An impeccable Relais & Chateaux resort balanced on Weligama Bay's cliffs, Cape Weligama is probably one of the island's top luxury hotels. With a spot on Conde Nast's World Top 10 Infinity Pools and Beachside Hot List, it's secured its position as a must-visit luxe escape since 2014.
While we can only hope we'll get an invite to review this stunning property (the 40 villas range from about 500 USD upwards per night), we settled for a meal instead. We stopped by for a languid, lazy, lunch featuring delicious food and ice cold bubbly. It's definitely advisable that you call ahead and inform them of your arrival if you're not an in-house guest.
The resort, designed by Thai architect Lek Bunnag, is basically a collection of villas perched along the cliffs. We had to walk along for quite a bit from the unassuming reception to the main dining area. It was titled de Mauny, as each villa/building is named after a famous traveller that made it to Lanka (Samuel Baker, King Vijaya, Ibn Batuta).
The vibrant, deep blues of the main restaurant are accented by the light wood textures of the furniture and bright orange of the table linen. You're not really absorbing much in terms of interior or decor here, as your view is just a sprawling expanse of sea and sky.
We retired to the Smiling Moon Pool after lunch in order to get a bit of a rest and finish off our bottle, and they were nice enough to let us. The view there is absolutely stunning (and the chic pool didn't help either). We were tempted to have a little dip but pool usage was restricted to in-house guests.
Service and waitstaff were overall unimpeachable, as you'd expect from a 5 star resort. We sometimes had to wait about for a few minutes for someone to waft by, by it was such a long and lazy lunch experience that we didn't quite mind. Water and champagne glasses were always kept filled, orders came out in 15 minutes or less. Seamless.
The menu isn't extensive at all. You're looking at a few dishes, selectively curated, and not wildly inventive (at least on paper). With Peter Kuruvita as one of their culinary advisors, our expectations were high. Settling in for a slow lunch on a hot Sunday, we ordered a bottle of Besserat de Bellefon Brut (well marked up at $ 117 or Rs. 16,966), and got sipping. We skipped the starters and went straight for the mains - a Fettuccine Carbonara and the day's catch, Koduwa.
At $ 12 or Rs. 1739, the fettuccine's price was on par with pretty much any high-end Colombo restaurant. Served al dente with a delicate sprinkling of parmiggiano, the serving was hefty and the carbonara sauce perfectly tossed and cooked (no scrambled nonsense here). The meat was however bits of bacon as opposed to guanciale or pancetta, which was a slight disappointment given CW's culinary reputation for high quality sourcing and prep.
The special koduwa ($ 14 or Rs. 2030) was basically a couple of fillets of saltwater modha (lates lakdiva if you're enthusiastic about endemic marine life) with a solid side of salad. The salad featured fresh, zesty ingredients like cucumber, apple, and lemongrass gently doused in vinaigrette. There was also a fair amount of steamed broccoli as garnish, most of which I tried to ignore.
The fish itself was simple, and perfect. Ever so lightly grilled modha fell away softly under a single prod, and the flavours of the Thai red-curry infused sauce were compelling. It seemed like a small portion at first glance, but by the end of the meal I was flagging.
We took a tiny break, sipped on some bubbly and the sea-salted view, and then plunged into dessert.
The Flourless Chocolate Cake ($ 7 or Rs. 993) came topped with a sorbet-esque blob of ice cream (raspberry?), and plated with what I think was passionfruit caramel reduction. Undeniably delicious, and left me seriously wondering how to re-create that reduction.
We also opted for the Tiramisu, which at $ 8 or Rs. 1160 was a bit steep. Plated beautifully, the dish came with asymmetric white chocolate shavings and a deep, rich coffee flavour. The tastes at play here were a lot more subtle than that of the chocolate cake, boasting quality ingredients and attention to detail.
Overall, we spent a decadent couple of hours in swish surroundings, perfect weather, and indulging in carefully executed cuisine. Barring the drinks, our bill would have come to about Rs. 9,000 for two including taxes. Not cheap by any standard, but well worth soaking in the luxury.