Aside from bar nibbles, The Hawker Park's food menu takes inspiration from Eastern, Middle Eastern, Western and of course, Sri Lankan fare. We opted for the 1/4 Peri Peri Chicken (Rs. 650), a portion of Mac & Cheese (Rs. 750) and the Crackling Pork Belly (Rs. 750).
Let me start with the Peri Peri Chicken. I love chicken, I love peri peri, I love them both. And this was a good one at that. Tender, juicy, and beautifully grilled, there was not a scrap of dry meat in sight. With a strong smokey aroma boosted by the burnt bits, the chicken was delicious and had covered with hot, and I mean very, very hot peri peri sauce which had us tearing up.
Adding a Lankan touch to the dish, there were three small helpings of kaha buth topped off with gotukola sambol.
The Mac and Cheese was a bit of a downer. On the good side, the macaroni was cooked well, but we couldn't quite detect the sharp flavours of the cheese in it. The cheesy counterpart was a bit watery, and not creamy as we expected – especially in comparison to what we had at Plus Nine Four.
Mamma Mia! This is another highlight of our experience – the Crackling Pork Belly.
Eight fatty cubes of perfectly caramelised pork belly, just enough to produce that delightfully crispy crackling, these were perfect. What follows after that crisp is the soft meat and the gooey fat that melts in your mouth. Each of these was stuck to a toothpick along with a crunchy crouton and a featured a drizzle of some kind of tangy sauce that made for the extra flavour.
The Hawker Park's range of cocktails starts at Rs. 400, which is pretty cool. They also have a collection of wines, beer and also shisha, as well as juices, iced tea, milkshakes and mocktails in the non-alcoholic section.
*Pictured above – Whisky Sour (left) and Moscow Mule (right)
- Concocted with the usual elements – whiskey, lemon juice, and sugar, the Whisky Sour was priced at Rs. 600. If you do not prefer local whisky, this might not be the best choice you can go for. Plus, we'd prefer a less dominating punch from the whisky here, as it seemed to overpower the other flavours in the drink.
- Our favourite out of the two was the Moscow Mule (Rs. 750). The boozy notes of vodka and the citrusy hints of lime juice were well balanced here, while the ginger beer left a refreshing, zesty kick on the palate.
Ambience & Service
Located on the ground floor of Trillium Hotel Colombo, they have both indoor and outdoor seating setups. The indoor section is a bit dark, which is why we chose to opt for the outdoor seating. They're still fixing up the place, which is probably why it looked a bit congested, but it has a very relaxed vibe, which is exactly what you need when you have a drink in your hand.
The variation of seating caters to different encounters – from drinking with your buddies to a couple who is looking for a good meal with a glass of wine or two.
Plus, did I mention that they have a pool table to kill your time until the food and drinks arrive? It's free of charge!
The staff who waited on us was quite friendly and helpful. He was good with making recommendations and getting and delivering our order efficiently.
My phone battery was dying and the staff was kind enough to lend one of their power outlets to me. They're pretty open for your feedback too. We mentioned about what we didn't like their Mac & Cheese, and they, in fact, asked whether they can remake it – which we politely declined.
Good food, cheap booze in a place that you can blend in with good vibes – here's another addition to your list of Friday (or any day) drinking spots. The cocktails can improve a bit more for sure. Anyway, given that it's a place in one of Colombo's luxurious boutique hotels, we'd say it's worth it.