Clique's Supper Club is one of the best restaurants in Colombo, full stop. Overall we think the prices are fair, the service is amazing and the food is really really good. Quite possibly the best steak in the city, among other things.
We must apologize for not reviewing this place for so long. It's dope.
Clique is what we'd call a dining experience. Everything is thought out, from the moment you get in the door to the menu to what you eat to how the evening ends.
One reason we didn't cover the Supper Club for so long is that it's attached to a Lounge/Nightclub next door. The idea of eating in a nightclub is unappealing, but we were wrong about that. The Supper Club is completely separate from the Lounge and time-wise, also, it's just a restaurant during the evening. We went on a Friday evening and it didn't feel clubby at all. If you're making a night of it it's actually not bad to slip into the lounge around midnight, but if you're just going for dinner it doesn't seem to impact your experience at all. It's not noisy or anything.
The fifth floor of this office building is actually a weird space, but they've done it up pretty nicely. As the very top floor it feels a bit like an attic but they've made the pillars and ceiling a feature rather than an impediment. It honestly does feel a bit cramped sometimes (especially the somewhat poky bathrooms) but it's still more space than you'd get in similar urban restaurants.
If you get a seat by the window you get a beautiful view of Town Hall.
All that really matters in the end, however, is the square foot in front of your face. Clique's menu is creative and ambitious (ranging from sushi to sous vide steak) and they hit the mark. The food is creative, intelligent and tasty above all. Their steak, in particular is the best I've ever had in Sri Lanka. A perfectly cooked, melting in your mouth steak is an almost mythological creature on this island, but they've got it. But we'll get to that.
For starters we had a California Temaki (Rs. 800). This was crab stick (which isn't actually crab but rather processed fish, I think) in a roll. That seemed good enough but my wife ate it before I could really review it, sorry.
What I can comment on is the Japanese Miso salad with grilled eggplant (Rs. 400). Very interesting dish. I would basically describe this as umami on a plate. Umami is the newest-named of the five basic tastes, corresponding roughly to 'savory'. You get it from MSG, soy sauce, miso, etc. In this case the miso gives the eggplant a rich, meaty taste. It's delicious. It's served on top of an over-generous amount of greens. You mix it up and you're eating veggies but it feels as savory as meat. Really interesting food.
Before the steak, we'll cover the other main we tried - buttermilk fried chicken (Rs. 900). The highlights here were how tasty and tender the chicken was, and the insane spiciness of the dipping sauce. The chicken on its own was fine, but the tangy and punchy sauce lifts it to another level. The price is also super-cheap for what you're getting. While you can certainly ball-out at Clique, we were surprised to find a lot of good stuff below Rs. 1,000.
Now the steak. Damn. Clique is the only place we know of that does sous-vide cooking. This modern technique involves sealing food in plastic, immersing it in a temperature controlled bath (ie hot water) and then basically setting a timer and waiting. This method cooks food perfectly and reliably and it seals all the juices in - nothing is burnt off or evaporated. For steak it takes 40 minutes, but the results are amazing.
We tried the tenderloin (Rs. 3,500) and wow. Soft, tender and melting in your mouth. This is Matrix level steak. We assume this is partly because the protein is imported, but also because of the way they cook it. They can grill it also, but we'd say this is worth the wait.
Their desserts are also quite creative. The cream brulee (Rs. 550) is a bit different (served cool, not so burnt on top, more vertical) but the changes work. It's delicious and custardy.
Their reconstruction of a New York cheesecake (Rs. 550) was less of an improvement. It was good but the crust on top was hard to the point of being difficult to break up without flipping the thing over. Taste-wise the flavors were there, but not quite as good as a regular cheesecake, IMHO.
Beverage wise, their espresso is excellent and wines are reasonably priced (Rs 650 for a house red). Cocktails are also average (cost-wise), Rs. 650 for a Bloody Mary. You can get bottles of wine for Rs. 3,000 here, but they also have champagnes for Rs. 50,000.
Our impression of Clique was that it would be prohibitively expensive, but we were wrong about that too. We spent Rs. 9,000 total (Rs. 4,500 a head) but their menu is structured in such a way that you could spend Rs. 2,000 each and still have a good time. The menu items that are less than Rs. 1,000 are not inferior, they just seem to have lesser ingredient prices.
We do, however, recommend this place for special occasions. Things like good steak are worth paying for, and why not get a bottle of wine. As you'll see in the next section, the service does go out of their way to make it an experience.
Just have a look at the picture above. There are five visible staff, two of them managers, none of them deadwood. When a waiter didn't know what something was, he didn't have to find a manager - the manager was already there. When my wife couldn't decide if she wanted an espresso they just gave the coffee for free.
The staff here actually knows what a good dining experience is and they're monitoring the room to make sure that everyone is having one. They're not just serving food here, they're actually serving fun. This is common in, say, New York, but Clique is one of a few Sri Lankan restaurants which tackles service at this level.
As mentioned, you'd never need to ask for a manager here. You're greeted at the door by one (or at least we think he was a manager) and the same guy escorts you out. Nobody is hovering over you stupidly here, but they're there when you need them.
For a special night out, Clique is a winner. It's not unfairly priced and you're getting great value in terms of food quality, creativity and service. Colombo needs more places showcasing local creativity at an international level. Clique represents.
Clique is on the top floor of the Union Chemists building on Union Place (next to Dialog HQ, across from Salaka). To park you need to head up Union Place from the Hyde Park junction. Turn it at the Baskin Robbins and you can park behind. It's on the 5th floor.
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