Gerard Mendis Chocolatier

58 A Horton Place, Colombo 7

0115238588
Since our previous review focused on the Chocolatier’s introductory phase and desserts, we decided to re-review it for dinner. Gerard Mendis Chocolatier has a prime location, lush yet cosy décor, sleek ambience, and somewhat lackluster food.

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Food

The menu was pretty extensive, mostly veering towards continental fare. We didn’t try the appetizers, but tried a French Onion soup which got a lukewarm response. We chalked it up to bad ordering and decided to launch into the main course.

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I’d previously had a wok stir-fried chicken rice which at Rs. 650 was straightforward and worth it, so thought we’d try some of the more layered options. We ordered a Cajun spiced spring chicken at Rs. 1400 and penne carbonara at Rs. 850.

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The food arrived very quickly, and in keeping with the décor, the presentation was lovely. The chicken, touted as a signature dish, was good but not spectacular. The spice was herby and uncomplicated but the chicken itself not particularly tender. It was basic – not justifying the title or the price. It did, however come with a mushroom ragout that was deliciously flavoured and went a long way in picking up the chicken. The carbonara, unfortunately, was a real disappointment despite its promising appearance. The sauce was floury and the penne and bacon mushy and soft. Eventually, the bland nature of the dish was unbearable and cloying and we had to give up after a few bites.

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Seeing as we’d visited multiple times purely for the dessert before, the final course was the hardest blow. We ordered a Belgian chocolate cheesecake (that we’ve ordered and thoroughly enjoyed at least thrice before), which looked lovely as per usual form. It came with nice warm chocolate sauce and it looked like it may have been the saving grace. But it wasn’t. The cheesecake was really hard and mealy and we guessed it may have been a bit stale or kept in storage for too long.

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We didn’t order drinks but there was a lot of non-alcoholic variety at around Rs. 500 a pop as they still don’t have their liquor licence.

Service

The staff was quick and attentive despite the restaurant being almost full, and having a party underway in a private room. They knew their way around the menu and got our orders efficiently.

Ambience

As mentioned in our previous review, the ambience at GMC is great. They only have about 10 tables inside (there’s a nicely lit outer area too but it seemed empty). The lighting is warm and dim without being dingy and the brown and gold colour scheme is tastefully maintained throughout the premises. They even had a chic selection of lounge music piped over the speakers.

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Conclusion

Having previously visited GMC multiple times for their desserts, we were sorely disappointed with our cheesecake on this visit. The food too was simply not up to scratch although it looked lovely. We like the place and used to be firm fans of their desserts so here’s hoping this was just an off day.
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.

Comments

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  • ImanthiPerera

    Nice article :) As a close friend of the Chocolatier, I’ve been there myself but they actually aren’t really open as yet. This is more of a test run leading up to the big opening – you guys should definitely visit then. I can’t wait for it myself! :) P.S. – there’s a pretty cool story behind the design!

    22 February 2013 04:39 AM
  • Imaad

    Is it halal?

    22 February 2013 12:38 PM
  • Sandi

    Halal? No, thank goodness. We have enough Halal joints in Sri Lanka. No more thanks.

    24 February 2013 06:36 AM
  • Amir

    Sandi - Why does it matter to you if it's Halal? As long as the chocolates taste good! It's people like you that start unwanted conflicts.

    27 February 2013 10:09 AM
  • Amir

    Sandi - Why does it matter to you if it's Halal? As long as the chocolates are good! It's people like you that start unwanted conflicts. Shame on you!

    27 February 2013 10:11 AM
  • Saman

    Stopped in today and I must say that this place has real potential. We took away a batch of savoury pastries and some wonderful bread. I can't wait until they have their grand opening for a meal there. It has all the hallmarks of a great place to eat including a very serious interest in the food itself.

    28 February 2013 10:01 AM
  • gota

    lol…no more halal in this country bro…its ppl like amir who start all this unwanted halal drama and be a public joke…

    12 March 2013 06:15 AM
  • SamirL

    What I dont understand is what Hallal is there in everything. If you want hallal that much. Please limit the places. i dont think its fair to make every place in sri lanka Hallal. I am not against the conecpt of hallal but there are enough places which is hallal. dont exepect hallal in everything please. not in star class places.

