The menu here is massive, and boasts the authentic Malaysian fare - from satay and nasi lemak to laksa soup and mee goreng. Most of the mains are priced under Rs. 1500, while the drinks range from Rs. 400 - 600, which makes this place quite friendly on the pocket.
We were off to a good start with this plate of Chicken Satay (Rs. 750), offered with the sides of peanut sauce, sliced onions, cucumber and pineapple. There were six skewers with large nuggets of juicy chicken, touched by the grill. We would've liked it a bit more, if they hadn't gone easy on the marination.
The peanut sauce was excellent, providing the best sweet kick that you can hope for.
Our Nasi Lemak (Rs. 1400) was served with an adequate helping of white rice, beef rendang, sambal squid sotong, two slices of cucumber, gravy, fried peanuts and haalmasso.
With flavours and fragrance of coconut cream seeping through, the rice was cooked well, and had a grainy texture. Packed with spices, the beef rendang had around 4 sizable pieces of beef that cut like butter. All the elements come into play once you mix them properly with the rice.
However, in comparison to the Rendang Nasi Lemak we tried at Santai Colombo, the flavours here were on the milder side.
This plate of Seafood Char Kway Teow (Rs. 1100) was on the oily side, but had a lot to offer. An assortment of wok-fried flat rice noodles, jumbo prawns, cockles, squid, chives, and bean sprouts, it was placed on a piece of banana leaf underneath, which yielded the oiliness a bit. Needless to say, it's quite generous with seafood, so you won't have to eat the noodles without it.
Thanks to having soaked up all the flavours of coconut cream and mango pulp, the sago pudding was a unification of sweet, sour and milky elements. Make good use of palm sugar if you want to double the sweet factor.
Hot drinks are the enemy of Colombo weather these days, which is why we settled for a Milo Dinosaur (Rs. 400) and 3-Layer Tea (Rs. 450).
After Isso, this is probably the best Milo Dinosaur we've come across in Colombo. This one was plentiful with Milo, and the milk-to-Milo ratio was on point too. There's no such thing as "enough Milo", and this one has an abundance of it. We loved it!
The 3-Layer Tea was an interesting drink made with melted palm sugar, evaporated milk, and black tea. Stirring it well before drinking is the trick here, because unless, you'll feel like you're drinking an ice cold milk tea, and not a very good one at that. But once the elements are mixed in, it could become one of the finest tea-based drinks you've ever had.
It's been around a month since the opening, and the place is still bustling with the crowd. Around 50 diners can fit in here at a time - with metal and cushion chairs, catering to families, friends and couples. However, we didn't enjoy the fact that the tables are quite close to each other. Sometimes, you can almost hear the conversation happening at the next table. But still, it's nice that they're trying to squeeze in every customer as much as they can.
The ordering process is pretty cool. As you sit down, the waitstaff will offer you a printed sheet, along with the menus. All you have to do is write down the item number of the dishes you're going to order (it's clearly defined on the menu), and the quantity of it.
Once you're done, the waitstaff will collect this sheet, and deliver the order accordingly. They always mark the sheet as they deliver the dishes as they deliver them, so there won't be any muddle-ups. We got our food and drinks within around 15 minutes, which is superb, considering it was full-house at the time.
Our total bill came to around Rs. 5100 with SC and taxes, and considering the number of dishes we've ordered, it's quite the steal. While there is room for improvement, especially in creating stronger flavour profiles, it's safe to say that they do good Malaysian fare.
Santai Colombo is a buzzing restaurant in Colombo 07, well…
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