The Lagoon (Cinnamon Grand).

The Lagoon is a fine dining seafood restaurant located in Colombo’s Cinnamon Grand Hotel. Freshly caught seafood is displayed upon a bed of ice and can be chosen with the preferred style of preparation and sides. It’s very good, and very expensive..

This fine dining seafood restaurant is styled somewhat like an upmarket fish market; the haul of the day is displayed prominently at the centre of the room on a thick bed of ice – mud crab, lagoon crab, mussels, modha and more – and you’re encouraged to walk over and examine the wares yourself, to locate the juiciest jumbo prawn or to opt for the most menacing of the lobsters.

Once your piece of seafood has been settled on, then come the sauces. The Lagoon offers a neat list of options. You can go Thai, Chinese or Continental. Perhaps a grilled fillet of sole accompanied by the lemon sauce and mashed potatoes. Or the black pepper modha with kan kung. Or garlic chilli prawns with fried rice. The vast range of seafood, sauces and sides can be a bit bewildering, but fear not. The waiters know their stuff and are quite happy to help you choose. If you’re looking for quick and easy a la carte ordering, you won’t find it at the Lagoon, but their roll-your-own method isn’t hard once you get used to it.

The Food

This is one of Colombo’s classier seafood restaurants. The catch is always fresh and the preparation is clean. While the seafood is very good – enormous crabs, excellent fish – problems can occur when it comes to the sauces. As with any big Sri Lankan family outing, a meal always has the potential to turn into a rice and curry affair – no matter where my family dines, we can always navigate the menu to end up with curries and rice. So despite my best attempts to stick with a plate of lemon sole and mash, the table was soon predictably laden with currified Chinesey dishes – garlic tofu, black pepper modha, kan kung, fried rice… wait, weren’t we at a seafood restaurant? Sadly, the sides and sauces overwhelmed the fish – the crab curry was swimming in soupy broth and the modha was over-slathered with a gooey black pepper sauce. While everything was tasty, the seafood just didn’t shine as it should have. Of course, this is our own fault for poor ordering. With such an abundance of sauces on offer, it can be tempting to over-complicate the meal.

I’d recommend ordering more simply – pick a few stars – a big lobster, crab, mussels – and pay more attention to the fleshy meat of the fish than to its accompaniments.

The Service

The staff are generally sweet and knowledgeable, but there were a few hiccups when it came to ordering. I asked for the sole but was given swordfish, and our wine was rather unceremoniously plonked on the table without being served. Generally, however, service is fine. Also, the restaurant can get busy, so remember to make a reservation.

The Price

The price will, of course, vary depending on the type of seafood you order. With alcohol, you’ll probably be looking at at least Rs. 3000 per head.

The Conclusion

The Lagoon is a lovely restaurant. The setting is casual yet elegant, and the gently bustling atmosphere makes for a pleasant dining experience. You’ll never feel like you’re sitting alone at an empty restaurant. This is a popular spot for entertaining clients and visitors; it can also be quite romantic in the evenings, so is quite good date night material. Overall, the seafood is fresh, the food is very good. Recommended.

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