Black Pepper is the Dutch Hospital's second crab-centric restaurant after Ministry of Crab. It's equally expensive, but with none of the clientele.
We started off with a classic favourite, a Hot Butter Cuttlefish at a standard Rs. 780. Crispy, well-spiced, and ultimately chewy, this was a dish that had great flavour but was definitely re-fried and not freshly made. I also left a tablespoon for scale so it's clear how small the starter portion was!
You can't go to a crab spot and not eat crab, so we opted for our beloved- the Jaffna Crab Curry. We went for the cheapest option on the list, and the smallest option of crab, but this still cost us Rs. 4200 (we got 500 grams at about Rs. 600 per 100 grams). Both the crab and the curry were cooked well, and we enjoyed the delicious fresh catch. However, despite the presence of murunga leaves, the curry was a lot more insipid than the Jaffna crab curry we're used to. We actually had to add on salt ourselves.
This curry is enough for 2 people but doesn't come with any add-ons, unlike the JCC at Off the Hook. So in order to complete our meal, we had to order portions of Garlic Rice (Rs. 360) and Stir Fried Mixed Vegetables (Rs. 560). Both were prepared fine, but were woefully tiny portions. The vegetables were barely about 3 spoonfuls.
For our drinks, we went for quintessential hot afternoon beverages; a cold Lion Lager (Rs. 270) and a Classic Mojito (Rs. 850). The mojito was executed well, with lots of rum, lime, and ice - nothing to complain about.
These two factors go hand in hand here, as our service was great because we were the only customers there in the duration of our almost 1.5 hour meal, at peak Saturday lunch time. We had the full attention of our waiter, which was great. However, he held a live crab while taking our entire order and making recommendations which was a bit unnerving.
The ambience is quite nice and upscale, with a black and white colour theme, a standing wine rack, and lots of natural light. However, the stark emptiness of the place was additionally eerie, especially since it was a crowded Dutch Hospital weekend.
The food is quite alright, but not at those quantities or the money you're shelling out. Just the taxes themselves came upto Rs. 2040, which was horrifying. Overall, a casual seafood meal for 2 at over Rs. 9000 just doesn't cut it in our book.
The Dutch Hospital's second crab-centric restaurant.
සිංහල අතේ ටිකක් සල්ලි ගැවසෙන වෙලාවක, හොඳ සීෆුඩ් කෑමක රස බලන්න ඕනේ නම්, බ්ලැක් පෙපර් එක ඒකට නියම තැනක්. ලංකාවේ ප්රදේශවලට විශේෂිත කෑම වර්ගත් තියෙන නිසා, මේක අලුත් අත්දැකීමකුත් වේවි.