    31 March 2013 06:04 AM
  • SamirL

    In a way I agree with Amir. Its no harm a place being Hallal. But if hallal then people who like pork cant eat pork and the restaurant has to face issues of avoiding pork eaters. So it works both ways. Hallal cannot be made a must. It should be a free choice of both the consumer and the seller.

    31 March 2013 06:08 AM
  • Salmaan

    The link to the FB page is wrong. Pls correct it. It goes to some Tiffany Freeman or something

    31 March 2013 12:28 PM
  • chalu

    Really must point out that everyone getting up in arms about the issue of Halal is a tad pathetic. Whether or not a product is Halal is decided by the producer. The consumer is free to either purchase said product or not. No one is being forced here.
    So lets not waste time and the space on this site to talk about this.
    Love :)

    11 April 2013 06:37 AM
  • shazz

    Nice to have access to gourmet chocolates that doesnt require a trip to a 5 star hotel. Expensive though and certainly not a substitute to your average weekly craving for a kandos! Was disappointed in the service though. I ordered hteir delicious ribbon cake and while the girls at the counter are friendly and try to be helpful, there needs to be some improvement in the supply chain from kitchen to actual shop front. The girls keep calling the kitchen and both times I was there, nobody picks up. They then take turns to walk through the restaurant to the kitchen and come back with vague responses, when asked how long you have to wait for something you ordered for a specific time that isnt ready on time. Liked the desserts though.

    22 April 2013 11:51 PM
  • Sam6183

    Hi Shazz, thanks for your feedback. Areas marked for improvement are always welcome and this is something we will definitely look into. Hopefully next time you drop in, there'll be a faster response time from the kitchen to the counter. Do let us know what your next experience is like. Cheers.

    07 May 2013 10:07 AM
  • kalini

    Uncle Gerard,
    how are u? limalka told me about the chocolatier that u started. hope it's going great. very happy for you. Kalini

    12 May 2013 10:33 PM
  • kalini

    hi uncle gerard can i bring a few friends to ur place? email.to kalinigunawardena@gmail.com okay kalini

    12 May 2013 10:41 PM
  • sonali

    Hi, visited the place last weekend. And they made a huge blunder in my dessert. I ordered the chocolate mousse with cream cheese and it came with a polythene covering the top and they have placed the cream cheese blob on top of the polythene. I did not make a fuss as I was with some people. But there was no apology from the manager nor the staff when pointed out. You should really look in to details, I don't think we will visit you guys again coz it was so pathetic and lost all the appetite - so unhygienic!!!! (You may check with your staff on this incident)

    27 May 2013 03:36 AM
  • U

    We had to wait a long time (an hour or so) to get our order and it was not even a main meal. Dissapointing.

    31 May 2013 12:01 AM
  • Sam6183

    Hi Sonali and U, sorry about the late response. We just saw these comments.

    Sonali, we generally cover each portion of our desserts with a cling film as protective cover mainly for hygiene reasons during storage. Please rest assured that it wasn’t polythene and hygeine most certainly would not have been in question. However the film should have been removed before serving the mousse to you and the cream cheese should certainly have not been placed on top of it. We're extremely sorry about the mix-up - this film is so fine that it is possible that our staff may have not remembered to remove it prior to serving. We also should have handled your complaint better when you pointed it out. We will check on this with our staff right away and ensure that this doesn't happen again. Sorry once again.

    'U', we're really really sorry about the delay with your order. Would it be possible for you to inbox us at www.facebook.com/gerardmendis.chocolatier so we can get in touch with you? We’d like to know a few details – for example when this happened and what you ordered. We did have a few days when many of our staff members were down with the flu and we were severely short staffed. But of course, that is no excuse! Your feedback will help us serve you and other customers better. We do hope you get in touch with us soon.

    14 June 2013 07:57 AM
  • Kiara

    We were very disappointed as this place is rated so high. We ordered prawn rolls which tasted bad. I mentioned it to them before leaving. The Brazilian cheesecake which was recommended by them tasted rancid. However the fish bun was ok.

