Remember OZ Baker which closed down a few months ago? Now they're back to life under a different name - Ape Cafe, and with a brand new menu. Despite some confusion due to the name, we've found it's not managed by apes, only by the evolved kind - humans. In fact, it's called අපේ Cafe.
It's a place you can drop by and grab a quick bite on your way to work, or sit down, and take your time to indulge in a proper meal. We went for the latter.
We were quite impressed by the presentation of The Fish In a Basket (Rs. 799). It's part of a combo meal - you can get a glass of iced coffee or a juice with it. We opted for the former.
Served with five strips of crumb fried fish, a side salad, alongside three kinds of dips - mayo-veggie, mayo-herb and mayo-tomato ketchup, it was a good one. All of these were presented on a wooden plate that's placed inside a wewal watti.
The fish was cooked well, cooked through, and we liked how its crispy batter coating didn't overpower the delicious seafoody goodness. Add some freshly squeezed lemon to this if you prefer a hint of sourness in its flavour.
You can also enjoy some crispy, well-seasoned portion of French Fries along with this.
Thick and well ground, the Beef Burger (Rs. 899) had a good patty with a slight crunch to boot. Stacked with lettuce, onions, pickles, a fried egg and a slathering of mayo and ketchup, it was alright, but unfortunately, the bun itself wasn't strong enough to hold everything together. It looked and tasted like a generic bun, and was kinda crumbly in texture.
A bite from this fish bun made us realize why we should redo our Maalu Paan roundup. Veering off from the popular "maalu-less - maalu paan" myth, this one was stuffed to the brim with a well-spiced mixture that actually had lots of chunky minced fish. The bun was freshly baked, soft, and light with a tinge of sweetness to it. Considering the delicious blend of flavours this one offers, we are pretty darn sure that it would make the cut to our King Paan list (refer Maalu paan roundup).
The fish patty had the same filling, but the cover was sort of soggy, as opposed to being crispy.
The Cappuccino (Rs. 300) we ordered was frothy, had a good coffee aroma seeping through, but we would have liked it more, if the milk was a little creamier, and easy on our tongue.
This is the Iced Coffee that accompanied The Fish In a Basket. It was pretty decent - a milky, refreshing blend of milk and coffee, with the perfect amount of sweetness. More importantly, we did not encounter any weird masala flavours that we've experienced before with local iced coffee.
Aside from the wall art, the seating arrangement here hasn't changed at all - it's the same setting when it was previously OZ Baker as well. With white plush chairs and sleek wooden tables, the ambience here is quite comfortable and peaceful.
The guy behind the counter was friendly, and helpful. Our food arrived within 10 minutes.
Aside from the burger and the coffee, we quite enjoyed our experience at the Ape Cafe. Their baked goodies are a must try, especially that dynamite Maalu Paan.
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