Punning right from the get go (so we liked it immediately), the signboard outside states special | tea | coffee. We don't think this place has anything to do with the 1987 classic TV show, but one can hope.
When we asked about the tea options after seeing a menu free of any sort of tea, we were told that it's a play on "speciality coffee" after which we felt really lame for not having caught on.
Given that this place has just started up and hasn't launched a full-blown menu yet, this is just our First Look. The interior is a clean, clear-cut space; very modern.
It's not a place that you'd stop for hours to catch a chit-chat up with friends, but more of a grab-a-quick-bite-and-run sort of space. That's apparently the concept behind it as well, as the friendly manager told us that he was modelling it a lot after coffee spaces in Australia.
Finger-food and Caffeine (plus more)
Each portion comes in one unit, so everything's priced per-piece. Based on the manager's recommendation, we tried out the Spiced Mutton Slider (Rs. 200), Prawn Cutlet (Rs. 140) and Paneer Bites (Rs. 90 per square).
They all come with a sauce of your choice (out of three choices) and we opted for all three; which was namely the chillie sauce, BBQ sauce, and the sweet chillie jam sauce. The third is custom made, and their chillie sauce has a bit more heat in it than your regular chillie sauce. Weird as that sounds, the sweet jam chillie is pretty great with a lovely balance between tangy jammy-ness and the heat of chillie.
The Spiced Mutton Slider was incredibly flavoursome and we were pleasantly surprised at how good it was. Garnished creatively with a bit of ladies' fingers (ikr?) on the plate, the patty itself was constructed perfectly and had a good bun-to-patty ratio. Is there a con for such a perfect slider? Yes, there is. The price.
Shaped almost like a patty and slightly flat instead of rotund, the Prawn Cutlet was spicy and great when dipped in the sauces.
Oh, we also had a Jaffna Mutton Kofta (Rs. 160), which basically looked a lot like a regular (albeit) tiny patty but came piping hot and very well flavoured, with the spices and meat balancing each other out.
Ticking in at Rs. 90 for a small square, the Paneer Bites come at a rather hefty price for something that disappears in half a crunch — but this is home made from fresh milk and has an interesting Westernized twist to how we're used to having paneer. It was lightly browned and crunchy on the outside while still being soft on the inside.
Moving onto the drinks, we tried an Americano, a Macchiato, and a Sri Lankan Styled Ice Coffee; with the latter coming in at Rs. 400 and the former two billed at Rs. 450, which is almost standard price.
The manager knew his coffee, and gave us satisfactory cuppas.
We all agreed that the flavour was great, but Malinthe found the Americano a bit too watery, which they said they'd fix.
The Macchiato had a bit more cream in it than usual, but we were informed that they make a creamier/ milkier version here.
Our Sri Lankan Iced Coffee is your regular grandma-made iced coffee which you probably had in your childhood.
The 70% Dark Hot Chocolate (Rs. 550) was pretty thick and creamy, but what we loved was the Banana Milk at Rs. 350.
This was basically liquidated and chilled banana, except it tasted better. While we're on the topic of bananas, try their Banana Butterscotch Mousse which is one of their specialities and is both light, fluffy, authentic, and more reasonably priced at Rs. 130.
The staff are really friendly and we appreciated that the manager walked us through the menu and actually knows his coffee. We all learnt a lot from him, including that they serve premium, imported, and reliably sourced produce (which accounts for the prices because everything is checked on). They're still in the experimental stages, so we look forward to new (and exciting) developments from these guys.