Artwork for U Pay - PickMe Dec  2018 -06.12.2018

3/5

Loon Tao

43/12 College Avenue, Mount Lavinia.


Loon Tao, roughly meaning "Way of the Dragon" has lost its claim as a top contender in the Chinese restaurant racket.



Loon Tao, roughly translating to ‘The Way Of the Dragon’ has always leaned towards slightly more authentic East Asian flavours. One of the few semi fine-dining Chinese restaurants in Sri Lanka the Tao chain promises slightly more authentic Chinese cuisine in an elegant setting. While their promise holds true, Loon Tao’s claim as a top contender in the Chinese restaurant racket has waned drastically

This dragon is way off course- Being a native Lavinian myself I recall the breath of fresh air Loon Tao first brought into the Chinese restaurant scene. Never had Chinese dining been so elegant. Now that breath of fresh air seems to have combusted into the hot fiery puff of a grumpy dragon.

The Food

Loon Tao’s flavours aren’t typically Sri Lankan Chinese. They’re more Chi-Lankan – comprising of the typical East Asian bite of pepper, garlic and fennel blended to fit the Sri Lankan palette.Up until now I have never had great qualms with their food. It’s usually pretty good and is presented to please the olfactory, visual and gustatory.

I opened ranks with their hokkien style fried noodle with seafood at Rs.598. These are thick noodles, covered in a heavy coating of sauce and seafood. The creaminess rendered from the sauce in addition to the thickness of the noodles makes for a satisfactory and filling main. However I was mildly disappointed by the prawns in the seafood mix. While they were large, they felt slightly underdone; not tender in the least, with a slight rubbery texture. For a small portion the serving is actually fairly large- more than enough for two I’d reckon.

To accompany the main I got Sri Lanka’s favourite – A small portion of hot buttered cuttlefish (Rs.668), an unorthodox crispy deep fried beef (Rs.598) and pak choy (Rs. 498) . It’s ridiculous how every price including mineral water (Rs.198) ends with the figure eight. Unlucky much?

 While it certainly isn't the best The HBC was actually one of the better ones I’ve tried recently. For a small portion it was a fairly generous serving. It presents itself as one of the more flavourful, hotter options and has less of the annoying so called “vegetable garnish” other chinese restaurants fill the plate with. It was almost crisped to perfection, but wasn’t quite there yet either.

If you’ve always wanted to know what Kentucky Fried Beef tastes like the crispy deep fried beef is an excellent option texture-wise. The beef is tender although not flavour packed. It is an interesting option nevertheless with the floury flakes of the beef adding a nice crunch to the soft meat.

Their pak choy with garlic sauce, I felt needed a tad more garlic. The vegetables were wet, tasted fresh, but were altogether unexciting. It really hasn’t got the bite of other pak choy’s in town.

Service and Ambiance

The shoreline, which once made the experience at Loon Tao wonderful, has been washed away. It seems no one bothered to look into the ill environmental effects of the Colombo port city, and as a result much of Mount Lavinia’s coast has been eaten up by the sea. As a result waves break a few feet away from the Loon Tao entrance which is why I couldn’t get a shot of the restaurant's exterior. The interior all in all is clean, elegant and pretty spacious with wooden furniture adding a nice touch to the ambiance.

I didn’t like the service. Even Loon Tao’s younger brother Tsing Tao has never had the best service. The food was out in about 15 to 20 which is average to say the least. While the staff are courteous they don’t come across as pleasant and friendly. The steward who took my order, a local chap was attentive and the better of the lot. I did notice the other foreign staff seemed substantially friendlier with foreign guests.

Heck- they were bawling over an English family that came in- and at one point all three staff members on duty were at the table, with no one there to tend to the local guests. I had to wait a bit to ask for my bill too. This really isn’t an isolated incident because on a previous visit I noticed the indifferent attitude of one of the foreign staff. Crouching tiger, grumpy dragon?

If you want cheap Chinese food on the beach with much friendlier staff head to Sawadee.

