Warning: The photos available in this article were taken using a potato. We apologize in advance for the inconvenience.
Sakya Pavilion is a wellness-based, vegetarian restaurant located down Sama (coincidence?) Mawatha, Pellawatte. This whole place looks like it was pulled out of a historical movie.
Finding this place could be a tad confusing. They don't have any visible name boards outside, so I suggest that you should believe in your guts and take that massive leap into the unknown and enter through the large gate, which actually looks like the gate in Mulan's house.
Walking into Sakya Pavilion is one of the strangest experiences I've ever had (with restaurants). We visited this place around 8 pm, and upon our arrival through the massive gate, we were immediately greeted by a bunch of trees and a whole heap of artsy looking huts with statues of deities and such. The tall trees, hooded lighting, and the orchestral music playing in the background, all added up to five whole minutes of feeling like we were in a thriller movie. Finally, we saw a couple of people walking around, and also found out that the music was coming from a giant screen.
Here I have attached a photo taken from their website, so you can see what I'm talking about.
The place itself is beautiful. Highbacked chairs, candlelight, traditional decor including ponds with water lilies, samurai swords hanging from walls and other interiors that look like ancient doorways. It's extremely calming, kind of eery at night but nevertheless, it's a haven for all you artsy folks who admire a little artisticness in all the places you go.
When we called to make our reservation, they asked us if we would prefer the four or five coursed meal, and we opted for the former. It includes - the starter, the soup, the main and the dessert.
Our starter was a Cheesy Garlic Bread topped with baked tomato slices and herbs (Rs. 250). It was essentially just two slices of french bread soaked in butter with a hint of garlic and, topped off with a bunch of cut up veggies, all jazzed up with some honey. The bread was nicely toasted, the tiny paneer cubes were deliciously chewy, while the honey gave a nice sweet kick to the whole dish.
The Potato (Abalone) and Mushroom soup (Rs. 400) was thick, creamy and had a good amount of shiitake mushroom bits just chilling at the bottom of the bowl. Boosted by the chilli flakes floating on top, this soup had a subtle spicy flavor, which made for an instant favourite of ours.
The main was a Whole Wheat Chapati (Rs. 600) served with a side of stir-fried vegetables and an egg. It was quite alright at its best. The vegetables were super fresh and cooked to perfection, while the presentation was steaming (the chef served it straight off the cooker). But the egg was a tad overdone, while the chapati was quite rubbery and certainly could have used some salt in it.
Our dessert - Date Pudding (Rs. 300) was served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, dusted with cinnamon powder and a drizzle of honey. However, it was more of a date cake, than a pudding, and a pretty average one at that. We couldn't quite locate its date flavour, but the ice cream, cinnamon powder, and the honey were flavorful additions - which made it much better than we expected.
As soon as you are seated, they bring you three tiny glasses with three herbal juices - Aloe Vera and Mint, Papaya and Orange and Tamarind. While the aloe vera drink was as bitter as anything could possibly get, the mint gave a nice kick which really helped us to gulp it down.
The papaya and orange drink was thick, sweet while the Tamarind was an absolute showstopper. Thick, sour and with a tinge of sweetness to it, this drink can only be described as a grown-up, healthier version of one of our childhood favourites - the siyambala (tamarind) toffee.
They also offered Herbal tea at the end of the meal which we refused to have, simply because we were too full.
The staff at Sakya Pavilion was super nice, attentive and accommodating. They even checked with us on how their food can be improved.
All in all, we really liked Sakya Pavilion. They're generous with their portions, the staff is friendly and the place is sublime. We totally recommend it.