Resided inside Food Studio at Colombo City Centre, Punch Island Bar is a spot dedicated to serving up drinks. As we gathered, they are operated by Wine World Sri Lanka and is probably the first and only place to serve alcoholic drinks in a food court.
When we visited the Food Studio a few months back, they were not serving alcoholic drinks and we remember wishing they did. The wish has come true as they are now serving an extensive range of beers, spirits, wine and cocktails on top of mocktails and soft drinks.
[The cocktail bar is open from 12 pm – 2 pm and 5 pm – 10 pm only.]
We went with a Passion Fruit Mule (Rs. 800), Gin Pincha (Rs 1200), and a Blueberry Sorbet (Rs. 650).
Mule cocktails usually contain vodka, ginger beer and lime juice. With the Passion Fruit Mule, passion fruit juice took the role of adding a zing to it. The drink had an eye-catching bright yellow colour, and a few ice cubes floating alongside fizzy foam, and was garnished with a slice of lime.
The passion fruit flavour gives off a nice tang while the spirit provided a subtle alcoholic note. Providing a refreshing sparkle as it went down the throat while leaving behind a hint of ginger, we loved it. You can give the lime a squeeze if you need to increase the zing.
Karapincha (curry leaves) is like family to us Sri Lankans. Heck, almost everyone has it in their backyard. Noticing that Gin Pincha has lime and curry leaves gave us a chuckle and a full blown wide smile when we got the drink. The whiff of curry leaves hit you well and coupled with the spirit of the Gin, it was brilliant.
The gin had slipped in very smoothly, which we enjoyed from the very first sip. While it gave off some bitterness, it was countered by the leafy notes in karapincha. Paired with the view from the balcony at CCC – the cloudy overcast on a rainy afternoon, it was just perfect.
We strongly felt that this drink encapsulates a side of Sri Lanka. If we have to nitpick, at the end of the drink, we felt that the ice diluted the drink a tad bit more than we’d have liked but even then, this was a delightful experience overall.
It was saturated with the sweetness of the blueberry while providing just enough sour notes, and was iced adequately that it made the sorbet properly thick. As you take your sweet time to gulp it down, the coldness of the mocktail slowly dies, while the drink gets smoother and the flavour comes through in a balanced manner.
Ambience & Service
At this point, CCC and its food court is no stranger to us. But since these are alcoholic beverages, you have to get your seats on the balcony area.
The outside lounge has ample seating that can fit a crowd around 40 – 50, we reckon.
While the Colombo skyline filling up with concrete behemoths overlooking the Beira lake can get somewhat old, the breath of fresh air away from the air conditioning with the open space is a welcome thing.
Service was pretty standard here. They were prompt and served the drinks with a smile. However, they did seem like still gearing up and learning their way with the ingredients – some of them were not aware of the availability of the drinks. But we were glad that our drinks showed finesse.
As you enter the CCC you are cautioned not to use cameras, so we couldn't grab more picturesque shots of our drinks. We saw plenty of girls, boys and even families dropping by to snap a selfie or two with phones. We didn't resort to taking pictures of the ambience even with a phone with respect to the management and the security measures.
We felt that Punch Island Bar can serve as a great place to grab a refreshing drink whether its alcoholic or non-alcoholic. Given you keep your expectations in line with the views, the price, and the vibe of the CCC, you can have a good time here.