Found on the outskirts of the Wellawatte area, Marine Grill isn't new to the restaurant scene in Colombo. Back then it was called Olives Kitchen & Grill. But, with a newly furnished space and what appeared to be hopeful dreams of nice Indian food for lunch, we decided to check it out to see what's up.
The restaurant is one of the more bizarre cases we've come across in a while. They've got two whole different ambiences and menus in the same building, so we decided to check out both of them.
This part of the restaurant has been made to make it look like something out of Baby Driver. With big, rather flashy plastic-covered booths taking most of the restaurant and a few other more normal looking chairs, the restaurant looked like a diner out of the '60s movie and we actually really liked it.
The diner aspect of Marine Grill specialises mostly in the likes of burgers, subs and fries and not much else.Hands down, the best part of our experience had to be the Cheese Sticks. Clocking in at a very decent Rs. 350, the sticks were thick, beautiful blocks of Mozzarella coated with a light layer of breadcrumbs and chilli powder which tore apart beautifully.
Essentially comprising of two thick buns, sandwiching the likes of crumb-coated chicken, sauce, mayo and veggies, it was quite good. Cheaper than almost all their burgers, the Crispy Chicken submarine went at an Rs. 550 and it's worth the money you pay for it.
The bun was nice and soft, it tasted fresh and wasn't too tasted, the chicken albeit a tad too coated for our liking was spiced well and the addition of crunchy veggies and pickles pretty much sealed the deal on this one.
The Jalapeno Beef Burger (Rs. 600) was pretty decent as well. We were told that the burger would be spicy. But, when you compare it to other places that do pretty much the same thing, we're going to go out on a limb and say that this was quite mild.
A soft bun pulled together by the likes of tomatoes, jalapenos, ketchup, mayo and a thick beef pattie that positively reeked pepper, we liked this one. The pepper added a lot of character to the dish and the jalapenos were put at just the right amount for someone who doesn't want their burgers to burn their tongues off.
The ambience at the Indian/ Chinese restaurant is a lot fancier than the diner. A bit on the cramped side of things, the restaurant was all right if there weren't too many other customers dining in at the same time. We didn't necessarily feel it because there was no one else there.
We wanted to get biriyani, but unfortunately, they didn't have any of the kind of biriyani they had on their menu, even if they had a whole list of varieties to choose from. So, we decided to skip over to the Chinese side and order a serving of Beef Fried Noodles (Rs. 480).
A generous serving of the likes of Harischandra noodles tossed in a pan with some butter, a bit of beef here and there and enough veggies to get your mother excited that you're eating healthy, the Beef Fried noodles tasted more or less like something your mother would make at home and while we weren't overly impressed by it, we couldn't complain.
The HBC (Rs. 1250), also off the Chinese menu was a lot better than we'd expected. Crispy by the thick layer of batter casing the pieces of cuttlefish, the HBC had been cooked with a bunch of spices and capsicum and would have gone beautifully with a beer. But, at the same time, it was rather spicy and had strong salty notes coming through.
Since the only drinks, he diner half had was soda, we decided to check this section out instead.
The Watermelon Juice came to us as a rather bland take on the drink with no sugar (because we asked them to) and while it was refreshing, it just ended up tasting like water and not really watermelon.
The Lime Juice (Rs.250), on the other hand, was entirely too sweet. Giving off a slight syrupiness to the whole thing, we really didn't like this one.
A more iffy side of our experience happened to deal with the staff. They tend to watch you like a hawk whilst you stay there and give you plenty of side-eye till you leave. However, some of them were quite nice. Helping us choose and making sure he got our order correct, we were happy.
Plus, they managed to bring our food within 10 minutes of placing our order on both occasions, which is quite good.
Our experience at Marine Grill was nothing more than okay. The burgers and such were quite good, but the fancier side didn't necessarily succeed in giving off a very memorable experience, so it's your call really. If we had to choose between the two of them, we suggest going to the diner.
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