Delifrance (ODEL).

Delifrance is a French sandwich and pastry franchise located at ODEL. They’re expensive, but the food is generally tasty.

Delifrance was one of the first international franchises to colonize Sri Lanka, but like most French colonial ventures, it burned out and mostly disappeared. They’ve gone from having three outlets (Crescat, Hyde Park Arpico truck, ODEL) to having just ODEL. That spot, however, still seems profitable enough. Delifrance is really expensive and upstarts like the Paan Paan Sandwich bar are probably better value for money. However, Delifrance is reliable and, for some of us, it’s a good nostalgic bite.

The Food

Delifrance’s main trade is sandwiches, served on baguettes, ciabattas or croissants. There’s a range of fillings (chicken mayo, smoked beef, tuna) and sides (capers, mustard, pickles – though you have to ask for these). The sandwiches cost from Rs. 410 (veg) to Rs. 720 (smoked salmon on ciabatta). Generally you can expect to pay around Rs. 500. And it’s Rs. 130 extra for cheese.

Add in an iced coffee for Rs. 300 and taxes and you’re paying Rs. 1,000 easy per person. But as to the taste, it’s pretty good. Their bread is good and the flour at least seems to be sourced from France. The short eats are expensive but quite good, with buttery flaky bread and quality ingredients. The sandwiches are reliably good and the coffees and iced coffees are good as well.

You can’t go wrong with Delifrance taste wise, but the pricing may put you off.

Service

Delifrance is basically a Subway fast-food style franchise. You walk through a queue, select what you want and they make and serve it all within about 5 minutes. We can’t fault the service at all. They’re competent and fast. The only gripe is that the sandwich makers aren’t particularly generous with the toppings. They’re there but you have to ask specifically for each one.

Location

Delifrance is one of two food options inside ODEL, the others being outdoors. You’re in the middle of a busy shopping concourse, which actually makes for interesting people watching. You can see tourists and expats and locals alike, browsing through tea and candy and doggy t-shirts. It’s also air-conditioned. They’ve done the decor to look vaguely like a French cafe and there are newspapers. But it doesn’t really look like a French cafe.

Conclusion

Compared to newer entrants Delifrance is overpriced and underwhelming, but they still do reliably tasty sandwiches and baked goods.

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