With its loyal patrons constantly flocking through its doors and an almost always full house- KIKU sets rather high standards for all other cafes in town. In this full-length review, we shall see why.
KIKU means Chrysanthemum in Japanese. The cafe derives its unique aesthetic by incorporating modern Japonism in all its elements. You'll find this evident in even the smallest of details, like their glassware.
Another brilliant touch here is all the shadow-play. If you choose to visit during golden-hour or before sunset, you'll notice that the placement of each item within the space has a purpose. The shadows fall on each other to produce intricate, opaque suggestions of their material counterparts.
In our last review, we tried out three of their milk-based drinks; two lattes, and a cappuccino. We were satisfied, so this time we went for the lighter refreshments.
The red-shade on the left, is the Rose and Hibiscus tea which clocks in at Rs. 400 a pot. This stuff happens to be my most favourite drink of all time. It's a rich, and potent liquid that's more wine than tea. Strong, fruity and tart notes seep through delicately making it the best drink to sit back and sip on.
The Lemon Tea (Rs. 300) features slices of actual lemon. The quality is evident in its deep maple shade. A lot of teas turn milky and somewhat light brown in colour when lemon or lime is added, but this one looked like liquid gold. It was tasty as well, but I recommend you stick with the latter.
Their soda jugs are a worthy investment because you'll be getting enough to have three servings per person, if shared amongst two. I refused to budge without finishing it all, so I had to down the whole thing. I'll do it again, too.
Strong notes of passion fruit juice and lime take the lead. Make sure you drink it quick, or it'll get watered down really fast!
They've got a small range of bagels, sandwiches and salads. In this review we'll take a look at their bagel, and the house burger.
The Tamago Bagel (Rs. 950) features a Japanese style Tamago (omelette), a helping of their secret sauce, and lots of shiitake mushrooms. If you're not vegetarian, take it from me when I say you'll enjoy this as much as its meatier counterparts. For one, the tamago is soft and chewy, and works excellently in pair with the chunky shitake mushrooms. The sauce adds a delightful umami boost and makes it an extremely rich and filling affair.
I've heard many reports that the bagel can come off as aggressive in some cases and can be quite tough. This mostly happens when a bagel is boiled for too long. The bagel we got was rather dense, but nothing our teeth couldn't chew through. An iffy batch, perhaps?
Right, now on to the Sasebo Burger. Sasebo is actually a city in Nagasaki so I'm not sure what the relation is. The burger costs Rs, 1,500 and features a poached egg, cheese, and a superb Australian beef patty- all sandwiched in between a brioche bun. The beef cuts like butter, and all the elements come into play once you've sliced through the poached egg and let it drip all over. A rather sensuous affair, if you ask me...
The sauce is rich, heady and almost too heavy. But as with all good things you must plow through. A small side of pickled cucumber slices is present as an instant palate cleanser.
Their menu features a lot of special desserts, but here we focus on their donuts. Donuts are served on Wednesdays and Saturdays. We tried two of their Christmas Specials, but their most famous ones are the Matcha, and Beetroot donuts.
My only qualm here is that the donut base was an extremely deep shade of brown. The rest looked fine, so perhaps this one was a tad faulty. Unfortunately, that didn't stop my gluttonous urges, so I finished it of course. I suggest you pick the donut you want if you're spending Rs. 500 on a confection such as this.
Ahh the Chocolate glazed donut. Doesn't it look spiffy? This one is glazed with a brilliantly heavy chocolate ganache, and is garnished with almonds, sultanas and other nuts of sorts. The base was soft, and chewy, and the chocolate topping was divine.
Service is on point, but the staff can get a bit frazzled when they're busy. So make sure you state your order very clearly. I've also heard that in some instances, staying here for longer periods of time isn't encouraged- but we were told the opposite. So perhaps check before you decide you'd want to set your laptop up here to engage in some quick work.
Our food took 10 - 15 minutes at most.
KIKU probably has the best cafe ambience out of any other establishment in the entire city of Colombo. That's just my opinion, of course. Their superbly curated space offers an experience unlike any other. The soft, pastel hues and tastefully designed furniture add to how well they've made do with a space such as this.
Lots and lots of natural light filters through the loft-like interior, enhancing the ambience so it's a good place for a spot of quick photography. The furniture is sharp and elegant. Plants are placed randomly around the area to introduce a pop of viridian hue amidst all the muted pastel shades.
They usually conduct rooftop yoga classes, so make sure you check their Instagram regularly if you'd like to join. The rooftop is a stark but pretty area that's got a line of cacti manning the corners. Special shoutout to the loo. CMB cafes have their fair share of crazy and kooky loos, like the one that Casa Colombo used to have. KIKU's is relatively simple, but they've gone all out with space by introducing lots and lots of lavender hues, potted plants and calming incense in there. So you may use the facilities in peace, as well.
When they first started, KIKU showed a lot of promise. Now they've carved a niche for themselves with their stark, Japonesque aesthetic. Drop in for some tea and a donut, or for burgers and chitchat.
KIKU is now a cult favorite amongst CMB's eager cafe patrons. We couldn't stay away for too long so here's a re-review of the place since our last visit.
KIKU Colombo has the city RAVING on and on about its ambience, food, general presence and much more. We dropped in to see what all the fuss was about.