    17 June 2013 01:05 AM
  • Zikra

    I would like to know if the stuff are halal too or if not I would refrain from coming… :)

    08 July 2013 10:56 AM
  • Dinidu

    Cant bother … after reading…not gonna visit….

    13 July 2013 02:44 AM
  • Rush

    Visited this week. The Food was GOOD. We were a group of 5 and the Pork Burger was definitely one of the best i have tasted. I ordered the cheese and mushroom pasta, and the pasta was done right. one of the rare occasions i have had pasta done to perfection :)

    18 July 2013 12:24 AM
  • trivers

    I'm from the U.S. and have been here in Sri Lanka for a few months. We have been there a few times now. They're chocolates are off the charts. They're dinner is also good. I had the New Zealand Lamb shoulder and is was delicious, but a bit too fatty. My wife had the Mixed Veg sandwich which was two pieces of bread with about 2 cm. of spread on it. Not to impressed with the sandwich.

    Apparently Gerard's sister works at the restaurant and interacts with the customers. I'm not sure if it was because we arrived in a Tuk Tuk or that we were foreigners, but she passed by our table about 10 times and never stopped to even say hello. But then 2 couples walked in and sat right next to our table and she immediately approached their table and engaged them in conversation, welcomed them and made sure they were comfortable. That's tacky and unprofessional. Her actions alone make me contemplate going back. Especially considering the amount of money I paid for dinner, drinks, desserts and coffee. The other staff members are great. But as a member of management, she is a poor example of customer relations and a poor reflection of that restaurant.

    02 August 2013 01:04 PM
  • lalithpunchihewa

    Gerard, Your chocolates are really mouthwatering. I visited recently. Should have more variety
    of Bread and Savouries. Keep it Up. All the Best. Lalith Punchihewa.

    10 August 2013 03:44 AM
  • lalithpunchihewa

    Gerard, I visited Your Gerard Mendis Chocolatier. The Chocolates are mouth watering. I think You Should have some more variety of bread and savouries. Thanks and Best of Luck.

    10 August 2013 03:53 AM
  • RasikaMendis

    Haven't been to GM chocolatier yet… I hope to do so! This article is little… 'tongue in the cheek'; so the restaurant emulates a Louis Vuitton bag… and all the things it's wearers would aspire to…?? hmmm…
    However, the article has made me want to visit the place! Looking forward!

    27 August 2013 07:50 AM
  • Vin

    I have been a few times as I work closely. Being a vegetarian seems suddenly a hardship in Sri Lanka. Very disappointed, even California is much better with vegetarian options. Gerard Mendis has a very poor selection for us. A shredded vege sandwich was literally simply shredded carrots and cabbage on some awful, allegedly herbed, bread. The noodles have less vegetables than a Kottumee instant product I see on TV! Please, please, do something for vegetarians,

    31 August 2013 04:23 AM
  • Adam

    I love the setting and very comfortable.
    Unfortunately, the cashier needs more training and customer service.
    Twice, she issued my bill wrongly.
    The third time, she not enough show me the bill and charged it to my credit card :(

    01 September 2013 01:29 PM
  • Sam6183

    Hi everyone,

    This is Samantha from Gerard Mendis Chocolatier. Firstly, my apologies for the delay in responding. Despite google alerts and regular check ins, we seem to have missed your comments. We have a lot to catch up on, but here goes!

    Kiara - We are truly sorry you had a disappointing experience. This is the first complaint we've had about our prawn rolls to be honest and we pride ourselves on offering the best cheesecake in town. There's always room for improvement however and your feedback will help us better ourselves. We hope you come back again and give us a chance to change your mind about us :)

    Zikra - all of the suppliers we procure our raw materials from our Halal certified.

    Trivers - Firstly, thank you for the compliments on our food :) we're so very sorry if we offended you and your wife. Please know at the outset that we do not discriminate. Period. Foreigners and locals by trishaw or otherwise are more than welcome. The more the merrier we always say! We usually don't approach guests if we see that they are already comfortable and settled or if we feel that we don't want to intrude on their privacy. Please know that your patronage is valued. Your feedback will help us serve you better and we hope you and your wife visit us again so we can show you that your patronage is appreciated :)

    Vin - our vegetarian menu IS limited but we're looking at expanding it. We'll take your comments into consideration and hopefully come up with some items that you'll like better.