Conclusion

I’m not sure which way Loon Tao’s Dragon is heading but it’s clear they’ve spiralled out of control. The food still retains a bit of what it had when it first started but service-wise they could use some refurbishment.


TIP

Three's a crowd - If you have the numbers get their Garupa done two different ways.

Artwork for Frimi Shoutout banner

Address

43/12 College Avenue, Mount Lavinia.

Contacts

Report Inaccuracy

Open 11 to 3- Afternoon 6 to 11 - Evenings

Cuisine

Chinese Sri Lankan Chinese

Price Range

Between Rs. 1000 - Rs. 1500

Dish Types

Noodles Seafood Lamb Fish Beer Wine Spirits Cocktails

Ratings Breakdown

Overall Rating
3
Quality Rating
3
Service Rating
2
Ambience Rating
4
Similar Places

User Reviews
I
1

1/5

0

Inshraleen

I would never recommend this place to anyone. went there last Saturday for dinner and had to wait for over half an hour before I had to walk up to a waiter and ask him to take our order down. even after that we had to wait for over two hours and our food never came. when we went and inquired about it they had no idea what was going on. there was no manager running the place as he was "sick" and had taken time off. all the waiters were lost about the operations and there were more than three people complaining about how they've not got there food for the at least two hours. this is THE worst experience I've had at any restaurant in Sri Lanka. #Loontao

V
1

1/5

0

VF

We visited Loon Tao today as we had very nice previous experiences. We waited for half an hour to get a table and no one even bothered. Waited for more than 2 hours to get food on the table. Average food and poor service.

S
2

2/5

0

Shalendra96

Place is utter sad. Came there on the 25th of July with a few friends in the afternoon for lunch. Silly bunch of drunkards were causing havoc in the place…drinking shouting and swearing. One utter failure in particular looked like a real dumbass with a fake asf accent was screaming out for more beer. Hardly anyone. Waiter was some African dude. Nice guy. Food was sub par and not great. The place is just wet and the tables and chairs are breaking. The menu cards are so old they are taring. The waiters look like garbage and they have no hygiene at all. Really sad to see

I
1

1/5

0

Inshraleen

I would never recommend this place to anyone. went there last Saturday for dinner and had to wait for over half an hour before I had to walk up to a waiter and ask him to take our order down. even after that we had to wait for over two hours and our food never came. when we went and inquired about it they had no idea what was going on. there was no manager running the place as he was "sick" and had taken time off. all the waiters were lost about the operations and there were more than three people complaining about how they've not got there food for the at least two hours. this is THE worst experience I've had at any restaurant in Sri Lanka. #Loontao

V
1

1/5

0

VF

We visited Loon Tao today as we had very nice previous experiences. We waited for half an hour to get a table and no one even bothered. Waited for more than 2 hours to get food on the table. Average food and poor service.

S
2

2/5

0

Shalendra96

Place is utter sad. Came there on the 25th of July with a few friends in the afternoon for lunch. Silly bunch of drunkards were causing havoc in the place…drinking shouting and swearing. One utter failure in particular looked like a real dumbass with a fake asf accent was screaming out for more beer. Hardly anyone. Waiter was some African dude. Nice guy. Food was sub par and not great. The place is just wet and the tables and chairs are breaking. The menu cards are so old they are taring. The waiters look like garbage and they have no hygiene at all. Really sad to see

O
1

2/5

0

obsh55

Popped into Loon Tao on a Saturday night with my parents…attention and service by the local staff was terrible…we were totally ignored, and one even had the audacity to say that I had to mention in the order that I wanted a non chilled soft drink after he brought out a chilled drink, even though I specifically mentioned beforehand that we required non chilled drinks. I'm pretty sure he would have bent double and brought out two if a foreigner had requested a different beverage. The tall African dude was really polite, so we got him to serve us. Also dont listen to them if they say that the portions are too small, stick to what you want to order. Its your choice! Not going back to Loon Tao again :(

M
2

5/5

0

millennialexplorer

If it's seafood, then this is the place in town you definitely must try. Especially their garupa!!

See 21 Comments