One Galle Face is pretty much Colombo's largest gathering of restaurants and while we've been pretty happy with almost every one we've been to, Chola was one of the places that we knew that it would be good even before going there.
Chola's main counterpart is found in the heart of Wellawatte, but they have a new place in the Fifth Floor of One Galle Face.
With a view of the outside, the ambience at Chola is quite nice. With plenty of comfortable seats and generally clean space, we really had nothing to complain about. However, we do suggest going at a time before people start coming in because once they do, there's a steady flow of them and things can get pretty loud.
The menu at Chola isn't very big. Don't get us wrong, they still have a list of food enough to get your head spinning, but just not long enough for you to make you go insane -like in most other Indian places. That being said though, given how it was just me and Bilaal dining that day, we decided on getting our staples: Biriyani and naan with some kind of curry dish to top it all off.
The Mutton Biriyani (Rs. 1,150) came as a medium-sized brass pott almost overflowing with fluffy spiced up rice and meat.
While the portion size is brilliant, the biriyani itself wasn't as great as we thought it would be. While the rice did have adequate amounts of spice infused to it, the whole thing tasted rather bland when you look at it overall.
We managed to scrape it clean thanks to the raita and the gravy, but as a whole, the rice didn't have that kick you look for in a really good biriyani. Sigh.
The mutton that you can't see because of how hidden they are, came in bountiful numbers and were as soft as a peach. Adequately spiced and fall off the bone soft, we loved this particular aspect of the dish.
The best part about our experience at Chola had got to be the Chicken Butter Masala and Naan combo.
Creamy, tangy with just the right amount of sweetness infused to it, the Chicken Butter Masala (Rs. 1,025) came as an adequately sized portion of well-cooked chicken. Packed with flavour, this was utterly brilliant. Maybe it was the fact that I hadn't even in a while or we don't know, all we know is that this was beautiful.
The Cheese and Chilli Naan (Rs. 375) came as a giant naan cut into 2 with bits of cheese and chilli visibly making itself known to us. Served steaming hot, the roti had bits of charcoal decorating its sides and combined with the flecks of cheese and the almost non-existent green Chilli, we still liked it. It paired beautifully well with the Chicken Butter Masala. However, the Onion Parata x Chicken Butter Masala was practically a match made in heaven.
The Parata wasn't like the normal Parata you get everywhere. Almost caramel coloured and having bits of caramalised onion embedded into it, this was brilliant; even better than the Chilli Cheese Naan. With a hint of sweetness coming through from the onion and a lovely softness coming in from the naan, this goes insanely well with the Chicken Butter Masala.
The Lemon Iced Tea (Rs. 350) came as a tall glass with limey iced tea. With enough lime to kick things up a notch and far little sugar to make it a "sweet" drink, we weren't impressed. Especially when you compare it with the likes of the Peach Iced tea at Rocco's that came to around the same amount.
The Badham Milkshake (Rs. 500) on the other hand was brilliant. I didn't necessarily want to get this because I assumed that it would be too bland or something along those lines. But, we were pleasantly surprised by this one. With bits of almond blended into the shake, it was a light, yet satisfying experience.
The staff prove to be quite good. Welcoming from the very start right to the end and even warning us when he thought that it would be too much food for us and even bringing the food within 10 minutes of placing our order (in one giant storm of food and drink), the staff at Chola were lovely.
We really liked our experience at Chola- One Galle Face. Everything from the food to the service was fantastic and while the prices are a tad bit on the steeper side of things, it's worth it.