When you say 'Sri Lankan/Chinese fusion' I almost always roll my eyes. Not because it's been overdone to the point where it's a separte category of cuisine in itself, but mostly because it's either very easy to be boring, or go wrong with the combo entirely.
While there is really no such thing as 'authentic Sri Lankan-Chinese cuisine' there is, however, a particular range of recipes that can be mixed and executed well with minimal effort. We think Chopsticks has that bit figured out simply because they're always consistent. We reviewed this place a year ago and heard that they'd changed their menu since, so we dropped by again. Our experience was great but had its drawbacks. Read on to find out more about a karaoke bar infiltrated with middle-aged men, photographs of stars from old-Hollywood, a particularly fishy dish and then some.
For this review, we chose to focus on a few old favourites and try our hand at their Western menu as well. Like I stated above, they're great at executing Sri Lankan-Chinese cuisine, but the Western stuff? Let's see. The Egg Soup is a jumbo-sized bowl filled to the brim with a simple concoction of silken egg white and vegetable stock. There's corn flour in it, but they've hidden it well.
This is a simple slightly boring dish perhaps, but it's an immediate way of boosting your serotonin if you've been experiencing the gloom. It's piping hot, well seasoned and an incredibly comforting starter. Or even on its own. Costs only Rs. 350. We got a Cheese Omelette (Rs. 600) because it sounded promising. We really don't know what we were supposed to expect, but what we received was a literal cheese omelette in every sense of the word.
They must've used about 4 eggs to make this because it was huge. It also comes with a whole lot of onions, chilli, garlic and other green stuff like spring onion pieces. It's folded in half like a calzone, so all the cheese is on the inside. They've clearly used supermarket cheese of course. All in all, this is probably some obscure item that nobody orders, but if I must say: don't buy a Cheese Omelette for Rs. 600 anywhere.
Now their Western menu has a whopping three pages' worth of dishes from steak, to cordon bleu, to seafood platters and so on. We had to order something that'd encapsulate the whole thing for some sort of reference, so we settled on the Mini Steak Medley. This cost us Rs. 1,300 and was served with 'a creamy pepper sauce, grilled potatoes, and seasonal vegetables.'
The meats included here are a cut of beef, pork, and chicken respectively. Each meat was seasoned the same as the other and cooked using basic methods. Nothing quite stood out, but they managed to nail the beef with a beautiful pink centre. Each meat was tender and still sweating juice, so there's that. Plus the wedges and veggies weren't bad, they're nice to turn to once you realise you're a protein junkie and need some sort of viridian salvation. Idk.
Their fried rice is always evergreen where quality is concerned. We usually opt for the egg fried rice sop we get to balance it out with our side dishes. A portion here goes for Rs. 440. It's a massive dish, enough for four if you serve it out properly.
What it includes is essentially well-cooked basmati rice mixed with the classic carrot+leeks+egg+spring onion alliance. It's a simple set of ingredients, but it's a great base for your main dish. A side of Hot Buttered Mushrooms was ordered to go along with the fried rice. It's the same Chopsticks-style Hot Buttered Mushrooms we've all come to know and love. You get an abundant pile of steaming, batter-fried oyster mushrooms. They're tossed in a medley of capsicums, onions, green chilli, and chilli flakes.
Although this vegetarian counterpart of its more well-known version: HBC isn't as sought after- it's still bloody brilliant.
This dish here was the only downside to our merry outing. It's a portion of the Sweet & Sour Fish (Rs. 600). From the minute I laid eyes on it I started drooling uncontrollably. This was mainly due to the thought of a fish and pineapple party in my mouth, but also because of how good it looked. It comes with a lot of gravy, about 15 pieces of fish- all batter fried, carrot and pineapple slices, as well as a lotta spring onion.
Unfortunately, it lounged beside us in its deceptively delicious demeanor, for upon first bite it pretty much reeked of a dead swamp. A dead SWAMP, ladies, and gentlemen. I had to sniff at it like a loon to make sure I wasn't having a stroke or something. It smelled so vile, like the corpse of some unholy sea-monster had been cut up and now decided to exact its revenge via aromatic suffering. Oy vey.
We sent it back, of course. But by that time they were closing up, so we had to sadly bid this one farewell.
They have a whole bar upstairs where many groups of middle-aged men gather to rumble drunk verses with great melancholy in some garbled tribute to karaoke. Or maybe this is how karaoke is supposed to be done. Smoke, neon lyrics that disappear a bit too fast and a hundred or so uncles heaving for breath.
We decided to split a bottle of (bad) Ryder's Wild Apple Cider outside and enjoy a quiet chat instead.
The service here has always been efficient, and this time it wasn't any different. Our waiter took our orders down and within 15 minutes, deftly brought our dishes to the table. Water is provided on request, so tell 'em if you want it to keep coming.
Until this particular night, we've never managed to get a good photograph of their interior. At first glance, it's incredibly...mundane with dim lighting and wooden furniture everywhere. But if you look closely, you'll find a whole load of posters of old-Ho9llywood stars including (but not limited to): Elvis Presley, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, various posters of the Beatles; and so on.
So our recent trip to Chopsticks wasn't as bombastic as our last. I've rated them a solid 3 in this review, but not for negativity's sake. It's a neutral spot that occasionally slips up here and there, so go at your own discretion. The biggest plus point here, like I stated in my last review of the spot, is that you can go in your PJs and nobody will bat an eye. Because they're all looking at you in silent agony from their black and white picture frames while you choose to feast on fried rice and really good hot buttered mushrooms, ayyyy.
Chopsticks is a ritual escape for those of us who like to dine on some easily affordable and delicious Sino-Lankan cuisine.
Chopsticks is a quiet, almost invisible restaurant at Nawala. We like the place.
Chopsticks is a down to earth joint in Nawala serving a vast menu of cheerfully Sri Lankanised Chinese food. Fried rice, devilled chicken, black bean pork and so on - the Sino-Lankan side of the menu is huge, and most of what we devoured was incredibly satisfying
සිංහල ටැක්ස්, සර්විස් චාර්ජ් සේරම එක්ක එද්දී රු.2169ක මුදලක් අපට මේ කෑම බීම ටිකට වැය වුණා. හැබැයි ඉතින් ඔය ගාණට ඉස්මුරුත්තාවට එනකන් කන්න ලැබුණු එක ම මදැයි.
සිංහල චොප්ස්ටික් මේ භෝජන කලාවට උපරිම ආස්වාදය එක් කරලා. ඔවුන්ගේ ආහාර සරළයි, අව්යාජයි, හොඳයි. ශ්රී ලාංකික චීන භෝජන කලාව තුළ කොයි තරම් ආහාර වර්ග හැදුණත්, හොඳ ෆ්රයිඩ් රයිස් එකක් සොයාගැනීම ලෙහෙසි නැහැ. ඒත්, චොප්ස්ටික්ස් ඔබට පිරිනමනවා, හොඳ ෆ්රයිඩ් රයිස් (රු. 280ට) හා චිලි චිකන් (රු. 400).
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