Imagine this. That one scene in every mid-western cowboy movie where the town is deserted and Clint Eastwood is walking suavely towards the sheriff to knock his socks off. Right? Now, focus your attention on the shops around and replace the saloon and bank with a buth kadey and a tire and autobody shop.
Now, in the place of the buth kadey, visualise this.
The ambience at Kochchi is pretty much summed up in the picture below. Not particularly clean, but satisfactory, it's comprised of a couple of chairs, tables, a sink and bright yellow coloured walls.
Seating is ample and since most of the people who come here are looking for a quick lunch and very unlikely to spend more than 15 minutes here, we're positive seating will be readily available. Aside from that, there's a full side that opens up to the main road giving you a full view of a dusty Old Kottawa Road.
Rice & Curry
Like in most buth kadeys in and around Colombo, Kochchi too follows a similar format of choosing what rice you want and then proceeding to get your curries and protein to accompany them.
Well, we too were very excited at the prospect of getting kochchi infused food for lunch. But, our dreams were somewhat shortlived because none of the Kochchi specials (they have only one of them, and that's fried rice) wasn't available at the time. Nonetheless, we decided on getting 2 packets of rice and curry and one of their Mixed Fried Rice (Rs. 400).
This is the Fish Rice & Curry. Served on a fluffy bed of white rice, the fish curry was spicy, cooked well and had enough flesh involved to finish the plate off. Plus, with the crunchy, slightly zesty gotukolla mallung and dry dhal curry, this plate was a winner. It would have been nicer if there was a bit more gravy involved – preferably in the dhal section.
Furthermore, boasting a fiery orange colour, the coconut sambol was everything it promised to be. Spicy, dense and infused with a lot of lime, we wound up getting it for the other rice packet as well, and we're glad we did. The only curry we even remotely had a problem was the eggplant curry that, compared to the rest of the curries, lacked flavour.
The red rice was a bit denser than we would have liked. Served with a creamy pumpkin curry that too was a little on the dry side, this plate of Chicken Rice & Curry was quite alright. Like the dhal curry, we would have prefered to have more gravy for the pumpkin but, sweet and cooked quite well, it was okay.
The chicken curry had been made almost identically to the fish curry. A medium-sized piece that was packed with spices, this went beautifully with the coconut sambol and pumpkin curry.
The kang kung, on the other hand, was what actually stole the show. Fresh, salty with a slight crunch, Kochchi did a really nice tempered kang kung, similar to the type you make at home.
However, the tempered kehel muwa was, like the tempered eggplant, what blew it for us. Adding up to be practically tasteless, we did not like this one, unfortunately.
This was the Mixed Fried Rice (Rs 400) – a monstrosity of steaming hot rice with lots of bits of random bits of deep-fried mixed meats and veggies all tempered together in a giant pan, it was big enough to feed 2 giant adults without batting an eyelash. With a mixture of prawns, sausages, fish and chicken, this wasn't the best out there, but, it was far from bad too. It wasn't oily, but seemed to have used a soup cube as a flavour enhancer.
Nonetheless, a bit of gravy on the side would have taken things a long way more than the watery sauce they gave, but, apart from that, it's not bad.
In terms of service, we can't really complain. The staff was efficient and friendly, unobtrusive and just getting their work done without much hindrance to us really.
In conclusion, it's okay. The food is reasonable considering how their rice and curry packs are less than Rs. 200 each and they did an okay job with it. It's a good spot to look into if you're around and looking for some quick lunch without much hassle.