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5/5

Next Innings (Dutch Hospital)

Colombo Dutch Hospital, Bank of Ceylon Mawatha, Colombo - Fort


Next Innings is a new venture by Chef Dharshan Munidasa and the cricketing stars, Mahela Jayawardena and Kumar Sangakkara.



The popular triad - Chef Dharshan Munidasa and the cricketing stars, Mahela Jayawardena and Kumar Sangakkara has teamed up once again for a new venture. Filling the void of Colombo's sports lounges, or lack thereof, this place is called Next Innings, and it resides inside the ever so buzzing Colombo Dutch Hospital, replacing the location of Semondu Restaurant

Food & Drinks

The menu here is designed as a scorecard, where the drinks are listed as First Innings, and the food is presented as Second Innings. Featuring a few specialties from their sister restaurant - Ministry of Crab, the food section here also has a bunch of other stuff - pizza, an impressive collection of tapas from around the world, a few mains and desserts. All the prices on the menu here are inclusive of taxes and service charge, so what you see on the menu is what you pay. 

As for our First Inning, we ordered a glass of Small Island Iced Tea (Rs. 500) and a good old Dry Martini (Rs. 800). 

This is Next Innings's take on the Lankan version of Long Island Iced Tea. It doesn't necessarily pack a punch like the original kind (not from the first round anyway), or taste the same, but it's actually delicious and quite refreshing. Concocted with Arrack, soda, and peach tea concentration, it had a nice fizzy kick going on. For just Rs. 500, this is a solid drink - I'm sure that the good people of Long Island won't be offended. We asked for Gin in our Dry Martini, but you can get it with Vodka too. It's a drink known to be sophisticated and created with some simple ingredients, and this one ticked all the correct boxes. Carrying a potent boozy kick, and a splash of olives, its flavors were sharp - which is what any good Dry Martini is about. 

We moved on to the Second Innings with a portion of Batter Fried Prawns (Rs. 1200) served with ketchup on the side. These sea roaches were wrapped in an extremely light, crispy batter and deep-fried until golden brown. You can enjoy the chewy, seafoody goodness of all you like as the batter is not too heavy. However, a portion of just five prawns doesn't quite justify the hefty price tag of Rs. 1200.

As a potential contender in our next Mutton Roll round-up, we were super excited to try the Mutton Rolls (Rs. 800 for 2pc) at the Next Innings, and it delivered. They make it freshly on order - steam rose as we poke it with a knife. 

Stuffed to the brim with ample amounts of curried mutton, potato and onion bits, it was spiced well, and jam-packed with flavor. The roll itself was beautifully golden brown and had a good crunch to bite. It's probably the most expensive roll in town, but it's massive, delicious and absolutely filling. 

Next Innings does a range of Neapolitan pizza, and they've put all the effort to make it authentic as possible, by using imported ingredients like Caputo flour (from Italy), and cooking them from the world's only leather ball mosaic tiled pizza oven.

We went undercover as a regular couple on a date night, so they were curious when my partner asked whether we can go into the kitchen and take this picture. But we needed to see for ourselves. And there it was - a giant, leather-ball-red-colored mosaic tiled oven, with white colored stripes running in the middle. 

Since we had the option, we went with a half-and-half pizza - part Ciro (Rs. 2200, half 1100), part Bufalina (Rs. 2200, half 1100). 

Let me start with the crust. Thick and raised at the edges and thin at the center, the crust had a good crisp to bite, which was boosted by the charcoal bits around the rim. We liked how they've made the thick counterpart of the crust so light, poofy, and not at all doughy. 

Lured by the promise of 'Nduja by Calabria and buffalo milk ciliegine , the Bufalina was excellent. Every inch of this pie was covered with the spicy 'Nduja paste, and it paired well with the soft, delicate buffalo mozzarella balls that were so creamy and rich in flavor. It was a delicious one, while the aromatic basil leaves and the extra virgin olive oil work its magic.

With a gentle whiff of smoked pancetta bacon, we thoroughly enjoyed the Ciro pizza. The excellently prepared tomato sauce helped to bring out the best of the other elements in this pie - like fresh mozzarella, red chili, and fried aubergines, while the flavors of grassy olive oil shined through. 

Service & Ambience

This place has a minimalistic sports-themed interior going on, with video walls and LFDs screening up to eight sporting events. The dumbbell-shaped touch table lamps, carrom board tables, and the staff dressed like referees, all add up to the sporty vibe. Their seating arrangement is quite convenient too. It ensures that you're not missing anything that goes on the display. 

We received some excellent service here. The staff were absolutely welcoming, super attentive and incredibly efficient. Our food and drinks arrived within around 15 minutes. The place was only getting crowded as the night grows, but the quality of the service remained consistent. 

Conclusion

The Next Innings scored so high, and we are totally impressed. Doesn't matter whether you're a sports enthusiast or not, it's a good place for your Friday (or any day) tipple. Their offerings are superb, not too harsh on the wallet and you get to catch some of your favorite games - what's not to love?

Address

Colombo Dutch Hospital, Bank of Ceylon Mawatha, Colombo - Fort

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