Cioconat Lounge (pronounced: Cho-co-nat - learned this the hard way) is one of the more expensive cafes in the city. Leaning towards more Italian fare, Cioconat plates up some tasty stuff but they certainly miss the 'grandeur of old Rome'. My morning visit left me with mixed feelings; Cioconat offers some tasty, generous fare, but even so it still isn't exactly where it could be.
Cioconat’s menu offers a decent variety of sandwiches, burgers, grilled meats and desserts. To make things even better the morning I visited they had a buffet priced at around Rs.800 . While it looked basic, I reckon the offer to indulge at less than Rs.1000 is a good deal.
The ‘Cioco’ in Cioconat apparently comes from the Italian word for chocolate. Quite aptly one of Cioconat’s signature drinks is their authentic Italian hot chocolate (Rs. 550). They give you the option to enhance the flavour with mint or hazelnut at no extra cost. Even so I went for the orthodox hot-chocolate. At that price the quantity served might alarm you, but I ensure you it is rather filling - Think hot liquid chocolate. The cup is full of good, thick chocolate that is certainly delicious. It’s creamy and dreamy - well worth a try. However, it isn't Rs. 550 worth of downright delicious.
One thing that surprised me was Cioconat’s good portions, and nothing was bigger than their portion of garlic bread and cheese(Rs. 350). The garlic bread, a platter of thick crispy slices slathered with cheese can easily kick start the meals of five diners. The cheese tastes basic, but its rather generous size allows for a tasty dish where the crunchy bread coincides well with the buttery lather of garlic. All in all this was a good first impression.
My conquest continued. At Rs. 650 I took on the rather appetizing chicken ham and cheese sandwich. You can try a variety of bread but I chose Ciabatta. While it won’t surprise you the way Brutus surprised Caesar this sandwich is delectable nevertheless. What is disappointing is its rather large portion of chips and (relatively) small sandwich. I guess this could change with what bread you pick. The sandwich was fresh, had a good few slices of cheese and chicken ham and rendered good support from the evenly seasoned chips. While the tomatoes and cucumber packed a neat punch they didn't overpower the ham- which was fine. The texture of the bread wasn't crunchy, but pleasantly warm. However, I was disappointed by the relatively small sandwich size.
I also tried their Venice (Rs. 400). This is a delightful deal – essentially what I think was ice cream with a bit of hazelnut, chocolate and coffee cake the Venice won’t leave you with the lean body of a legionnaire, but rather the well rounded figure of everybody’s favourite Gaul, Obelix. The light blend of coffee adds a good kick and the cake at the bottom, which adds a neat surprise of texture is light and airy.
Cioconat certainly strives to be one of the better cafés out there. Ambiance-wise it commands a relaxing, if not quiet atmosphere. It borders on the loud – with a variety of coloured sofas and even a tiny chandelier in one room. It still retains a modicum of elegance and is overall okay. They have a neat cosy looking place to sit outside, though on a hot day I wouldn't sight it.
Service was mixed. The staff are certainly are friendly and strive to get things done, but their small number leaves them running to and fro. There were about two during my morning visit coping with roughly fifteen diners all over the largely spacious restaurant. There’s a call button to have them assist you, but they were struggling a bit.
Cioconat Lounge is pretty good. The fact that their prices are inclusive actually makes it somewhat affordable dining. While they serve good quantities of food, their small number of staff members can lead to tight service. Dinner might be a better option assuming they'll have better numbers.
Cioconat has steadily descended down the hill of progress and we're disappointed to report that they're at a stagnant standstill at the moment.
Cioconat offers some tasty, generous fare, but even so it still isn’t exactly where it could be.
We could never quite bring ourselves to explore Cioconat, the coffee shop lurking behind all the unsightly coffee-and-ash cladding on Barnes Place. With a name like Cioconat (?) and a facade that has all the elegance of a Colombo bank, what good could possibly lay behind those glass doors? But we were wrong. Kind of. Cioconat isn't terrible - the eponymous hot chocolate is actually quite amazing, the food is decent, and the space is surprisingly large and comfortable. They even offer shisha.
සිංහල “Cioconat Lounge”; නම නම් උච්චාරණය කරන්න ටිකක් අමාරුයි තමයි. අපට දැනගන්න ලැබුණ විදියට මේක උච්චාරණය වෙන්නේ "චෝ-කෝ-නාට් ලෝන්ජ්" විදියට. ඉතාලි භාෂාවෙන් චොකලට් වලට කියන්නේ "Cioco" කියලනේ. ඉතින් ඒ ආරය අරන් තමයි මෙතනට Cioconat Lounge කියන නම දාලා තියෙන්නේ.
සිංහල මට ඕනෑ වුණා බාන්ස් පෙදෙසේ කෝපි හා අළු පැහැති ආකර්ශනීය නොවන මුහුණතක් ඇති Cioconat බලන්න යන්න. නම අමුතුයි. එහි ඉදිරිපස පෙනුම බැංකුවක වගේ. ප්රිය උපදවන්නේ නැහැ. මේ වීදුරු දොරවල් පිටුපස ඇත්තේ මොන වගේ ලෝකයක්ද යන කුහුලින් යුතුව තමයි මම එහි පිවිසියේ. ඇතුළත් පිටත පෙනුමට සමානයි. ඒත්, Cioconat හොඳ තැනක්. එහි පුදුම හිතෙන තරම් ලොකු හා සුවපහසු අවකාශයක් තිබෙනවා. ඔවුන්ගේ උණු චොකලට් ඉතා රසවත්. කෑමත් හොඳයි. ඔවුහු ශිෂා හෙවත් ගඩුගුඩාත් පිරිනමනවා.