The temperature was in its early 30s, the sky was this Gatorade blue, and the road was a tiny strip of uneven gravel. What we really needed was a shower and an iced drink, what we got was Tri.
Bravely shying away from Lanka's usual affinity for beach resorts, Tri is perched on a natural hill by the Koggala Lake. If you're automatically turned off by the idea of a hotel down south not featuring the Laccadive Sea, have a little faith. With stark nautiladae patterns, a sparkling infinity pool, and clean cement lines, the eco-resort is a testament to sleek design and chic style. It's also supposed to be completely sustainable, but more on that later.
We were just there for a quick lunch and slow drink, so didn't get to experience the rooms or the invitingly azure pool. Stay tuned for our accommodation review, which should be up in the next couple of months. We're pysched to try out their yoga shala and water tower.
We entered through the parking lot, and saw what appears to be the entrance to a maze almost reminiscent of the stelai of Berlin's Holocaust Memorial. We milled about until a friendly waiter rescued us and ushered us upstairs. It was all smooth sailing from there. The waitstaff was efficient, settling us at the spot with arguably the best view, the lounge/reception area overlooking the vast Koggala Lake.
The only slight glitch came up as we ordered a bottle of the house white, a Las Moras Viognier (Rs. 5150), which wasn't available. We asked for something along those lines and they offered us a crisp Riesling at the same price, which we were more than happy to settle for.
The food took about 35 minutes to come, which we neither noticed or minded as we had our wine and view to keep us company.
The food predominantly reflects local flavours, while catering to Western palates. The menu is also pretty limited for lunch, which I personally prefer because it generally means the chef and kitchen staff have carefully curated and perfected what they've put on offer. We were informed that dinners feature a 6 course menu usually showcasing the day's catch from the lake.
We attempted a Tuna Burger (Rs. 1700), which had a fresh, lightly spiced tuna patty topped with a crispy quail egg and accented with wasabi sauce, beetroot, bilimbi, and hathawariya. It came served with triple cooked chips, which had that perfect crispy on the outside/fluffy on the inside action going on. Despite all the interesting flavour additions, the star of this was the fresh tuna itself (apparently locally sourced yellowfin).
We also tried the Short Eat Platter (Rs. 1150), a little selection of local snack time heroes like prawn vadey, curried potato patty, kottu roti, fish roll, and pork cutlet (from Galle's Labuduwa Farm). If you're Sri Lankan, you may have already exclaimed "ammatasiri" and rolled your eyes at the pricing, but this platter is really just meant for tourists to get a feel of local cuisine without having to brave the indigenous saronged kade uncle.
The kottu was strangely superb, with a light crispiness to it that you usually don't get in your usual cheesy-greasy Hotel de Pilawoo's kottu. It featured some fresh vegetables that weren't tossed and grilled within an inch of oblivion too. The patties were alright, and slightly spiced down so as to not cause heart burn in unsuspecting honeymooning tourists. Our favourite was the pork cutlet, but there was only one of it, which made for some awkward sharing. This platter is really just meant for one person who can't commit to a full meal.
The Hopper Trio (Rs. 750) was next, a beautifully presented selection of hoppers with three toppings - quail egg, prawn, and beetroot curry. While these were probably the most chic hoppers I've ever encountered, the consistency leant more toward crêpes than that crispy aerated texture of local aappa. Either way, they were well flavoured and surprisingly filling.
Tri's opened in style, and they're clearly doing quite well for a new spot. With just 11 rooms and a vast lakeside property, it's a secluded and serene getaway. We'd really suggest you go there for a couple's holiday or else just boozy lunch if you're in the area. It's pricey, but you're paying for that view and the luxe.