Calamari (C Negombo).

c Negombo is an angular new addition to Poruthota Road. It's a hotel/ beach budget hotel, though it looks more like an inn at first glance. Craving hot butter cuttlefish, we immediately fell for the name and dropped in to check their restaurant out. The menu offers a range of bites, rice dishes, and rottis. And hot butter cuttlefish too, obviously.

Service and Ambience

While the indoor area looks much like a large city hotel's generic dining area, their outdoor deck is lovely. They've gone for a brushed white theme with little bulbs strung up over the deck as well.  We were served by cordial and pleasant waitstaff, who checked in on us regularly and were helpful with recommendations. We can't find fault with their hospitality, but the wait for food and water was a tad too long.

Food and Drink

We were excited to see Sweet Potato Fries on the menu, especially since the ones over at Isso are an office favourite. At Rs. 250, this was slightly more expensive than Isso's, plus less in quantity as well. Texture-wise were a lot like a nicely fried waraka  strips, crispy and crunchy to boot. It could have used a bit of seasoning though.

Hellbent on getting our hot butter cuttlefish (or Calamari as it's titled here), we ordered that as well. At Rs. 400, it's much cheaper than nearly every other HBC dish we've come across.

The dish was hot and batter crunchy, but it lacked that zest and tang we're accustomed to expect from HBCs.  Points for freshness, but not flavour, perhaps.

Next up were the mains. They didn't have few of the options (rotti, if I recall correctly) at the time of our visit, so we settled for Mac & Cheese and one of their set mains. For the main, you select a meat, prep method, and carb, and that's it. I picked a sweet and sour 'Chicken, boneless' with rice (Rs. 1000). The dish is slightly confusing because you get enough chicken for 3-4 people with a bowl of rice, and that's about it.

Chicken and rice alone is a bit of dull and lonely combo, and even though the meat was flavoursome and quite nice, I don't think the price tag is justifiable. It wasn't terrible or anything like that, just nothing great. They could potentially lessen the chicken and add a bit of greens to go with it instead, and maybe plate it a bit better too.

At Rs. 600, the Mac & Cheese looked alright was once more, underwhelming in taste. The pasta was soft to bite into, but the cheese wasn't too good in both quality and quantity. 

We got some lime juice for drinks, which were alright. A bit watered down, but you got a decent balance of lime-to-sugar ratio.

Conclusion

The food is unremarkable, but the ambience and service is what we'd head here for, if at all. 

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