The Long Bar (Waters Edge).

The Water’s Edge premises are sprawling and has a stunning location in Battaramulla. It’s a bit far away for the average Colombo resident, but is a perfect respite for the massive Rajagiriya/Battaramulla suburbs. They’ve always had a fairly decent restaurant and gym, but recently opened up a swanky new bar/restaurant overlooking the golf course. This is the sort of place that has all the ingredients for a superb establishment but lost out a bit on the details.

Food & Drink

The menu itself was uninspiring to look at as it was printed off a PC and laminated in a punch folder – not quite befitting the swanky surroundings. While the entirety of the food menu fit on one page (which is fine for a bar, but not for a bar/restaurant) – and the choices were pretty standard bar fare plus some Japanese and platter options – the actual food was very good. We ordered a lemon-brewed corn-fed chicken at Rs. 950 (which came as a sizzler) and mixed seafood platter at Rs. 1100, both of which were well presented and delicious. The food also arrived quickly and appeared to be freshly made. I did think it was a bit on the pricey side, but given the quality and general bar pricing, it seemed fair.

The drinks on the other hand could have done with some improvement. The main disappointment was the lack of options – there were just about a dozen standard cocktails and a couple of champagne cocktails. To make it worse, they didn’t have the ingredients to make a few of them so I had to order again. We finally settled for Kir Royales (a yum champagne and crème de cassis concoction) and Bloody Marys which tasted a bit like watery Tabasco but were otherwise alright.

The cognacs on the menu deserve a special mention for their prices – 25ml of garden variety Hennessy was priced at about Rs. 1400. Why?

Ambience

While it looks like a lot of money went into the décor and furniture, a little more attention to detail would have gone a long way at the Long Bar. The warm brown and gold theme was great, and the wide glass windows offered a fairly enchanting view of the golf course lawn and pond and all the wildlife that comes with it.

The seating arrangements lend themselves to a membership club sort of vibe, with a lot of low armchairs clustered together around coffee tables, and nice bar chairs lined up against the bar counter. The bar itself is touted to be Sri Lanka’s longest at 100 feet (we didn’t measure, so let’s just take their word for it), backed by a fairly impressive looking alcohol collection.

As for the crowd, we went at about 9 PM on a Wednesday night and expected a sort of date night ambience given the photos and general buzz, but it seemed to be filled with families with children. This was fairly confusing, and I assume this is why the lighting was bright too. To make things even more odd, at about 11 PM, a whole bunch of 7 to 8 year old children entered unattended and proceeded to prop themselves up on the bar and order soft drinks. As adorable as this was, I felt as though it left the purpose of the bar up for questioning.

There’s a stage inbuilt at the centre of the place, and some nice acoustic/ jazz music would have really suited the place, especially as the ambient music ranged from Buddha Bar remixes to jarring borderline techo.

Service

The bar was on the emptier side, with the staff equaling the patrons. However, it was pretty difficult to get service, and the waiters were friendly but simply not competent. We had about three different waiters serving us throughout the night, and none of them were familiar with the menu or seemed confused at what was on offer. One kept giving me a Bloody Mary, insisting it was champagne, which was more funny than annoying. Proper training would go a long way here. While it was a truly special experience to sip on champagne while watching a porcupine scuttle around the course, it is a little less special to have to wait 10 minutes for each flute to arrive!

TL;DR – lovely location & good food, but mediocre drinks & service.

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