Since the only proper food courts we've had in the city have been at Crescat, Excel World, Odel and Majestic City - it's with great relief that we welcome the new one at the brand spanking new Arcade Independence Square
. We think the atmosphere especially and the food here is a little notch above that of your average Colombo food court.
The food court is on the ground floor right at the beginning of the Auditor General's Department building (the same building that's got Burger King in it). Once you park your vehicle inside the premises you'll notice an area where there's loads of black and white cane seating - the food court is right next to it.
The clincher about this food court is the awesome space you get to chill at - no more cramped tables and chairs in poorly ventilated, noisy rooms. There are wooden benches indoors, opposite the food stalls, if you just want to sit and slurp up an ice cream cone or eat a bun, or else for a meal with friends you can head on to the outer space - either right outside the court, or at the fountains, or at the other end of the premises. There are also dustbins and glass sinks outside the food court.
They've got Paan Paan
and Sen Saal
for your pastries, buns and eclairs (pasta at Sen Saal too), Krishna
for vegetarian food (and eggless biscuit pudding), Lemongrass
for biriyani and amazing Thai food, Tropical Juice Bar
for freshly blended fruity drinks, and Elephant House
for ice cream cravings. The selection is small but good - definitely a great place to hang out for lunch or an evening snack.
We highly recommend Lemongrass's Thai fried rice (Rs. 380). It was a good 9 out of 10 by food court standards.
Savouries are always dubious no matter where you go - if you're lucky, the bun will be fresh, if you're not, it'll be more than a day old and you're going to have indigestion. It's basically like gambling, except with patties instead of casino chips. We got the chicken bun from Sen Saal (Rs. 65) and Paan Paan's tuna pattie (Rs. 60) - they were okay.
The chocolate biscuit pudding from Krishna (Rs. 150) was alright but extremely sweet - if you can handle sweet tooth then go for it (the search for the perfect chocolate biscuit pudding continues!). Paan Paan's chocolate chip muffin (Rs. 100) isn't worth it, it was a bit dry and dissatisfying, but that's expected when you buy muffins from a glass case. Their eclairs (Rs. 75) however are very tasty and sugary, oozing with chocolate cream - but again, only for those willing to risk diabetes.
We got a mango lassi from Tropical Juice Bar (Rs. 300) and it was tasty and a good way to down it all, because you can't really go wrong with fresh fruit. We prefer these guys to the typical food court juice joint Roots. The hakuru mix from Elephant House (Rs. 180) was awesome! Hakuru for the win.
We love the Arcade food court, mostly because of the atmosphere. The green trees, clean pavement and chic furniture does most of the work. The food is alright and shape-eke affordable (it was Rs. 1000 for all the stuff we gluttonously demolished, but for average bellies you'll spend half that much). Be cautious about the pastries, and go for the ice cream, fruit juices and the Thai rice.
Try to catch a table outside closest to the building walls, for shade.