Negombo is one of my favourite cities in the country, simply because of the sheer spread of freshly caught seafood it offers. It's hard to find a restaurant here that doesn't serve seafood, which easily makes this town a heaven - to anyone who'd like to bask in the glory of fishy goodness.
The Claws is one of the recent additions to this stretch, which has been buzzing with the crowd.
The Claws is specialised in seafood, but they've made sure to include a whole bunch of meat dishes on their menu too. Anyway, in this review, we decided to stick to their speciality.
The Pepper Prawns (Rs. 1100) featured around 12 - 15 medium-sized prawns, all smothered with a spicy pepper sauce. Deliciously chewy to the bite, these peppered sea-roaches were flavoursome on its own, but when you bring the fresh crunch of capsicum, bell pepper and onions, it makes for one hell of a dish which you can pair your rice/beer with.
Next up, we tried the Fried Whole King Fish (Rs. 2400). You can get the grilled version of it too, but we opted for the fried one, as per the recommendation of our waiter, and boy oh boy! We're glad we did so.
Weighing 2.4kgs, this paraw fish was from the freshest catch of the day and easily enough to feed around 2 or more hungry bellies.
Covered with a thin layer of well-seasoned batter, the fish had just the right touch from the fryer, which added a beautiful crisp to its outside, along with an addictively firm texture. What follows that is the pure white, juicy, soft, and chunky flesh. In fact, the batter acted as a supporting character, by doing a great job at luring out the rich, and fatty flavours of the King Fish.
Resting on the bed of lettuce, cucumber, grated cabbage, carrots and tomato, it was also decorated with a side of crispy, golden yellow coloured French fries and had roast cashews and karapincha leaves scattered about.
Seriously, you don’t need anything more than a squeeze of fresh lemon to improve its flavours.
The undeniable star of this meal, was the cuttlefish curry. Giant rings of well-cooked cuttlefish, immersed in a gravy that's gushed with spices, this curry itself is enough to finish off a plate of white rice.
The accompaniments were well-executed as well. Carrying the proper balance between creaminess and spiciness, and a lot of curry taste, all four curries were on point, while the batu moju giving that tangy kick. Packing a heat from chilli flakes, the pol sambol featured lots and lots of umbalakada.
Our drink was this Chocolate Milkshake (Rs. 300). Creamy, and thick in texture, it was a bit on the milky side. A little more chocolate ice cream or a little less milk should make it more balanced in flavour.
They also serve beer and cocktails, if you want an alcoholic punch to wash down all that seafood.
Decorated with a palm-thatched roof, the interior at The Claws is pretty simple. It's more of a semi-indoor restaurant which opens to Lewis Place - a street that's known for seafood in Negombo.
Inside the restaurant, they've provided a bunch of neatly arranged black chairs and tables, enough to accommodate around 30 customers at a time. It's not an air-conditioned space, but the heat won't bother you as they've got giant fans in every corner of the restaurant.
The staff was absolutely helpful with our order. They were kind enough to provide us with recommendations and managed to bring our food within around 20 minutes. Friendly and polite, they made our experience a welcoming one.
The Claws is one of the best picks for your seafood cravings in Negombo. Their food is super delicious, portions are massive and you get your money's worth. We highly recommend!