ON14 is the rooftop bar of the new OZO hotel. The view is amazing, the cocktails are good and the food, well, let's just say that the menu is adventurous.
The view from inside
What a view. This is quite possibly the best view in the city right now. We still have spot for the Grand Oriental, but for height and splendor, ON14 can't be beat.
From their spot on what we assume is the 14th floor, you can see the new port stretching out in the distance and Bambalapitya on down. It's a great place to catch the sunset and then back in the car-lights off all the suckers trying to leave the city while you're having a cocktail.
In case of rain they can also move you inside. The bar there is tastefully and intelligently designed. As soon as you exit the elevators (excellent elevators btw) you get a beautiful reveal - the port framed in a picture window. They have a chandelier which changes color, and not in a cheesy way. Added bonus, if you're seated at the window looking out, you can see the reflection of the TV. This means you can watch cricket over the skyline.
It should be more common, but ON14 also has one of the only rooftop pools in the city. We think it's only really for day-time swimming though.
The Food And Drinks
The espresso martini
We'll start with the drinks, which are all pretty good. We tried a few and for us the stand-out was the Espresso Martini (Rs. 820). Just the right amount of coffee and sweetness, and beautifully presented.
We also tried the Pearl Of Sri Lanka, the Marine Drive (both Rs. 820) and the Tuk-Tuk (Rs. 1,100). They were all good but we honestly can't remember which was which. They do a solid Bloody Mary (Rs. 820), which is rare in this town.
The food is another story. We started with golden fried cheesy balls (forgot the name, something like that - Rs. 650) which were fine. Then we tried a few of the more adventurous things on the menu which went a bit awry. Take the Miang Kam Bai (Rs. 550) above. This is essentially bulath (beetle leaf) with some sides of onion, cucumber, etc. Bulath is usually kept in the mouth and chewed as a mild narcotic. The way they served it was as a sort of wrap and the waiter said, yes, you do eat it. So I ate it, and felt unpleasant for a while after. We would not recommend this dish.
Another item we tried was Wellawahum (Rs. 450), which is a sort of Maldive-fishy pancake. This one was all right, but their Sri Lanka fusion dishes were still a bit too weird to enjoy. We'd stick with the more recognizable fare.
The service here is excellent. They're very friendly and quite helpful and the manager on duty seemed to actively care that everything was going well.
Go, but avoid the bulath. It's an amazing location with excellent cocktails. Best place to wait out the after-work rush
Head over to ON14 early to enjoy an unhindered view of the sunset over the Indian Ocean.