Sen Saal (Battaramulla).

Sen Saal used to be the best bakery in town, but since they opened up the dine-in restaurant at the back, the quality of their food has become really bad.

Sen Saal was one of the first large scale bakeries to establish themselves in Battaramulla. After opening with a short eat shop, they’ve since added a restaurant serving proper meals – lasagna, rice and curry, nasi goreng, fried rice and even their elusive lamprais. They also do submarines and fresh fruit juices.

Sen Saal had the best pastries in town (Battaramulla) for quite a while; I used to have my breakfast there almost every weekend. Although the short eats are still pretty decent, they’ve lost their reputation of being the best bakery in town to the relative newcomer Klassy’s, which is just a stone’s throw away. If you’re craving some short eats, Sen Saal is still a reliable place, but we can’t say the same for the rest of their food.

I decided to go there for lunch and investigate their stylish little restaurant at the back. It was less crowded than I remember, and I was going to find out why.

I ordered the lamprais (Rs. 320), packed in a lovely banana leaf, a fish fried rice (Rs. 300) which looked fairly appetizing, and an avocado juice (Rs. 145). I honestly fell in love with the avocado juice. It had a perfect texture and sweetness, and the avocados used were incredibly ripe. The fish fried rice and the lamprais however were a sore disappointment.

The lamprais was the worst I’ve had ever had. I honestly couldn’t taste anything on my plate. Like any standard lamprais, there was a boiled egg, eggplant, fried onion badum and a cutlet – but here the flavours were bland and lacking in, well, everything. For Rs. 320 this is an expensive disappointment.

The fish fried rice was also below mediocre. Although it did taste better than the lamprais (that isn’t saying much), the rice again lacked flavour and tasted quite obviously unhealthy.

If you ever find yourself in Sen Saal, try the juice and the short eats. You can’t go too wrong there. The rest of the food is a definite let down. Sorry Sen Saal, I used to be an advocate but your chef is letting you down.

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