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3/5

Cafè Alfresco

399, Bagatalle Road, Colombo


A café specialising in teas and quick bites. As the name suggests, this is mostly for outdoor dining, so it's not the best choice on a rainy day.



Placed right off Bagatalle Road and shrouded in greenery, Cafè Alfresco is a blink-and-you'll-miss-it establishment specialising in teas and quick bites. The outside is quaint and scenic, with seating for around twenty between five tables, with a few more couches and bar stools inside. The ample greenery gives out a jungle vibe, and provides some welcome shade from the relentless sun.

Food

The egg and cheese burger (Rs. 530) was incredibly messy, and by the time it came out of the kitchen the bottom of the bun was soaked through. I managed to get some pictures just before the burger fell apart, after which I dejectedly scooped bits of cheesy omelette and bread into my gob. The taste of the burger itself was decent, the green chillies in the omelette gave it a nice kick although they could've held back a bit on the sauce. For the price, though, I'd have expected something of higher quality. 

The waffles with ice cream (Rs. 350) - our second choice because they'd run out of strawberries and cream - was quite standard. The waffle itself was quite sweet, and could be eaten plain, but didn't get soggy quickly, and held together quite well even after the ice cream had melted a fair bit. This one's solid comfort food -  thick enough to fill your stomach, but also absorbent enough for your tears.

Drinks

 
Scrolling through some Facebook reviews, I happened to see multiple mentions of a Nutella milkshake (Rs. 690), so naturally, my interest was piqued. In retrospect, I should've de-piqued my interest immediately because this milkshake was the worst. I had to stop after three sips because I'm pretty sure I'd consumed my recommended sugar intake for the entire week. I could just about taste the slightest hint of Nutella, but the rest of it was just straight sugar. Also, Rs. 690 for a milkshake is ridiculous, especially one as mediocre as this was.
Since the café is big on tea, we also ordered a masala chai (Rs. 260), which was probably the highlight of the entire experience. It's served with sugar on the side but is also really great without. The tea was well-balanced, with the perfect ratio of spice to creaminess, and would make the perfect end to any meal or the perfect accompaniment to some warm kimbula bunis.

Service

The service was fairly decent, although if you're on the less assertive side you'd have a hard time getting anywhere. The two men manning the café were quiet and prone to mumbling, and if we didn't initiate anything - from a basic greeting to ordering or seating ourselves - we'd probably be left standing at the door for a good while before they came up. Our food arrived fairly quickly, but when we asked whether we could sit outside (it had stopped drizzling), we had to move the food ourselves. 

Ambience

The risk with a place as small as Alfresco is that, if it's not dry outside, you can only seat a maximum of about 6 people inside. The interior has two tiny cafe tables, so fitting all your food and drink on one table is like a more difficult version of tetris. There's also more at risk - if you get over-enthused spilling some metaphorical tea to a friend, it is quite likely you will spill some literal tea as well. The walls are lined with shelves holding a variety of teas - if you haven't researched the place ahead of time, the decor screams 'WE DO TEA'.

Cafè Alfresco is a decent joint for tea and maybe some dessert, but a meal here for me would be a last resort. In most cases, the prices do not reflect the quality of the food, so it's a tad disheartening to pay so much for food that's average at best. This is primarily a place for a cup of tea, so give in to the subtle hints on every square inch of available wall space, and drink the tea.

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Address

399, Bagatalle Road, Colombo

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Open until 08:00 PM

Dish Types

Burgers Waffles Tea

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