The Cabinet (Hotel Nippon).

Started as a mansion during the colonial era, Nippon is one of the oldest landmarks of Colombo’s history. Today it's a hotel with a restaurant (Bamboo Room), cafe (the KAFÉ) and a pub (The Cabinet). They're well-known for their legendary mutton rolls, delicious chicken lamprais and reasonably priced cocktails and bites, among other things. 

The Drinks

The Cabinet is on tap from 10 am in the morning. The alcohol is considerably cheap, and they've got a bunch of fruit juices and cocktails for you to choose from. 

 *Pictured above: Nippon Green Apple (left), Magarita (right)

The Nippon Green Apple (Rs. 499.69) from their signature cocktail range was pretty simple – Vodka and apple juice with a tinge of spiciness that comes from the chili rimmed glass. In terms of presentation, it certainly has room for improvement, but the flavours worked well together. 

We also tried a Margarita (Rs. 635.44), which was our favourite out of the two. Involving the usual margarita mix, generous amount of Tequila and garnished with a lime twist, it had all the elements of a good margarita in the right balance.

The Food

The Pepper Pork (Rs. 522.75) was excellent! It was piping hot, and had an incredible flavour. The meat was cooked to perfection with a firm rind, and one of two fat bits that melt in your mouth. Seasoned with black pepper, crunchy green chilies and onions, this is a very generous portion of pork.

The Prawn Balls (Rs. 530.44) we tried at The Cabinet is probably one of the best ones out there. It's basically five big spheres of mashed prawn, golden batter fried and tasted amazing, especially with the chili sauce that came with it. They were light, puffy and not crazy-oily, and we devoured it within minutes. 

Service and Ambience

The service was pretty decent. The staff was polite, attentive and helpful. Our food and drinks arrived within 15 minutes. 

In terms of the ambiance, it has a strong retro-themed vibe going on, with wooden furniture and vintage posters hanging on the wall.

Conclusion

All in all, we really enjoyed our experience at The Cabinet. They've got some good cocktails, delicious bites and their prices are comparatively lower than the other pubs and bars around. Our total bill came to Rs.2870 including service charges and taxes, which is pretty cool considering that it is, in fact, a bar attached to a popular hotel in Colombo.

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