Sugar Bistro & Wine Bar.

Sugar Bistro & Wine Bar is one of the latest in Colombo’s flurry of new eateries (See Arabian Knights, Qbaa, Navayuga, R&R, Tsing Tao, etc.) They serve breakfast, tapas, main courses, wine and, of course, the Sugar burger. We love this place. The food and drinks are good, but what’s really great is the crowd and location.

The Location

During the evenings Sugar is nearly always full. Colombo has several lovely restaurants, but quite often you can find you’re the only ones there (see Casa). At Sugar, this doesn’t happen.

Located in the touro-centric Crescat Boulevard, Sugar sits alongside Cinnamon Grand, overlooking the soon to be Hyatt. This is a good place to be – both for Sugar and its patrons. The half-indoors half-outdoors style dining is lovely at night, and the proximity to a main road is quite novel in Colombo. This sounds unappealing – traffic, noise, etc. – but in the evenings this is actually delightful. Whether you’re sitting on the balcony looking onto the Galle Road, or inside, you get the feeling of being part of an exciting, vibrant city. The lights of the nearby hotels and the cars zipping past create a metropolitan ambience. This is different to most of Colombo’s cloistered restaurants, which tend to corral you in and cut you off from the city. But Sugar, like its sister rooftop restaurant Lemon, interacts with the surrounding environment, incorporating the cityscape into its ambience and decor. This is good. And while it didn’t quite work with Delifrance (which was once located in the same spot), it really works here.

The Food

Overall, you can expect good things from the food. The breakfast is excellent and surprisingly affordable, with several items on the menu costing just Rs. 300. We had the all day breakfast (this is the most expensive at Rs. 900, and including two eggs, bacon, two sausages, grilled tomato baked beans, toast, jam, coffee/tea, juice, fresh fruit), open BLT sandwich (Rs. 300) and hot chocolate (Rs. 350). The BLT is excellent – the bacon is of good quality (not too fatty) and there’s plenty of it. The all day breakfast is tasty, but more expensive, and honestly, the sandwich is just as good – I suppose it depends on how hungry (or greedy) you’re feeling, but we’d recommend one of the cheaper items on the menu.

For tapas we didn’t try much, only the miniature beef cordon bleu (Rs. 400) and mozzarella cheese balls (Rs. 470, and off the starters section) served with a pair of interesting dips. These were alright, but nothing to write home about and not quite worth the price. However, we haven’t explored much of the tapas menu at all yet so can’t really comment. But mains and desserts seem promising, and a quick peek at some neighbouring meals showed some tasty looking food.

The Famous Burgers

The canonical Sugar Burger, once a cart-side sensation, is also served at the Bistro. What was once just a post nightclub bite is fleshed into a meaty main event – the burgers, once simply shoved into a foam box, are now accompanied by hefty rough cut wedges and pickled veg and sauerkraut. Also available is the Sugar Daddy – a teetering behemoth stacked tall with sides and sauces is pricey at Rs. 900, but also quite tasty. A worthy meal – but we’d still recommend the steak sandwich over anything if you’re going for the big appetite carnivorous lunge.

The Drinks

While we’re not so sure about the tapas, the drinks here are excellent and again pretty affordable. Cocktails range between Rs. 400 and Rs. 600 and fifteen different types of wine are available by the glass, prices, of course, depending on the bottle.

The Ambrella Fizz and the Clover Leaf, which both cost just Rs. 400, are delicious. They use fresh juice and it tastes like the fruit’s been squeezed straight into your glass. We really, really love both these drinks – they’re probably two of the best and most affordable cocktails in Colombo.

Apparently the granitas, Rs. 200 to Rs. 400 are also excellent.

The Conclusion

We like Sugar. A lot. They get it right on pretty much every count. The ambience, the location, the decor, everything. And the best part, it’s always busy. You feel like you’re part of a bustling, vibrant city scene. No wonder it’s become so popular so fast. This is a tasteful, lovely place to have a few glasses of wine in the evening, or a late and lazy breakfast on the weekend. Definitely go here.

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