Pedlar’s Inn Cafe is a popular stop in Galle fort (and so is their Gelato opposite the cafe) – the food is alright, but mostly it’s the ambience that makes this place one of the better hangout spots when you’re at the fort.
We love this cafe’s interior to bits. It’s got three levels of seating – on the outside there’s a typical French bistro style arrangement with cafe tables and a canopy to keep off the sun, inside there are quiet cushioned corners to chill at, and further inside a courtyard-like space with garden tiles and a tree, with an upstairs extension.
All over the interior there is odd, rusted, antique decor – like an old motorcycle, accordion or sewing machine. There’s a room with a phonograph in it where there’s soft jazz music playing, and there’s very old wooden paneling upstairs.
Food & Service
We got grilled prawns (Rs. 900), spicy seafood rice (Rs. 900), spaghetti carbonara (Rs. 700), spaghetti bolognese (Rs. 950) and French onion soup (Rs. 400). Spaghetti isn’t their strong suit – although there was plenty on the plate, the spaghetti was rather bland and not incredibly appetizing (a staff member told us that it appeals better to the European tourist’s taste-buds).
But their prawns were plenty and delicious, you can’t go wrong ordering those. Also good was the seafood rice – large portion and very spicy.
Surprisingly awesome was the French onion soup. I always skip soup because it’s usually watery and not filling – but this dish was delicious, with pieces of grilled bread topped with cheese and sunk into very thick onion soup. Drinks here come in gloriously tall glasses and our lassi (Rs. 350) was superb. Affogato (Rs. 350), or ice cream and coffee, is a good dessert to try out here.
The restaurant is big and there’s a lot of service going on in the front of it, so it might take a while for the waiters to notice you if you’re at the back courtyard space. But the food came soon enough, and the waiters were polite – they were even nice enough to bring us complementary chocolate brownies to make up for the bland spaghetti. The brownies were soft and very tasty – we’re betting it’s the best dessert on their menu.
Pedlar’s Inn Cafe is a wonderful space to relax at when you’re in Galle fort. The mix and match of odd old decor and the cosy seating spaces make for a great hangout with friends. It is costly though, at about Rs. 1300 per head. If you do stop here, go for rice, prawns and brownies.