    Adam - yes, we know we've had a few issues with training for the counter staff :( We're working on it everyday though and getting better. Please drop in again and let us know if you see improvement. We'd love your feedback.

    Rush and Lalith - thank you for the love. Your comments keep us glowing :)

    04 September 2013 04:21 AM
  • Adam

    @Sam6183,
    Surely I will return soon as I have been visiting new eating places every week. Just a note that once you are selling Pork Burger in your outlet, it is consider not Halal. Thanks.

    06 October 2013 02:09 PM
  • Tatyana

    Omfg halal chocolate. lol

    06 October 2013 08:05 PM
  • avi

    Have been there twice. Was let down on both occasions. The chocolate fudge shake was very watery and not cold to start with. Most items are overpriced. Honestly I have had better shakes for cheaper at other places.

    17 October 2013 12:41 PM
  • Cas

    Well I need kosher and we don't make a big deal about it

    25 October 2013 10:15 AM
  • Sam6183

    Hi Avi,

    This is Samantha from Gerard Mendis Chocolatier. We're sorry that you weren't satisfied with the Chocolate Fudge Shake. We've looked into it and rebriefed our staff as to the preparation and serving of our shakes. Could you also let us know what disappointed you on your first visit?

    As to the prices, we conciously use only the best and healthiest ingredients, some of which we need to import and these are of course reflected in our prices.

    28 October 2013 01:02 AM
  • sandy

    ""all of the suppliers we procure our raw materials from our Halal certified. thank you God Allah for making halal chocolate. LOL

    07 November 2013 04:45 AM
  • indiranasinghe

    Went to the cafe with hubby and had breakfast recently.Even though they don't really serve breakfast the staff happily accommodated us…we chose to sit under the awning outside and we had the best Croissants ever with jam and butter and glorious hot chicken pies followed by steaming hot coffee. Great staff. Super food.

    15 December 2013 05:58 AM
  • countriesboys

    its closed u dumb bugger sealed buy gov to selling expired chocs…hiooooo

    31 December 2013 01:44 PM
  • Nixon

    Isn't this the place that is sealed for selling 10 month old expired chocolates???

    31 December 2013 08:24 PM
  • sadsrilankan

    what's wrong with all the people going on about halal? it's Chocolate for god's sake.
    Just a set of rules, been blindly followed. Sad.

    24 January 2014 08:37 AM
  • Sam6183

    Hi everyone,

    This is Samantha from Gerard Mendis Chocolatier. Firstly, please know that we were not the place that was selling expired chocolates. Unfortunately the Daily Mirror was pretty irresponsible in their reporting and did not name the chocolate shop in question, which was certainly NOT us. We make all our chocolates from scratch using our own unique ingredients and flavours at our outlet in Horton Place. Nothing is imported. The only thing we import is the best quality raw materials from different countries in order to make our finished goods.

    Thankfully The Nation newspaper has clarified things for doubters. You may read their article which names the outlet that was allegedly guilty of selling expired chocolates http://www.nation.lk/edition/news-online/item/24415-chocolate-room-still-dirty.html

    @indiranasinghe - thank you for the love! :)

    25 January 2014 12:52 AM
  • Nadz

    Buy chocolates and go. The food isn't worth it. The blueberry truffles are little pieces of genius. Buy as many as you can. The lemongrass/pepper/chilli/insert-strange-flavor-here varieties are just fluff.
    Boys, this is a great gifting idea. He has amazing wooden boxes. Girls will fawn.

    11 March 2014 05:54 AM
  • LP

    I've been here twice so far. Both times, I wasn't disappointed. The staff were good. First time I went there, the staff were really friendly, second time, not so much. But nothing to complain about. Food took a while to come, but I guess it was because the restaurant was quite busy at the time.

    The food here is good. I've had a burger and the Napolitano with Spaghetti. Both times, portions were good, very filling and the flavour is there well and truly. Nothing was bland or anything.

