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3/5

The Barnesbury

91, Barnes Place, Colombo 7


The Barnesbury is another cafe in Colombo. They've got a lovely garden out back, interesting London themed decor and they do an ordinary range of generic Western dishes.



It seems like almost every week there's a new restaurant or cafe popping up somewhere on the streets of Colombo - so much so that YAMU writers are developing symptoms of RBS (round belly syndrome) trying to keep up with it all. But popping buttons and ventricose bundis aside, it isn't all bad; 2013 has seen the arrival of a few excellent establishments that really do stretch out the highs of Colombo's culinary landscape: there's the wonderful, healthy alternative to the buth kade, Currymuch - which we don't know how we ever lived without - the exquisite chocolates of Gerard Mendis Chocolatier and, of course, the contentious 'return' of the emerald palmed king, New Banana Leaf.

Last week, yet another cafe materialised, adding itself to the ever growing list of 'new in 2013': The Barnesbury. Completely unrelated to The Kingsbury - although following what I hope isn't a rising trend in random British pub nomenclature - this self-designated restuarant/cafe/lounge is, well, we're not quite sure. The Barnesbury fits into a fuzzy genre of somewhat nondescript cafe/restaurant/lounges that are springing up across the city - places like The Boulevard, Cioconat or Choco Luv that try to stretch widely across multiple culinary domains, offering absolutely everything you can think of on encyclopaedia-sized menus while running amok with concept of fusion food.

But despite an alarmingly prolific menu, the food here isn't bad. It's the wide-ranging sort of fare you can expect from Commons, while not quite as good. We had a respectable baked crab (Rs. 650)- cheesy, soft and sprinkled generously with herbs - a french onion soup (Rs. 350) - fine, if a bit salty - and a slightly tough but well-seasoned jerk chicken (Rs. 575). All of which was fine, but you do wonder... what's the point of this place? What are they trying to be, and is there anything that would make us come back?

And I think that's the problem. The Barnesbury really doesn't really seem to know what it's trying to be. You enter the building through a slim rectangular space that resembles the front end of a coffee shop. There's the cupcake shelves and large chalkboards, the enormous lightbulbs and kitschy book page wallpaper. Walk through to the next bit, though, and the design completely changes - the interior's been licked into shape according the rather tasteless design of the house it occupies - unattractive stucco walls, polished terrazzo (?) floors and what I can only say is a rather goday indoor fountain, trimmed with a golden railing. The garden, however, is lovely. Spacious, well-lit and scattered with rather interesting seating.

While Commons really filled a niche in Colombo dining - a great, well-designed hang out space that could be occupied by teenagers and businessmen alike - none of its followers have got it quite right. While the Barnesbury has the potential to be rather good (they're sitting on prime real estate - a simply enormous house and garden on Barnes Place), right now, they're somewhat unremarkable. And this isn't really what Colombo needs - another vague eating space. The filigreed font, the fancy name, the opulent, kitschy designs - there's all the pretensions of grandeur but none of the delivery. But the garden is really quite pretty, the prices are reasonable and they do make a great date & honey shake - however, it feels like there just needs to be a litte something else. Then again, it's early days, so treat this as a preview. We'll go back in a couple of months and see if things have changed.

TIP

The date and honey milkshake is excellent.
All Reviews

The Barnesbury is one of Colombo's oldest cafes.

The Barnesbury is another cafe in Colombo. They've got a nice garden out back, interesting London themed decor, and an ordinary range of genericWestern dishes.

As of about last week, yet another cafe has emerged, adding itself to the ever growing list of 'new in 2013'. The Barnesbury. Completely unrelated to The Kingsbury - although following what I hope isn't a rising trend in random British pub nomenclature - this self-designated restuarant/cafe/lounge is, well, we're not exactly sure what it is.

