So quirky Kottu is a permanent Colombo fixture now. Literally, because the Kottuville truck has dropped its wheels and set up its first permanent shop in a convertainer adjoining the Union Place Keells Super. Open from lunch till about 10:30 PM, the shop doesn’t have any seating space (as yet) but you can stand about and eat at the counter if you’re really determined to not get take away.
Menu & Prices
Their menu is succinct and to the point, kottu options and a couple of drinks – orange juice or a milo shake at Rs. 150. They also do some dessert rotis, chocolate or chocolate and mint with marshmallows. Their normal kottu options are standard chicken kottu at Rs. 250, and hot butter cuttlefish, crispy chicken and paneer all at Rs. 350. Brockwurst kottu is at Rs. 300 and the garlic mustard prawn is at Rs. 400. They have a couple of other non-kottu choices, crispy chilli chicken rice at Rs. 250, chicken and cheese wrap at Rs. 300 and a sausage & egg wrap at Rs. 200.
For the quantity/quality, the price is well worth it. Also helps that it’s all made in front of you so the hygiene factor is exponentially higher than any of the Pilawoos and Pilawoos offshoots (presumably).
However, cheese is an add-on at Rs. 100 which I grumbled about because it’s a pretty widespread belief that cheese is a birthright of any proud kottu-devouring being.
Following The Flavour
We had three kottus in order to widen the sample pool for the sake of science. The crispy chicken kottu was almost KFC-esque in its batter, and was enhanced greatly by the oodles of molten cheese embedded in it. The curry that came with it spiced it up a bit and added a bit more flavour. The HBC kottu didn’t look like HBC at all but bordered in both visual and taste on a chilli-szechuan sort of thing. It was quite good and nice and spicy, but definitely not HBC. Maybe we got an over-fried batch, I’m not sure. The curry that came with it was slightly sweetish and tempered the spice well.
The third was my clear favourite, the garlic mustard prawn kottu. It was also the most expensive one on the menu at Rs. 400, and although they carefully rationed out exactly seven prawns (maybe they’re religious Westerosis?) it was totally worth it. The flavour was layered and the prawns succulent and well seasoned. The curry that came with it spiced things up a bit too and could be added as per your taste and discretion.
Ambience & Service
This is essentially a food truck without wheels, or a convertainer, so expecting ambience would be a little silly. They have done their best by setting up some slick music and using interesting black forks and straws though. I was a little disappointed they didn’t have the fun Chinese takeout boxes from their launch and served in regifoam boxes instead, but they said the boxes would be back in action soon.
The real staff was silently and efficiently lurking in the background, getting our order ready, while the chaps running the show made friendly conversation and recommended dishes. It has a comfortable, street food vibe we liked quite a bit. Hopefully they manage to set up a bit of seating soon.
Kottu is one of those things that’s good even when it’s bad. I’m sure if these chaps had a truck that trawled the nightclub circuit from midnight to dawn, they’d make enough money in a fortnight to buy one of those rock islands off the Bentota coast. Luckily this place is yum not just by default. You’ll get your takeout quick, with a smile and great flavour.
Try the garlic mustard prawn kottu. Insist they liberally slather cheese on everything (except the ice milo).