    I've had the chocolate chip cookie shake and tried a bit of the marzipan shake, both were excellent :D

    Deserts, well, in a word "superb". I've had the premium chocolate mousse and the white and dark chocolate mousse, both were among the best I've ever had.

    Overall, the place is very nice. Quite a romantic setting and all :D

    Prices are a little bit on the high side though, compared to places like Cricket Club Cafe, Cheers Pub (different types, yes) . A shake, main and desert would be between 2-2.5k (incl taxes)

    05 April 2014 10:43 AM
  • KT

    Went for dinner with the wife and kid last night (Saturday). The service was friendly enough. Unfortunately everything we ordered took over one hour to arrive on our table. This included a soup, a side of fries for our small one and a Caesar salad. I'm no expert but it does not take an hour to prepare a salad. The food once it did arrive was good (the pork ribs were cooked just right), but the delay ruined our moods and our appetites. True the restaurant was full, but really, that is no excuse. After all a full restaurant is what you must aspire to, and be able to handle the crowd. Really disappointing because the location, ambiance, menu selection and food is really good. Note that we were not the only customers disappointed. I saw at least one other family looking very annoyed. All said, I really hope this was a one off thing. So want to go back to give the deserts a try.

    03 May 2014 09:30 PM
  • Colonialcousins

    Go to sizzle for halal chocalates.

    05 May 2014 05:29 AM
  • Adameve

    Go to sizzle for halal chocolate biscuit pudding and buriyani. This is a place for clean shaven and nicely dressed people.

    05 May 2014 05:33 AM
  • Booruwa

    Had BBQ pork spare ribs and bangers and mash… Bland and tasteless. Poor value for money. Stick with the chocolates I say.

    10 May 2014 07:03 AM
  • Sam6183

    Hi All,

    This is Samantha from Gerard Mendis Chocolatier. Thank you for your time and for patronizing our establishment. We take every bit of feedback very seriously and do our best to make improvements based on your comments.

    @Nadz, we’re pleased you like our chocolates :) May I ask what it is that didn’t impress with our more exotic flavoured chocolates? Just asking as this is the first we’ve heard a somewhat negative review concerning them. We’d like to learn more. Could you email us at info@gerardmendis.com? Thanks :)

    @LP, thank you so much for the lovely comments. We do appreciate it :) Please do drop in again soon…we’ve got a lot of new things in store :)

    @KT, we’re glad you liked the food and everything else but we’re so very sorry about the delay in your order :( yes, we are extremely busy on some days but as you said, that is what we aspire to and it should be no excuse. We’re going to look in to this right away and do what it takes to try and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

    @Booruwa, glad you liked the chocolates! We’re sorry you had a bad experience with BBQ pork spare ribs and bangers and mash when you visited us. Would you mind emailing us to info@gerardmendis.com and telling us when you visited? That will help us figure out what went wrong. Thanks so much.

    13 May 2014 02:14 AM
  • Young

    @DeAndrew,
    It is more than new god menu.
    I visited twice and your staff and supervisor does not show any interest to serve. They might be smiling but I can see that it was not natural. They might be tire or in a bad mood? But it is important in customer service.
    I encourage you to employ young service crews, this will inject some excitements in your place. Senior staffs are good but often they can not handle younger customers.

    13 July 2014 03:42 PM
  • sulo

    Hi, the signature gooey chocolate cake and the signature cheese cake that we ordered had best taste, texture, propotion size and presentation. It melted like butter in the mouth leaving a lingering craving for more! ! It was so classy that it fitted to challenge any other choc or cheese cakes in the world.
    The coffee too ( latte) was not too milky and the coffee had a deep rich taste.
    The ambience was gorgeous and the way in which one is made to feel the spaciousness by bringing in the garden is highly appreciated and it sets one at ease and relaxed. The only downside to our experience was the super slow service. It took 25 minutes for our order arrive at our table! And we couldnt understand why it would take 25 minutes to cut and serve two pieces of cake, unless ot was still getting baked! Further as both cakes and coffees were brought in together the coffee was luke warm by the we had finished our coffees. The staff was very friendly and polite. SULO

    02 August 2014 11:45 PM