The Paddington is the latest neo-colonially named venture in Colombo, following the Kingsbury, Barnesbury and preceding the Queensbury. It’s a coffee-shop just down from the similar Barnesbury and it’s not much different, but it’s a decent place to hang.
There are, broadly, three classes of Colombo coffee-shop. 1) The franchise 2) the pseudo-franchise and 3) the local. These are, of course, subjective measures. We define a franchise as a coffee-shop as a place that’s expensive, suitable for big crowds and which has a somewhat fake character. A local coffee shop is generally cheaper, smaller and has an original character. The pseudo-franchise looks and feels like a franchise but it’s really local. We’d call The Paddington a pseudo-franchise. It can accommodate large groups, it’s a bit expensive, and a bit fake.
The Food And Drink
The Paddington has in interesting and generally well-spelled menu covering everything from ambarella juice (Rs. 295) to regular coffee (Rs. 315) to shakes (roughly Rs. 400-500). I tried an Easy Raspberry Lemonade (Rs. 475) which was pretty refreshing, tall and good, but very expensive.
In terms of food, their popular lunchtime options seem to be pasta (Rs. 495 for Spaghetti Bolognese, Rs. 695 for Crab Fettucine) and rice (Rs. 495 for Mongolian fried rice, Rs. 595 for seafood Nasi Goreng). They also have a range of burgers, salads, vegetarian options, etc. I tried a Teriyaki Beef Wrap (Rs. 450) which, while not especially tender, was all right. It came with fries and a bit of coleslaw type material.
The beef was well-seasoned if a bit tough and there was a bit too much of an un-amazing flatbread wrapping the whole thing up. It was an average wrap.
Their coffee I didn’t try, so please comment with your experiences.
A coffee shop like this is as much a place to hangout as it is a place to eat and drink. In that sense The Paddington is a relatively big space which can accommodate groups of young and somewhat loud people. While I was there a group was having a birthday party and another older group was just meeting up. The younger crowd was able to yell surprise and sing without disturbing the others, who were in a private room.
That’s a sort of spatial separation that franchises have and local coffee-shops often don’t, which is a plus for the Paddington.
It’s location on Barnes Place is also central, though it faces local competition from the Barnesbury and the popular Ciocanat on the same street.
The Paddington had a lot of staff when I arrived and they were all quite nice. The manager is Nazeem, formerly of Commons and recently from the Barnesbury and he’s quite nice. The rest of the staff are quite helpful and well-trained as well.
The Paddington is another mid-range coffee-shop which, while neither cheap nor original, has plenty of room to hang-out and a range of food and drink to keep you there.