When it comes to caterers in Colombo, Tasty happens to be one of the absolute OG's of the scene. Cafe on the 5th is another venture by them, which has been buzzing with the crowd for the longest time, and now, they've made another contribution to the food scene in the city – Cafe 97.
Cafe 97 joined the cafe scene around a month ago, following the same theme as the rest of the gang at Tasty Caterers, Cafe 97 seems to be doing pretty well for themselves. We happened to drop in for an eclair as soon as they opened and loved it, thus why we visited them for a second time to do a full review of the place to see if everything was as good as that one butterscotch eclair.
We're gonna say it straight off the bat that we loved the ambience at Cafe 97.
Taking the form of a little cottage-like structure on the side of the road, Cafe 97 sits as a gentle giant does in front of the OG Tasty. With huge glass windows, wooden furniture, an impeccably clean interior and vibes that come off a Jane Austen novel that's not based in London, the ambience at Cafe 97 is perfect for the likes of coffee dates and lady-like brunches. Especially when you're looking for a spot that fits your once in a blue moon civilised persona.
The location isn't very large, it's actually quite small. But, they've managed to place the tables and chairs in a way that makes it seem more intimate than if it were a pack of sardines. Kudos to that.
Food & Drinks
If you're expecting a small book of items to choose from, don't. Instead, see something along with the likes of a giant plank of wood with a couple of salads, mains and desserts on it and another rather small booklet of pages reserved for options of the beverages.
This is the Beef Lasagna (Rs. 1,200). Served with 2 slices of the nicest takes on garlic bread we've had in a while, the Beef Lasagna was the classic lasagna you get at every Tasty outlet. Meaty with a fair amount of chopped up carrot infused to the mix, it wasn't good as we expected it to be.
While we loved the presentation of it, the mix was a tad too bland for our liking. It lacked that distinct amount of tomato you generally see in a lasagna mix and given how there weren't many spices involved in the process, it all added up to be quite bland. Plus, that combined with the milky cheesiness of the top layer of white sauce didn't really make the cut, unfortunately.
The garlic bread, on the other hand, was superb. Utterly buttery with the perfect amount of garlic infused in it, we loved that crunchy side. Honestly, if they had a main or a side which had just this garlic bread, we would have been all over it.
Given how good the Butterscotch Eclair (Rs. 150) was the first time around, we decided to go for around two of it. Oh man, with a choux pastry that wasn't all that sweet and a thick layer of cream that was a bit more on the sweeter side, we loved it.
Sure, it would have been nicer with a little less of the cream in the middle, but, given how most of it spills out anyway, it works out for the best. Plus, the butterscotch had a slight saltiness to it that made this one of the nicest eclairs in Colombo.
That being said, we suggest getting this to go and eating it after its been out for a bit. It loses its hardness and turns deliciously soft to the point of being amazing. We say go for it y'all.
This is where things went south. After the brilliance of the Butterscotch Eclair, the Strawberry Cheesecake (Rs. 400) was quite not what we expected. Let's move from the bottom up shall we?
The base was all right. A plain Marie biscuit base, it was as tough as nails and required a lot of manpower to get it to even crack. But, after you've managed to make that initial dent, things get a little easier.
The next layer was the cheesecake part. This was in no way "cheesecake". You know those strange desserts you get at wedding buffets that taste like a mix of yoghurt, milk and gelatine? Yeah, that's exactly what this was. With a consistency that was more jello than anything else, we were positively appalled by it.
The strawberry coulis, like the biscuit base, was all right. Sweet and has a lot of seeds, the strawberry coulis was more jam than anything else. A strange artificial jam at that.
For our drinks, we got the Strawberry Lemonade (Rs. 500). Holy moly guacamole was this good. Fizzy with generous amounts of strawberry chunks to last you a lifetime, this was great! Icy cold with sharp kicks of strawberries, mint and lime, this was the epitome of a good Strawberry Virgin Mojito and we can't express just how much we want you to try this.
The Cappucino (Rs. 480) came as a giant mug full of creamy Lavazza coffee-ed goodness. Served with a thick layer of creamy foam, the coffee was silky smooth at the bottom with just the right amount of espresso included to give it that one healthy kick in the gut at first sip while the milk slowly dials it down to balance out the flavours.
No complaints here. The staff was super cheerful throughout our experience. From welcoming us inside to the final goodbye when we left. Plus, they managed to bring our food without much difficulty. All in all, success!
We like it. While we do urge you not to try the Strawberry Cheesecake, we propose you try anything else. It's worth looking out for if what you're looking for is some decent food at a not too expensive price tag in a nice atmosphere.