spelling the name of the sugar-master of ceremonies, Mr. Mendis; the restaurant - enormous coppery orbs hanging from the ceiling, 'Gerard Mendis' monogrammed cake boards and wallpaper strips; the staff - a security guard wearing dark aviators with a shirt trimmed with fuzzy, leopard print epaulettes; svelte waitresses also touched with the feline-themed brush - cat-speckled collars, kitten heels, dark, kohl-rimmed eyes.
The general decor has the aesthetic stylings of a Louis Vuitton bag - and all the aspirations of its wearers. Blingy, stylish, expensive - this seems to be the look and feel GM Chocolatiers is going for. While we can't comment too much on the restaurant - it's still in those liqor license pending early days - the chocolates are great. And the desserts, which we didn't try, also pretty saliva-inducing.