The Short Eats
Another essential stop on the Five at Fife Road tour- is Tasty. A general purveyor of edible items it specializes in Ceylan tapas, also known as short eats. This brand of patisserie focuses on the fusion of western pastry – filo, puff, choux, shortcrust, with Sri Lankan fillings- seeni sambol, fish curry, spiced chicken, whatever it is that goes inside cutlets. At their best short eats can be truly delicious savory fusions of east and west and at their worst stale, reheated indigestion inducing lumps of bad pastry and left over curry.
Tasty however stands out as one of the cities better suppliers of short eats. They have a way with choux pastry (the éclairs and cream buns are superior), the offerings are fresh and they’ve got some unique items –filled pancakes, pies, twists on the on the old sausage roll. The short eats are all between Rs. 50-100.
The lasagna (Rs 400) isn’t bad either as an alternative to curry lunch.
In addition to the canonical shorteats, Tasty Caterers also serve standard lunchtime fare: pasta, lasagne and the even more canonical biriyani and rice and curry.
The biriyani, while tasty, isn’t true to the traditional mounds of steaming, stock infused rice you may expect. The golden grains are fragrant without being flavourful and the orangey chicken is oddly creamy – the kind of Sri Lankan-Western hybrid you get at hotel buffet lunches. That being said, the meal actually isn’t bad at all. But don’t tuck in expecting the authentic biriyani experience. And at Rs. 400 this is twice the cost of Tasty’s standard bath packet, which offers more and tastes better.
The bath lunch (Rs. 200) is quite good. While it may not have the special oomph of your favourite kade’s creations, the environment in which your food springs to life is a clean, hygienic one. And as with any Sri Lankan lunch, you get an enormous serving of rice, however here you also get generous portions of chicken, veg and parippu to go along with it – you’re not left with a mini mountain of carbs after just 6 mouthfuls.
What we really enjoyed at Tasty, however, was the Akbar iced teas we found lying in a large, empty fridge. While Colombo has its spread of iced teas across most cafes and restaurants, of the buy-in-bottle kind we only really have Heladiv and Akbar, the latter being a bit more elusive. While the blackberry flavour is slightly too strong for us, the Earl Grey is really quite lovely. It has light, delicate notes of tea with just the right amount of subtle sweetness. This is a great iced tea – if you come across one, purchase instantly.
So does Tasty live up to it’s ambitious appellation? We suppose. While the food doesn’t transport us into fits of post-meal rapture, its still tasty, and not too bad for Rs. 200 a lunch packet.