සිංහල ටික කලකට පෙර තවත් කැෆේ එකක් පටන් ගත්තා. 2013 අලුතින් පටන් ගත්ත අවන්හල් ගොන්නට මේකත් එකතු වුණා. ඒකෙ නම බාන්ස්බරි. කිංග්ස්බරි එකට කිසිම සම්බන්ධයක් නැහැ. මම බලාපොරොත්තු වෙන්නේ නැහැ බ්‍රිතාන්‍ය ක්‍රමයේ අවන්හල් නාමකරණය කිරීමේ නැමියාවක් මෙහෙ තියෙනවා කියලා. බාන්ස්බරි ගැලපෙන්නේ ද බුලවාඩ්, සියෝකනට් නැත්තං චොකෝ ලව් වගේ කැෆේ/අවන්හල්/ලවුන්ජ් වලට. මේවගේ ඔබට විශ්වකෝෂ තරම් ලොකු මෙනූ වලින් තෝරලා ඕනේ වර්ගයක කෑමක් ගන්න පුළුවන්.

Address

91, Barnes Place, Colombo 7

Directions

It's on Barnes Place between Wijerama and Kynsey Road junctions.

Contacts

Facebook

Report Inaccuracy

Open until 12:00 AM

Price Range

Between Rs. 500 - Rs. 1000

Ratings Breakdown

Overall Rating
3
Quality Rating
3
Service Rating
4
Ambience Rating
3

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User Reviews
N
2

3/5

0

Nirma1992

Nice & Quiet place. Their food is good but compared to the similar places like these , the price of the menus are not reasonable

S
1

1/5

0

Savithu

Worst experience, the atmosphere was good but the staff needs to be taught about proper customer service.

I went to this place on 1st of January 2018, and was waiting for almost half and hour to order the food, where the waiting staff was collecting the orders from a customer arrived after me. Utter discrimination of customer relationship.

Hope they would raise the standards of customer service

Avatar for zainabhudha
4

4/5

0

zainabhudha

the food tastes good but it's a bit pricey and the quantity isn't sufficient. the interior and environment are wonderful, so are the staff

N
2

3/5

0

Nirma1992

Nice & Quiet place. Their food is good but compared to the similar places like these , the price of the menus are not reasonable

S
1

1/5

0

Savithu

Worst experience, the atmosphere was good but the staff needs to be taught about proper customer service.

I went to this place on 1st of January 2018, and was waiting for almost half and hour to order the food, where the waiting staff was collecting the orders from a customer arrived after me. Utter discrimination of customer relationship.

Hope they would raise the standards of customer service

Avatar for zainabhudha
4

4/5

0

zainabhudha

the food tastes good but it's a bit pricey and the quantity isn't sufficient. the interior and environment are wonderful, so are the staff

M
8

3/5

0

MrOlympus

Staff is friendly and attentive. But the food need some improvement.

M
8

3/5

0

MrOlympus

Staff is friendly and attentive. But the food need some improvement.

M
2

3/5

0

millennialexplorer

Chilled out place, and the food is decent. But pricing wise, you would expect more in terms of quality and portion size.

Avatar for J
2

1/5

0

J YAMU STAFF

Their customer base makes the whole place seem horrible. Every time I go there, there's a bunch of dudes hogging the shisha and eyeballing everything that moves. Can't even take a bite of food without having a bunch of eyes directed at you.
Food's okay. Unreasonably priced.
Haven't been there in a while and I'm certainly not going to change that anytime soon.

N
1

4/5

0

Namz

Saturday afternoons are a bit less crowded. Nice place to hang out with frnds

S
1

1/5

0

Sandy

We went there last night, and its gonna be the last time too, we are disappointed about the service, but the foods were quite good and its a nice place to hangout, but they have some stupid waiters specially that #dark looking guy…he completely spoiled our happiness.
they don't know how to treat the customers, and they must practice some discipline,
and there is no any responsible person to discuss a problem, waiters are playing the role of the manager… and it was disgusting and funny.

See 74 Comments