Every year we see how Colombo streets are getting packed with new restaurants, and for foodies like us, there's nothing better than that. But sadly, not every one of them is made to survive the competition - so sooner or later, we find them getting kicked off from the rat race. Some of them die peacefully, a few of them reborn from the ashes while the rest stays dead.
So the following list is comprised of some of the notable deaths we came across during this year.
Emphasizing on street food from around the world, Streat360 was a beautiful and rustic resto down Ward Place. A bit on the expensive side, they served up some good Sri Lankan, Mexican, Western and Vietnamese dishes. It was a fine place to chill out in the evening, while indulging in something ingenious called Milk Toffee Sundae and a plate of Kimchi Burrito.
Ah, Schakasz! It was a hub for all the sweet-toothed Colombars. Offering up a unique range of desserts like crème brûlée cheesecake, Irish crème pot, Kahlua mousse cake alongside one of the richest and most chocolatey hot chocolates Colombo has ever tasted, this place was our go-to spots for a sweet fix. The word has that it has been reborn with a whole new look, under a new name.
Cioconat was one of the more expensive cafes in the city, which started off as a place leaning towards Italian fare. As they grew up, they tried really hard to do a lot of different things at once in terms of cuisine, which we appreciate, but it kinda made them lose focus on what they do best.
Tokiwa was buzzing at one moment, and at the next, it was closed down. For all we know, it's a temporary shut down, as they're moving to a new location, so fingers crossed! It was the only Japanese cafe in Colombo where you could get the taste of dishes like omurice, and fuwa fuwa pancakes, and they served one of the best chocolate cakes we've ever tried. However, their range of coffee-based drinks was not that impressive, but that didn't stop us from visiting this place over and over again.
Now, this is a place that we terribly miss, simply because there is no other place in Colombo where you can get a plate of decent chicken cheese kottu, that's dripping with actual cheese, not the fake kind. The closest we've come to this kottu is the one at The RoadHouse, but that doesn't make us miss this place any less. Chunks of roasted chicken smothered with cheese, and tossed in a generous serving of roti, it was simply brilliant. At Rs. 300, their plate of chicken wings was super good too.
Let's Brunch was a pop-up brunch spot that time shared space with The Fat Crab. It was a popular joint with a menu that serves up international as well as local fusion spinoffs- like their Cinnamon Apple Waffles and Sri Lankan style crepes with pol pani. Their stuff was fairly priced, and worth the money, so we are actually not sure what caused the sudden demise.
'Posh' is not something you normally associate with the word 'kottu', but Plunkett Posh Kottu made an attempt at that. Their kottu didn't showcase a significant improvement over roadside kottu, but they were offered at quite high prices (Rs. 880). There wasn't anything distinct about them to stand out among the ones that you get in Pilawoos (or any other kottu joint in that case), and in terms of portion size, it's quite the same. However, they had a Frozen Curd dessert which they serve with superb kithul pani and kithul hakuru on top, which was simply delicious.
Launched in 2011, Semondu was one of the semi-fine dining restaurants in Dutch Hospital that was consistently good until their death in 2018. Their speciality was Sri Lankan fare, but they managed to handle a bunch of Continental and Asian fusion dishes as well.
There was a time that Colombo was sprouting with waffle-dedicated spots, and The Waffle Cafe was one of the firsts of that kind. Their initial spot was in Kotte, and then they relocated to a place down Perahara Road in Kollupitiya. Priced in the higher end of the spectrum, their waffles were quite good and offered in both sweet and savoury kinds. Literally after few weeks from our full-on review at the new location, it was closed down and renamed to Culture Cafe, which we believe that still up and running.
I think we're still getting over the death of Domenico's. Headed by the former chef at Santoré, it was a great addition to Colombo's pizza scene in 2014. Their focus is on their authentic Italian pizzas, using imported ingredients and recipes, and aside from that, they did some amazing dishes, including a particularly great tiramisu.
Fenghuang Lou was a pretty solid Chinese restaurant down Jawatta Road that was known among the work crowd around. Given the great taste and quantity, their offerings were very reasonably priced. and provided great satisfaction for every cent you pay. We were absolutely on board with their HBC.
In a time that Colombo is missing traditional middle eastern/Mediterranean cuisine, Tagine was a Godsend. Taking on this particular niche is a laborious task, but Tagine was able to pull it off just fine, at least for a short period of time. As the name implies, their speciality was Tagine, and they did it so darn well. It was a place that you can split a bowl of steaming hot Tagine with your bud, alongside some strong shot of Arabic Coffee. We miss that.
Kottu & Co was an instant hit when they opened up their outlet at The Food Station, particularly because of the interesting range of kottu they offered. From the usual chicken kottu to the rare palandi kottu, everything here was excellent and well worth the money. Plus, they are the ones who introduced Milo Dinosaur to Colombo.
There's nothing better than a little nostalgia, which is why we decided to compile this list and pay our respects. It's our sincere hope that these guys would come back with a bang, because there's someone in some corner of Colombo who is missing them. Until then, RIP dearies!
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A fundraiser event with songs performed by Sean Panikkar (tenor) and Tharanga Goonetilleke (soprano) accompanied by Rohan De Silva on the piano