The Fab in Wattala is a welcome new addition to the ever-evolving Hendala Junction. Just a hop and a step away from the Arpico Supercentre and right opposite Hemas Hospitals, this is a good spot for a quick snack if you're passing by, or want to place an order for a cake.
The Fab franchise is well known for its cakes, and in addition to whole cakes, they generally have slices on sale as well. That wasn't the case when we visited, however. They seemed to be out of stock in the cake department — except for a few whole cakes on display, they didn't have smaller pieces up for grabs. That's a pity, given that it is a bakery after all.
On the other hand, they had a range of bites including pastries, sandwiches, muffins, cookies, and brownies. We went for a cherry muffin (Rs. 140), a stuffed-date cookie (Rs. 70), a sultana and nut muffin (Rs. 140), a fish stuffed chillie (Rs. 70) and an iced coffee (Rs. 80).
Priced at Rs. 140, we didn't think that the cherry muffin was worth the price. For one, it was small, and more like a tart rather than a muffin. The taste and texture of the base was more like a pie than a muffin. Instead of the cakey-sponginess of a good muffin, we got a crumbly base that became softer in the middle. The only hint of cherry flavour we got was from a gelatinous dollop on top of the muffin, so this was a disappointment.
The almond and raisin muffin had a bit more bang for the buck. It (a) looked like a muffin and (b) tasted like a muffin. With these basics covered, and at the same price as the cherry muffin, this one was a clear winner among the two. It was soft and felt fresh, with lots of chopped almonds and raisins. The chopped almonds added texture, while the raisins gave it a burst of sweetness.
Next on the list was the stuffed date cookie. This didn't look like a cookie in the traditional sense, with a thick layer of date-and-almond mixture sandwiched between two doughy layers. It was more like a date-roll or a pie than a cookie. The flavour of the date mixture came through quite strongly, with a spot of almond mixed in. The powdery crustiness of the 'cookie' went well with the sticky date mixture.
If you've got a penchant for sugary liquids with a slight dash of caffeine, the Fab's iced coffee is for you. It tastes a bit like the iced coffee you could whip up at home if you combined Milkmaid and Nescafe, and then refrigerated it for an hour or two. There's a hint of coffee, but it's a bit too sweet for my liking. This isn't to say that the coffee is bad—it isn't—but it's still a bit too saccharine for me.
The highlight of the small snacks was the fish stuffed chillie. This was goood. It was not a letdown like our classic maalu buns, where you'd need a microscope to find where the fish is. This was a salty, slightly spicy, well-combined mixture of fish and potatoes stuffed into a capsicum, which was then rolled in breadcrumbs and fried for that crispy touch. The capsicum went well with the fish and sambol, and added a slight touch of sweetness to the overall taste.
In terms of service, the staff are friendly and efficient behind the counter, but slow when it comes to clearing the tables and having a clean seating space ready for waiting customers.
The Fab doesn't have the chilled-out ambience of a coffee shop, but the drop-in-for-a-bite vibe of a fast-moving bakery. It's spacious, and there are five to six tables placed around. However, there were also a lot of flies when we visited, and this made eating comfortably quite difficult. It would be nice if they could invest in a bug-zapper to alleviate the fly-situ.
The Fab in Wattala has a convenient location, and is a good place to stop by for a quick bite at any time of day. Based on what we had, I'd say their stuffed chillies are better than their baked goodies, and that their iced coffee is passable.
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