KIKU is Colombo's newest hotspot. People have been RAVING for days on end about this place before it was even open for business. Since they first started out, they've managed to swiftly garner an enormous follower base. Over a span of like, three months, their fan base has grown so much so that the place is ALWAYS crowded which is a bit annoying- but always a very good sign.
KIKU offers a completely new experience with their carefully curated menu and ambience, having paid attention to detail to the slightest of things; from shadow-play to piquant, picturesque dishes. If you're going, make sure your camera/phone is fully charged.
KIKU, which means 'chrysanthemum', started off in collaboration with Shirohana- with the goal to promote the florticulture industry in Sri Lanka. New Age Japanese cuisine plays the starring role here with flowers holding a huge part in their overall aesthetic.
They plan to host workshops and talks at the space to raise awareness pertaining to issues such as sustainable horticulture and plant-based knowledge. So if you're a big green-head, stay tuned.
You walk up a flight of stairs and on your right is the entrance to the cafe. A very strong cloud of incense lingers in the air and the faint strum of music emanates from the inside.
The interior is full of pastels, potted plants and is easily the prettiest out of any cafe in Colombo. It's a Feng Shui-ed haven and all furniture/decor is juxtaposed in such a way that the light is fully utilised to display shadow-aesthetics. I don't know if that sentence made any sense, but if you visit, you will see. Their furniture is 100% home-grown, being designed and made in Sri Lanka.
If you take a film camera with you, you can pretty much go crazy over the aesthetics of this place. It's the classic example of how less is more, debunking the generic Colombo Cafe theme where everything is usually stuffy, wooden and noisy.
Initially, we wanted to try a few of their Garden Sodas, but their lattes and coffee demanded our attention first. Big shout-out to their fruit-infused table water: highly refreshing and great to sip on.
We got the Beetroot Latte (Rs.500), a Charcoal Latte (Rs. 550) and a classic Cappuccino (Rs. 450). Okay, straight off the bat lemme tell you that their Lattes are just milk-based drinks with flavour and colour in them. Sounds a bit weird, but let me explain.
Their Charcoal Latte is just about the prettiest cup of milk you'll find, and it comes infused and decorated with charcoal. So it tastes like delicious warm milk, with a mildly bitter, charcoal undertone.
The Beetroot Latte is a lovely pink, and bears a heavy beetroot presence. When I asked, they mentioned that they use natural beetroot powder for the colour and flavour, so none of this is artificial. Both lattes come with a light layer of foamed milk on top, latte art for photo points, and a little garnish of dried flower petals for EXTRA aesthetic value. Nice.
The Cappuccino was straightforward- no nonsense, and satisfactory. They've got an in-house blend: Temple Grounds that you can purchase for Rs. 900. The cappuccino's got a delightfully nutty, earthy flavour and is proportioned well in terms of milk, foam and coffee.
Our mains consisted of just a single Teriyaki Chicken Bagel (Rs. 950) because we weren't really looking to dine heavily that afternoon. This was a good decision because the bagel is big enough to feed two people comfortably. The bagel is loaded with pulled teriyaki chicken, cabbage and mayonnaise. I'm pretty sure there are a few other ingredients in there, but nothing noticeable. The chicken is tender and pairs well with the fresh crunch from the cabbage.
The bagel is otherworldly. It's got a wonderfully light, toasted crust and is chewy on the inside. I'm not a fan of Teriyaki, but overall this is a tasty dish.
Word about KIKU's donuts spread like wildfire the minute they were introduced to the market. On the day we went in they weren't serving any doughnuts. SURPRISE. So what else could we do other than cry and mope? Pick their dessert du jour.
They were serving up huge slices of Apple Crumble with Cinnamon Whipped Cream (Rs. 480), so Vishvi and I decided to split a slice. This is the only thing that didn't quite wow, in terms of flavour alone. For one, the crumble on top was perfection with its golden hue, the whipped cream was out of this world, but sadly the apple stuffing was a tad bland for my liking. A little more tart, and it would have been perfect.
They leave no room for error. Water glasses are alays topped up, customers are regularly checked on and the staff are super friendly and social.
Colombo people have a stupid habit of hyping things up for no discernible reason other than the hype itself. Then what happens is, we get our hopes up and this leads to eventual disappointment.
And yet, KIKU caters with their elegantly Japonesque vibe. Totally zen, totally a must-visit. Doughnuts are served on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.