Latte Arcade is a new resto in Omega Regency Hotel building located in Wallawatte, replacing Spice & Ice. Even though its the same place, as we were told, they operate under new management.
Their menu promises A LOT - and so does their Facebook page. A whole lunch items like rice and curries, fried rice, biriyani, lamprais, fancy cakes, other desserts, coffee and juices - so imagine our surprise when we heard that most of them were unavailable even during lunchtime on a weekday.
From the options that were available, we chose to get the Seafood Mongolian Rice (Rs. 600), a Watalappan (Rs. 160) for dessert and an EGB to wash everything down as their juices were limited to paper.
We didn’t have to wait for long before a plate full of Mongolian Rice arrived in front of us. By the looks of it, we expected it to taste good but sadly, it was a letdown. Firstly, the rice had a dusty retronasal aroma. It was as if the rice was left in an open dusty place too long before cooking. How it came to be, I don't know.
That dusty aroma wasn’t too strong that you’ll want to spit it out, but it was enough to poke at you and leave you not wanting more of it.
The rice itself was on the oiler side of things but we didn’t mind that as much. We did find more than enough pieces of fried fish (some of them were overcooked - annoyingly charred), along with a few bits of cuttlefish and prawns. They haven't skimped on the veggies - it was plentiful with chunks of onions and thinly sliced carrots, and spring onions.
In hope of salvation, we looked towards the chilli paste and that too was surprisingly lacking flavour but at least packed enough heat. But, sadly, it wasn't enough to save the day.
On the bright side, if there was any at this point, the portion size was enough for two people.
The Watalappan came looking rather pale and tasted as it looked - flat. Our thought is that maybe they were going for less sweetness. Texture-wise, it was creamy and soft, and easily falls apart in your mouth. The bits of cashew they had sprinkled in didn't do much either.
Now, to the funniest part - let’s start with the good side of things.
The place is spacious with clean tables and relatively comfy chairs that can hold around 20 - 25 at once but they can do a better job with the seating arrangement since that space can get easily cramped when occupied. Inside was calm and surprisingly quiet, given you have the Galle Road right next to you.
The waiter who delivered the food to us was nice, approachable and was polite. However, the person manning the cashier seemed like he had better things in mind than taking the orders from the customers. When we inquired about the Lavazza coffee they had advertised on their Facebook page, he had no clue and seemed a bit bothered and annoyed that I tried to order from the menu and that he had to tell me most of it are missing.
Anyway, we were told that they bring their coffee/ cafe menu after 6 pm which is confusing.
While they are relatively new, we can't just can't shake the idea that they came across poorly. The very name "Latte" Arcade gives the idea that you can get some coffee (at least milk), but they didn't carry any coffee all day around.
Maybe they are still getting things set up? Probably.
But we sincerely hope they get back on track fast but for now, it's a tough recommend.