UPDATE: This place is closed now
It wasn't so long ago that we were pondering the merits of Colombo's iconic burgers, contemplating whether the heydey of our beef and bun heavyweights Sugar and Burger's King had finally come to an end. Had they? Well, we wouldn't have thought so if we hadn't stumbled across Al-Jazeera - and no, we don't mean the TV channel. This new Yemeni-run restaurant is located on Dean's Road, serving great Arabic food and, what we can tentatively say, is the city's new king of burgers.
If you're still chasing the high of an early-era Burger's King or booze-induced Sugar binge, Al-Jazeera's where it's at. Their chicken and cheese burger is quite literally the stuff of salivating, mayo-filled dreams; remember when Burger's King was just a little cart on Slave Island, selling big chunks of crispy fried chicken, slathered with that magical creamy condiment? Remember the soft laments that floated around when the cart got shinier, cleaner and stopped being a cart? Well, it might just be possible to fall back in time and revisit those old taste memories.
The Al-Jazeera chicken burger. Broad, generous cakes of soft bread. A thick, crispy cut of fried chicken - the flesh soft and deeply infused with spicy flavour. A molten mess of cheese. Rich, creamy layers of mayo oozing across the sides and crunchy rings of fresh red onion. This is as good as Burger's King at its prime - and it might just grab the monarch's crown. And at only Rs. 260, Al-Jazeera's delectable, massive burger is practically a steal.
We're excited about Al-Jazeera. Amazing burgers aside, they have an intriguing Arabic menu - written in both English and Arabic - with a whole list of rice dishes we've never tried before. And while we couldn't sample the shawarmas or kebabs (only served for dinner), the Arabic rice dish - the cabsa (Rs. 350) - was excellent; the rice was different from our local basmati or samba - thick and slightly chewey long grains that were lightly fragranced and flavoured with pepper corns and cardamom; the chicken was delicate and light, spiced gentley and cooked until soft and tender. This is a great meal - and a fun change from the usual flavour-popping curried buth lunches.
You must visit Al-Jazeera. It's conveniently located in Colombo's bustling office district, it's affordable and it's an ideal candidate for livening up the office lunch orders. If Al-Jaz's competitor trajectories are anything to go by, now's when it's going to be at its best. This is Colombo's new secret. Go now.
This place is closed now
සිංහල අපි හිතුවේ එය බැසගිය සඳක්ය කියායි. ඒත්, අල් ජසීරා ගැන දැනගත් පසු අපේ අදහස වෙනස්වුණා. පටලවාගන්න එපා. මේ ඒ රූපවාහිනී චැනලය නොවෙයි. යේමන් අවන්හලක්. එය පිහිටා තිබෙන්නේ මරදානේ ඩීන්ස් පාරේ.