Kingfisher (Unawatuna).

Kingfisher is an Unwatuna icon. The place has rapidly evolved from a beach shack with amazing food to a boutique hotel, party-spot and more. They still serve up pretty good food on a nice stretch of beach.

The Food

When it was just a beach shack and platform on the beach, Kingfisher was known for its arrack prawns, interesting cocktails, etc. They’ve still retained a lot of the creativity and they still use fresh ingredients, but there’s just a lot more scale now. Whereas the kitchen served maybe 10 people at a time before, now it’s dozens.

We tried the Garlic Prawns (Rs. 980) and the Tuna Filet (Rs. 980). The prawn was pretty good but not mind-blowing, big fellows served with rice and salad. The base ingredients were good but the basic garlic preparation didn’t really take it anywhere.

The tuna filet was quite good. A generous hunk of tuna, perfectly cooked and seasoned. A simple dish and well done.

They do a range of drinks (alcoholic and non) but we just tried an (we assume homemade) apple soda (Rs. 250) which was quite good.

Overall the food starts with great ingredients and sometimes, but not always, transcends them to something awesome. Our personal feeling is that the menu has gotten more mainstream and a bit less adventurous than beach shack days, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Location

We’re kicking ourselves for not taking pictures of the beach, can’t imagine why we missed it. Suffice it to say, the Una beach is crowded but beautiful, especially in season (from roughly December to April). Kingfisher went through a period of no beach with erosion, but the government erected a breakwater and the beach there has come back. There’s now a good ten meters of sand between the restaurant and the water.

You generally eat at shaded tables in the sand, though you can eat inside. There’s a bar as well. They’ve constructed their hotel up and the ground floor is almost completely open.

The beach itself is quite swimmable, though there’s a bit of broken coral about.

Service

The Kingfisher service is highly professional and actually checks how your meal is, etc. The owners are also usually around.

Conclusion

Kingfisher remains a culinary hotspot in Unawatuna, though it’s not the hidden gem it used to be. It’s now an extremely popular beachside restaurant serving up reliably good fare.

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