Kopi Kade serves excellent coffee and modern Sri Lankan cuisine. This sounds simple, but it's not.
As a casual coffee drinker you can simply taste the result of that obsession by ordering a plain espresso (Rs. 450). I usually have whatever blend the owner recommends but there are a variety of beans to sniff and choose from, including single origin. Regardless, what you'll get is rewarding, challenging, complex and possibly the best coffee in Colombo.
To be honest, I lack the vocabulary to describe coffee well, but this stuff definitely gives me brain tingles where words should be. Better coffee tasters than me swear by this place and I swear, you can taste the obsession without fully understanding it.
Going that extra little bit to modernize and refine a cuisine means taking stuff out (smaller plates) and adding expense (higher prices). When you do this Sri Lankans tend to freak out ("Where is the rice?" "I can get a cutlet for 20 Rupees!"), but please don't freak out.
Just try understand that they serve small plates with a high attention to detail. This is not a place to stuff yourselves, but - like the coffee - there's a lot of sophistication behind a few simple dishes.
For example, the Chicken Wings (Rs. 600). A simple dish, but here they are char-grilled just to the edge of bitter-burnt and then softly brought back with a sweet spiced mayonaisse. Meanwhile the meat is well-seasoned, flavorful and soft.
Or, to get ahead of ourselves, the Salted Kithul Ice Cream (Rs. 250). Perhaps you've heard of salted caramel - this is the distinctly Sri Lankan take on it and, dare I say, it's better. Especially when you put the crumble in the background on top.
Then of course there are the Sliders (Rs. 150-350). 'Why is my burger so small?' you might ask. But taste the burger.
The Prawn Slider (Rs. 350) is a mix of textures and spices that packs a lot of different flavor into a small package. It is not filling, but it is full.
Anyways, what I've been trying to say is that the portions are small by Sri Lankan standards, but Sri Lankan standards are insane. No you will not get a mound of rice as big as your head here. Actually you will not get rice at all. You will get some tasty small plates that leave you entertained and satisfied, and they're priced fairly for the thought that's gone into them.
Kopi Kade is on Stratford Avenue, across from Gandhara. It's close to Nugegoda, Kohuwala and Colombo 5. The street itself was more walkable before they made it one way, but it still has a high concentration of cool places. There is, however, limited parking.
The ambience inside is open and very modern - all wood and steel. The furniture all looks custom made and it's simple and stylish.
Every time I visit, the owner Nim is there, which is a good thing. Though perhaps not for his personal life. What this means is that someone basically takes ownership and this attitude carries down to the staff. From the grinding of the coffee to serving it to you, the people here care.
In case you can't tell, I really like this place. I am a bit jaded after years in the restaurant reviewing thing, but Kopi Kade is a place I go to relax. I like the idea of small plates, I love the furniture and design, and I really appreciate good coffee.
I would say go to Kopi Kade for the coffee alone, stay for the fresh and modern take on Sri Lankan food, and don't leave because of the interior design.
Perhaps the best coffee in Colombo and the most modern Sri Lankan cuisine.
Superb food in tiny portions, so you keep wanting more. Dammit!
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