It's been about a year since Lavinia upped their game and opened up a fully operational restaurant instead of just a bakery. It has actually been our Sinhala editorial team's go to place if they're ever in the area. So we decided to drop in to experience it ourselves.
It's conveniently located to your left at the Palam Thuna traffic light junction. If you don't know where that is, it's a few feet away from the new Bubblelement in Battaramulla.
They serve up three main cuisines – Sri Lankan, Chinese and Indian. The building is three floors and each floor is dedicated to each cuisine consecutively. While their Sri Lankan menu is their own, the Chinese one is from Peking Palace and the Indian one is from Taj Mahal Palace. That's actually why they have those two boards up in front of the building. No more confusion.
We tried the Vegetable Fried Rice from the Chinese menu. The small (Rs. 600) was easily enough for 3-4 people, and the portion was huge and delicious. The rice was cooked perfectly with an abundance of veggies mixed in with the eggs. It would probably be too dry as a standalone but then again, most fried-rices are.
Sadly, the Sizzling Special Egg and Bean Curd (Rs. 700) from their specials, was a big disappointment. It was basically a huge block of frozen bean curd found at Keells sliced in half, topped with an egg and covered with sweet and sour gravy. I found the dish to be too salty and overwhelming. Also, it was more bean curd than egg so we couldn't eat a lot of it.
We also got a portion of Hot Butter Mushroom (Rs. 450), the great substitute for HBC. This was amazing! The portion was huge and definitely worth the price. There were enough battered mushrooms to feed at least 3 people. It was incredibly flavorful with a balance of sweet and spicy, although I would have preferred the texture to be crispier.
The Brownie and Ice Cream (Rs. 425) we got was kind of overpriced for one brownie and two scoops of ice cream. However, the texture of the brownie was on point. It was crispy on top with a gooey and chocolatey base. It was too sweet for me but my friend devoured it happily.
Their drinks were a pleasant surprise. We got two huge mason jars filled with Watermelon Juice (Rs. 250) and a Chocolate Milkshake (Rs. 350) and I have to say, they were both were well worth the money.
- The Watermelon Juice was delicious with a thick texture and all natural sweetness from the melon itself. If they had added any sugar, it was done very subtly because I could hardly taste any.
- The Milkshake was very filling and rich in flavour with a drizzle of chocolate sauce. While you could taste the Highland chocolate milk they have used I wouldn't complain, cause for Rs. 350 the quantity is totally worth it.
Service & Ambience
The service here was excellent. The waiters knew their way around the menu and gave us tips on what would go well together. They were friendly, courteous and overall easy to communicate with. Our food arrived within 10-15 minutes and the tables were cleared almost immediately.
One of the best things about the place is the view you get of the road down below if you sit near the window. However, the place could use a bit of brightening up as well as some wall decor. Other than that, the ambience is cosy and peaceful enough to enjoy a luncheon with your friends. The floor below us (Sri Lankan cuisine) was very crowded and almost all the tables were filled but it wasn't overly loud or disturbing.
This is a great place to enjoy some filling and delicious food which would cost less than Rs. 2000 per person for a main, side, dessert and a drink – a solid deal. They also do catering services as you may well know and from the service we received, I would say they are a pretty good choice.