Sapphyr Lounge is Shangri-La Colombo’s official coffee stop, which resides at their lobby. It’s much more than just a cafe, with a wide array of food and drinks, combined with reasonable prices.
There's a lot of different stuff on the menu – short-eats, burgers, pasta, and sandwiches etc., and most of them are priced between Rs. 650 – 800, which is not so bad considering that it’s an upscale coffee shop which belongs to an international hotel chain.
We started off with the Bruschetta (Rs. 650), which was simply excellent. The bread itself had a slight crunch to it, as it was sitting on the grill for a while. Slathered with a layer of basil and garlic paste, it was topped off with some fresh, juicy slices of tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella and a few black olives. Each bite had a nicely balanced taste, while the basil/garlic paste being the perfect compliment.
Next up, the Ham & Cheese Toast (Rs. 750) which was another well executed dish. It was a simple one, really – toasted bread, generously stuffed with ham and cheese, but surprisingly delicious. The smokey flavor of the well cooked ham nicely emerged through the perfectly toasted bread, and with the cheese, it added for a flavorsome and satisfactory meal.
The fries that were served on the side were sharp, crispy, and had the right amount of saltiness.
The Chinese Roll (Rs. 600) was served with two rolls, chutney and some veggies on the side. Generously filled to the brim with a mixture of curry chicken, mashed potato and a half a boiled egg, these rolls had the crispiest coating I've ever had. Although, the punch that comes from the spices was pretty weak.
One might wonder whether it's really worth the hefty price tag, but really, it's not. It's not that hard to make, the ingredients are simple and not expensive – so even if it's the best chinese roll in the country, charging Rs. 600 for this was not cool.
Rich, fluffy and a with a swirl of karthakolomban flavor, the Mango Cheesecake at Sapphyr Lounge (Rs. 600) was pure bliss! It had a light, buttery biscuit base which did not interfere with the sweetness of the cheesecake, so you can enjoy the natural sweetness of mango all by yourself. The fresh mango slices, and the roasted cashew nuts on top added for the extra flavor. We highly recommend this.
I've tried Shangri-La's coffee a few months ago, and it was a bit underwelming. Anyway, being an optimistic myself, I went with this Cafe Mocha (Rs. 450), which is a well-known chocolate based coffee drink that anyone guarantees to love. So how can you possibly ruin a mocha, right?
Well sadly, this one didn't live up to our expectations. The coffee aroma was nowhere to be found, and the milk was overheated – so we tried adding spoonfuls of sugar to balance out the flavors, but still it couldn't save grace. All we could taste was the sweetened milk (as a result of overheating and the added sugar) and some dark chocolate, which is not what good mocha is. Honestly, it's disappointing how a renowned hotel chain hasn't been able to get their coffee game strong.
*Pictured above: Ceylon Mocktail No1 (left) and Lime Juice (right)
Shangri-La does a range of brilliant tea mocktails (which I'm a huge fan of), and this time they didn't disappoint either. The Ceylon Mocktail No1 (Rs. 650) was refreshing as hell, with strong fruity notes, along with the grassy, earthy after taste that comes from black tea.
The Lime Juice (Rs. 400) however, didn't have the basic elements in the right balance. It was a tad watery, not very limey, and adding sugar didn't help either.
Ambience & Service
We visited here on a Sunday evening, and it was packed with customers as the high tea session was going on. So it's better to call ahead and make a reservation, – for high tea or snacking. We weren't aware of the reservation part, but the staff were quite helpful and quickly arranged a table for us within seconds.
The atmosphere here is peaceful, and the view is of course spectacular, which is actually one of the best things about this place. It's a place for you to unwind and relax after a heavy day of work. The comfortable sofas and chairs, and the slow music in the background are all about that.
Sapphyr Lounge is a wonderful place that makes you feel welcomed and comfortable, along with a satisfactory meal. Their prices aren't bad, and aside from the disappointing coffee, we had a quality experience. The taxes and service charges are added to the bill, so you might want to keep an eye on that.