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4/5

The Keg (Excel World)

338, T.B Jayah Mawatha, Colombo 10.


The Keg is an underrated, yet popular pub that's experienced an awesome glow-up over the years.



You know, back in the early Millenium Park/Young Excel World Era- The Keg was a heavy eyesore for parents, extended older relatives, and anyone over the age of 30; who would flock here with their kids.

The Keg used to be the biggest elephant in the room that nobody bothered to address simply because it was always just..there. It has always been there, and it will always be there. But back in the day, The Keg used to silently rest amidst the shadows of hastily planted foliage around it.  A dim glow would emanate from its neon blue namesake sign, and the tinted glass windows would keep its inner secrets tightly sealed. You couldn't even see who went in, or came out....if they ever did, hehe.

So imagine how weird I felt when I walked into this place last Sunday? After all the years of piled up nostalgia of spending my weekends at Excel World Millenium Park, I finally get to go back- this time as an adult, for the beema.

The Ambience 

I'll start with the space, first. I hope y'all managed to read through those gigantic first three paragraphs, because everything there is misleading. Whaaaaat. 
So they've gone through a hell of a transformation since their OG seedy-pub days, and are now in full swing as a completely hip pub that's worth visiting. 

The pub is spacious, with a heavy NY bar inspired interior design- lots of brick walls, lounge couches and whatnot. The lighting is delightfuly dim, which is great to set the groove, but not so much for photos. It wasn't crowded when we went in, but we're pretty sure their customers come pooling in at around 11:00PM because they close at 3:00AM. THREE A.M. That's INSANE. That's WONDERFUL! Where else can you find a bar to throw shots back after midnight!? 

Keep in mind that the crowd here is very civil, but on occasion you can run into a group of, uh, curious people. They'll keep their retinas glued to you if you wear a bodycon dress or whatever, so just dress comfy- and go with a group.

Cool, on to the drinks.

The Drinks

Right, so I wanted The Keg's specialy cocktail suggestively titled The Keg Delight, see? But they didn't have it. They also didn't have the Japanese Slipper, or the Cointreaupolitan. So we decided to play it relatively safe and got a Margarita (Rs. 1000) and an Aluna cocktail (Rs. 500). 

Margaritas are usually boring, but this one was fantastic. It was like a dignified lime soda. It's like taking a more pleasurable tequila shot, basically. The lime content was perfect, and the rim of salt did a good job with balancing out all this sharp flavour. 

Now the Aluna is an interesting one. I forget what the rest of the ingredients were, but its dominant was a shot of Kahlua. There were four of us here that night, and each one couldn't stop sipping from it. It was great. The kahlua is balanced out with actual lemon wedges, and some other magic component making it feel like you're indulging in a drink made of siyambala (tamarind) toffees. 

We also got two 25ml shots of Gordons dry gin, which were consumed with a side of tonic. Refreshing, straightforward and overall a safe choice. 

The Bites 

So we didn't really hold back on the bites for this review. Our dishes were the Potato Wedges (Rs. 400), Garlic Toast (Rs. 300), Fried Mushrooms (Rs. 360) and the Mixed Grilled Platter (Rs. 1,100). 

The potato wedges features gigantic, house cut wedges coated in a mildly spicy, light batter. This was a good opener, it had just the right amount of chewy and soft textures balanced out. Nothing much else to report here. The Garlic Toast comprised of about 12 halved slices of bread harbouring a generous spread of roast garlic and butter. The bread was toasted as well, so you're looking at an extra bit of crunch to jazz up this otherwise normal appetiser. Oooh I'm going to enjoy writing about this one. We didn't quite check through and only later figured out that they'd be using button mushrooms instead of the usual oyster. This might sound like an atrocity, but it worked surprisingly well. It was prepared in a way that stands on par with all the other hot-buttered dishes out there- but in this case, the buttons add a delicious juicy splash of flavour. This is an excellent counter to all the fried, crunch that's going on.

A nice change from the usual hot buttered oyster mushrooms, try this out if you want to amp up the whole texture experience. 
Ahhh Devilled Chicken (Rs. 810). Where would all the bars of this spectacular nation be if not for the boneless meat of fat chickens coated in a tomato ketchup/chilli combo? What would a drinking experience be like if we didn't have chunky slices of capsicum to tantalise them tastebuds?

This was a killer dish. it was simple, and the chicken was a tad dry, but it was great all the same. All the flavours went very well together and there wasn't any unnecessary overkill with the chili, so those of you with heavy gastritis can rejoice and indulge. 
The Mixed Grill platter featured two cuts of chicken, beef, and pork respectively. So you're looking at six slices of meat. A massive side of grilled vegetables spilled over the edge. You can choose wedges, mash, or chips for your carbs. We went with the chips. 

For some reason there's a slice of grilled pineapple as well as a bull's-eye egg. I'm assuming the bull's eye was tasked with the simple job of oozing all over the meats once you cut into it. 

Each cut of meat was deliciously succulent. The chicken fillets were excellent They hadn't used too much seasoning, so the natural flavours did all the talking. The beef was soft, and from my respective drinking buddies I was told that the pork was good, too. 

The Service 

Service here is satisfactory. Make sure to stick to the waiter who first takes your order, otherwise they'll get confused since communication is a bit haywire here. That's probably becuase they're busy. Or not. Who knows. 

Our food took quite a while to get to the tables. Cocktails came in 10 minutes after the order, and we were served plates and cutlery separately as well. 

To Go or Not To Go?

Definitely go. This place is cool, and I'm surprised that it hasn't been exploited for events due its stellar ambience. Perhaps we can expect a few performances here or even The Soul playing in concert sometime? 

Until then, a superb cocktail and delicious bites should suffice, no? 


TIP

Their cocktails are worth the price, but try out their mixed grill if you want a selection of bites to go around.

Address

338, T.B Jayah Mawatha, Colombo 10.

Directions

This is right inside Excel World.

Contacts

Report Inaccuracy

Open until 03:00 AM

Cuisine

Pub Food

Price Range

More than Rs.1500

Ratings Breakdown

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