From the time they opened their doors, Whight & Co has been undoubtedly the best coffee shop in Colombo. They've got cold drip, pour over, espresso, frappes and capuccinos, all executed well and delivering on taste. What sets them apart from most coffee shops is how much they've invested in one key aspect of their enterprise - the coffee.
For 10 years, the Whight family have been growing coffee in the Matturata Valley up in Udapassulawa over 100 acres across 11 estates. They took the trouble to get hold of a 140 year old coffee tree that they named “Sri Amma” and made use of it to reproduce enough trees to harvest their signature coffee beans. We've told you all about their coffee before, so this time, we decided we'd try dinner at Whight & Co, particularly since they've opened up their bar since our last review.
The menu at Whight & Co offers steak, burgers, wraps, salads and other cafe fair, but we decided to try out the Papdi Chat Prawns (Rs. 700) as it stood out the most.
What you get is three pieces, each comes with two prawns in an embrace, with a bit of sauce on top, and a lovely, light chaat underneath, with rocket leaves and a good crunchy bite.
Since we were on Marine Drive and by the sea and all, we stuck to the seafood and ordered the Prawn Paella (Rs. 1,400) and we were quite happy with it. The prawns were juicy and just punched with flavour. The rice itself was quite mildy flavoured, with the peppers and parsley being more colourful than flavourful. Portion wise, it's just right for one person. We shared amongst two and just wanted more by the end of it.
Whight & Co have a liquor license, now, and we're happy about that. We ordered the Passion Fruit Mojito (Rs. 950) and the Long Island Iced Tea (Rs. 1000). The mojito comes with passion fruit as is, floating about the bottom, with the mint leaves and wedges of lime. It's not too potent on the passion fruit flavour, but we're thinking it wasn't so much a failure in the preparation as much as failure to get the drink to our table asap.
A little disappointed by the mojito, I took a sip of my long island, and it was quite disheartening. By the time our drinks reached our table, they had watered down, and, despite fresh ice being added, it couldn't salvage the alcohol that had already been diluted. It's quite a shame, since neither of us were driving, and we were left with a buzz that wore off while climbing down the stairs. Sad to say you could drink, drive and pass a breathalyzer test after these drinks.
Here's where we feel Whight & Co really needs to up its game. At the get-go, they had their staff trained in Malaysia, and you could be sure that your order would be handled with care. At present, however, they seem understaffed. At the time of our review, there was just one waiter running up and down, which we attribute to the late arrival of our order, and the poor delivery of the cocktails. It took 30 minutes for our order to arrive, and given the simplicity of the items, it could only come down to a bottle-neck in the kitchen or haphazard waiters.
They haven't changed their look, since they started, and we're fans of the minimalism of the dark wood, bronze and white walls. At day time, they make good use of the sunlight and sea-view. There's photographs on the walls, telling the story of Sri Lanka's history with coffee, a history that the folks at Whight & Co are quite adamant to revive. You can easily host a gathering here without being disturbed as there's plenty of space between tables. If you're looking for a place to while away a few hours, you can feel quite comfortable here. The Wi-Fi is super slow, though.
Go to Whight & Co for their coffee, and try out their desserts. We recommend the Cold Drip. The papdi chat prawn is good, too. We'll be trying out their breakfast menu, soon. So keep an eye out for that. Despite struggling with staff, at the moment, they are still the best coffee shop in town. Here's hoping they improve on the shortfalls and keep it that way.
Whight & Co.'s coffee is still the main reason to go there, but their food impressed us on our last visit too.
We like the Papdi Chat Prawns and the Cold Drip. Their staff is a little haphazard, lately.
Whight & Co is amazing for coffee. They've got Cold Drip down to a science. The food is alright, too.
It's on the Colpetty side of Marine Drive. From Galle Road, go past the McDonald's and turn down Aloe Avenue just past ACBT. On Marine Drive it's between the Marina Casino on the North and Arabian Knights on the south.