65/B R G Senanayake Mawatha, Colombo 00700
Epicure has great service and ambience, well in line with their market bracket. But the food falls short of what you would ideally expect. Still, it´s early days for this restaurant and we´re looking forward to seeing how their new chef finds his feet in the months to come.
Epicure serves “Modern European” cuisine. They don’t have a liquor license yet, so if you want wine with that food you can BYOB. The food is not amazing and ultimately I wouldn’t have really paid what I paid for it if I wasn’t doing a review.
We sat down for a starter of charcoal grilled focaccia bread, with a spread of calamata olives, blended with anchovies. Focaccia is a tricky bread to make, it’s got to be airy and fluffy, and what we got felt like it had been grilled from leftovers from the morning. Still very nice, but it could have been nicer.
Next was an appetizer of pan-seared Hokkaido Scallops (Rs. 1800). It came with chips and pomegranate. The former added a spicy aftertaste and the latter, added texture. The parsnip purée gave a slight tanginess which complemented the excellent scallops really well.
The Tacos (Rs. 1800) were boring. The veggies felt like that they were a bit overdone. The lobster was a little hard and cold instead of soft and fleshy. The mango in it also tasted like it would have tasted better yesterday.
We ordered three mains. The Seared Duck (Rs. 3000) was the first. The meat had a nice crispy coating which retained flavor, but the flesh itself could have been less bland. The duck sauce. Get the duck sauce. It’s like date sauce, sweet and sticky. The sauce brings some flavor to an otherwise unexciting dish. A radish and potato purée was on hand to add texture.
The Cauliflower and Pickled Raisin (Rs. 1100) had a crispy texture and featured cauliflower made in three different ways, each brought its contribution of texture and flavor and the end result was very good.
The medium rare Steak Au Poivre (Rs. 4300) was cooked very well. But again lacked flavor. The meat was simply seasoned with salt and pepper and there was pepper sauce which was still good, but felt like a bit of a cop-out because that was the only thing giving the meat any flavor.
As you may have noticed, the pricing is predictably more Kurunduwatte than Aluthkadey, but the bang for the buck is way off.
The coffee wasn’t the best, the espresso was good but the latte was really watery. Also, it puzzlingly came in a wine glass placed on a teacup saucer.
We picked the Raspberry Soufflé and were happy with it. The hot soufflé blended well with the cold strawberry ice cream on our palettes.
One thing Epicure does really well and consistently is its service. The staff is well informed and knowledgeable and capable of giving you useful tips and recommendations. At the end of the meal, the bill came to us inside a little transparent tube. It was a little difficult to read so we had to take it out. The entire spectacle seemed rather unnecessarily mystifying.
The lighting is a little dark for my taste but that could be a matter of preference. The location is really nice, and I particularly like the open plan design spilling into the green lawn. The space is well designed and is perfect for couples as well as bigger groups to have a satisfying night even on crowded days. Their cutlery game is paerticularly on point. Everything in the ambience feels like it should feel for this market bracket.
Having just opened, Epicure still seems to have a few things to get right. Aside from the scallops, none of the other food really blew our minds, and what we tasted as a whole lacked creativity. Which falls short of what you’d reasonably expect for paying as much as this. Our bill topped 15,000 rupees and we didn't feel like we'd gotten our money's worth by a long shot.
The restaurant is still streamlining its operations though, and new sections are about to open. They have also just got a new chef. So we’re giving this a first look and hopefully will be back later to see how they’re doing, trusting in their potential.