Colombo Fort Cafe (Dutch Hospital).

Colombo Fort Cafe is a Harpo run restaurant located in the popular Dutch Hospital shopping complex serving tapas, cocktails and general pub-grub fare.

Who doesn’t know Harpo. One of the titans of Colombo’s restaurant scene, the DJ turned brand has consistently been trotting in trendy, well-designed spaces that once changed the concept of casual dining in the city. Commons was Harpo’s first – catering to a demand for comfy hang out spots that weren’t the Majestic City food court. And in its early days, Commons was great – providing good food and a nice location for lounging while sipping your way through the icy frappe menu. It still isn’t bad, but the food has slipped a tad while the prices have soared. While all Harpo branded eateries are beautiful spaces – Park Street Mews, Bayleaf – the food always falls a little short of our expectations.

And it’s sort of the same with Colombo Fort Cafe. The space is beautiful – light blue tables and chairs, rustic fittings, patchy umber walls…but the food is just so so. We tried a selection of tapas: chorizo stuffed tomatoes (Rs. 375), steak and onion flatbread (Rs. 525), baked crab (Rs. 650), mushroom and bacon crostini (Rs. 475) and chilli cheese wedges (Rs. 475). The baked crab was the best, two brittle crab shells stuffed with a cheesy mix of crab meat. It’s a little small, but such is the world of tapas. The chorizo stuffed tomatoes however were watery and bland – very disappointing – and I’m not entirely convinced they actually contained chorizo (more likely a Cargills sheet of ham, chopped into cubes). The rest, again, was fine, but unremarkable, and these are the conclusions drawn from multiple visits. Multiple, because honestly, we really like the cafe. They’ve got a great location, the service is (usually) good, and they play nice music. For drinks and ambience, the Colombo Fort Cafe is fine, but foodwise, the rest of the Dutch Hospital complex offers better options.

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