Garton’s Ark is a boat restaurant in the Urban Wetland Park, Nugegoda. The best bet is to go for their weekend (Fri/Sat) cruise. It leaves at 8:30 PM and costs Rs. 3,500.
To paraphrase Lonely Island, you’re on a boat (NSFW). We went at lunchtime to get good photos but, although they serve food a la carte, we wouldn’t highly recommend this. The walk through the Weli Park (what most people call the Urban Wetland Park) is death when the sun is high. There’s no shade and you have to walk like 500m to get to the boat. Evening is a better idea.
On the plus side, we got good pictures. The boat, built we think by Neil Marine, is quite spacious and nice.
The interior can seat 40 people inside, easily, and probably another 30-40 above.
It’s a big boat. Inside it’s nicely furnished, basically like a normal restaurant, except it moves.
Weli Park itself is basically the nicest thing about Nugegoda. People get their exercise there and it’s good that there’s finally a place to eat here.
We had lunch there off the a la carte menu, but we wouldn’t recommend this. We can comment on the food. We had two panini sandwiches (Rs. 630 each). The names (Maxican Melt and Special Bento) made no sense, but the sandwiches were not bad. The chicken was a bit overdone but the Special Bento (nothing like an actual bento box) had a nice addition of pol sambol. Tastewise the stuff was fine and they made it fresh.
When we went we had no information but you’re not at the same disadvantage, are you? What we heard from the staff was that the best time to go is for the dinner buffet, especially on Friday and Saturday. At that point the boat actually goes out on the water. They start boarding at 7 PM and cruise at 8:30 PM, till about 10 we think. We assume down the Kirulapona Canal. It’s a bit expensive at Rs. 3,500 a head, but then again, most buffets aren’t moving. It should be a nice experience.
We’d have to guess at the quality of the buffet food, but given their a la carte menu, it won’t be bad. For the Sri Lankan palate we think it’d actually be good.
When we went we were the only people there (because only mad dogs and Englishmen are out around noon). The A/Cs were broken and they were doing repairs, so it was both hot and noisy in there. We assume this isn’t normally the case, but be warned that this place is still starting up. The people serving us were quite nice.
Garton’s Ark in Weli Park is an interesting place for a weekend dinner cruise. While the buffet is a bit expensive the experience of cruising in a canal boat should be one of a kind.