Mambo's in Hikkaduwa has been around for ages. With a nice beachfront set up on the popular (read: crowded) Hikka tourist strip, a surf shop, and lots of drinks, it's generally a popular party spot during the Down South season. We stopped by for a weekend lunch.
The prices have slid up since our last visit (just like menus all over the island). We opted for two mains and two cocktails, which came to a rather pricey Rs. 3800.
The Grilled Prawns weren't exorbitant at Rs. 1400, but they weren't impressive either. The shells were tedious, and impervious, which meant the garlic butter didn't quite sink into the prawn flesh. It was executed fine, but the effort it took to unshell each prawn was simply not worth it. There was no additional sauce or topping to dip the naked prawn in either, which rendered it a bit bland. The salad and shallow-fried potatoes were fine, simply prepared and again sort of listless.
The Chicken Burger was a bit disappointing despite its Rs. 900 price tag. Instead of a fresh chicken patty, we met a rather flavourless breadcrumb-coated fillet of chicken breast, with a lot of onion and cucumber and a slather of mayo between somewhat stale, low-quality bread. It came with some ketchup and a little bowl of potatoes chips (chunks? pieces?) that were hard and fried.
Our drinks were much better, with both the Whiskey Sour and Melon Daiquiri at a reasonable Rs. 750. Boozy and with lots of fresh ingredients at play, the cocktails aren't inventive, but they're simple and well-executed. The Whiskey Sour was sour and limey (no egg whites here, hot shot), and the daiquiri was sweet, frothy, and featured lots of lovely melon.
Service here is typical beachside languour. There are a few local surf chaps who will bring menus and eventually your food, chat enthusiastically with you if you're a foreigner, and promptly forget about you if you don't keep waving them down.
The view is obviously stunning. Wickerwork, bamboo, and jute come together to frame beautiful sun-soaked beach vistas which are even prettier (and more crowded) at sunset.
Great views, great vibe. We didn't love the food, but we think this is a perfect spot for a couple of beers and a good book by the beautiful Hikka sea.