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3/5

168 Sea Food Palace

8 Sea View Avenue Colombo 3


168 Sea Food Palace is a veteran among Chinese eateries in Colombo and is still hugely popular among locals. They do a decent take on Sri Lankan Chinese with efficient, but the place looks quite run down now.



There was a positive review of the Chill Crab at 168 by LT's Gourmand so I decided, perhaps ill-advisedly, to take a Singaporean visitor to try it out.

It wasn't entirely foolhardy - taking a Singaporean (Land of the Chilli Crab) to try the same preparation in Sri Lanka because we were going to the source - apparently the owners of 168 are Singaporean crab exporters - and I cant possibly take every visitor to MOC or I would be be bankrupt in weeks... no, days.

So we tuk-tuked off to Sea View avenue off Galle Road..

The restaurant's interior falls into an happy place between Sri Lankan Chinese (Flower Drum) and mainland Chinese (Fortune Boat). The ambiance, too, is a hybrid - authentic Chinese pop blaring in the background as local-male patrons armed with large bottles of whisky discuss business.

We ordered 800 grams of crab at Rs. 360 per 100 grams and - of course - also ordered some hot butter cuttlefish. Our greens were a lightly flavored sweet potato leaf tossed with garlic. The food arrived quickly and the crab looked promising - a handsome specimen with large claws and lots of meat. At first sight I had high hopes for this local chilli crab contender. However, the Singaporean ignoring the gleaming crustacean went straight for the thick red sauce and the verdict: poor to mediocre.

A pity, because a chilli crab is defined by its sauce and this standard sweet gloop that seemed to have been poured over the crab at the last moment wasn't going to cut it. The dish wasn't infused with a rich crab flavour, it didn't incorporate the crucial crab roe and the largest transgression - it lacked chilli - a fairly crucial ingredient.

Leaving the sauce aside the crab was good - meaty, firm flesh and good value for the weight, and the other dishes were strong. So while my attempt to out Singapore the Singaporean failed - 168 is still a worthy spot for dinner and next time I'll order crabs in another style.

But for now I'll admit I haven''t found a Chilli crab that has clawed its way over Singapore's offerings. Any suggestions?

TIP

Make reservations for dinner since it can get quite crowded.

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User Reviews
G
9

3/5

0

GayanP

This place now has Zero ambiance, but the food is still OK
The food however gets quite delayed when they are busy. Although it is called a Seafood Restaurant they have the full range of meat dishes too. The stewards are senior hands and are knowledgeable about the menu.

The menu prices at around Rs 700 to 800 for a small portion, appear to be cheap, but the menu prices are misleading. The bill comes padded with 30% more which includes a 10% charged as Service Charge ! The Labour department should take note and Diners should refuse to pay this 10% charge as it is not being passed on to the service staff. This restaurant pockets this 10%.

They do have alcohol but they also allow you to bring your own bottles without a corkage charge. However they do charge for giving you a bucket of ice. This may be the only restaurant in Colombo charging for a bucket of ice. The sodas and tonics are charged at around Rs 200/- a bottle.

For dessert they only have lychees and ice cream

G
9

3/5

0

GayanP

This place now has Zero ambiance, but the food is still OK
The food however gets quite delayed when they are busy. Although it is called a Seafood Restaurant they have the full range of meat dishes too. The stewards are senior hands and are knowledgeable about the menu.

The menu prices at around Rs 700 to 800 for a small portion, appear to be cheap, but the menu prices are misleading. The bill comes padded with 30% more which includes a 10% charged as Service Charge ! The Labour department should take note and Diners should refuse to pay this 10% charge as it is not being passed on to the service staff. This restaurant pockets this 10%.

They do have alcohol but they also allow you to bring your own bottles without a corkage charge. However they do charge for giving you a bucket of ice. This may be the only restaurant in Colombo charging for a bucket of ice. The sodas and tonics are charged at around Rs 200/- a bottle.

For dessert they only have lychees and ice cream

A
5

3/5

0

ajlalwani

their set lunch boxes are great value for money. usually consistent food and good service.

C
2

4/5

0

chamzangeleyes

we ordered prawn balls,mixed fried rice,hot butter cuttlefish,pork n mutton……it was really tasty….and the portion sizes were well worth the money(total was 3800for 2ppl )……the first impression of the restaurant was not that great……cos it lookz real shady….my opinion dont go ther for ambiance,….just go for food……but check the bill before u pay….as they mucked my one up twice….will definitely recommend n visit again…………and gona try the crab……:))))

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