ZaZa Bar at Casa Colombo is one of those bars that doesn't really get much attention. We dropped in to have a few drinks and were quite impressed.
ZaZa seems like it'd be expensive, but it's not. Prices range from Rs. 350 - Rs. 1300 for cocktails and a bottle of beer is around Rs. 300. The best part is their Happy Hour, one-for-one on drinks and tapas from 5:30 to 7:30 PM.
The arrack sour (Rs. 350) is the cheapest of the cocktails and it's pretty good. Basically arrack and lemon juice with a bit of liqueur. It's pretty simple to make but seeing how popular arrack is, we're surprised more bars don't offer arrack based cocktails.
The tequila sunrise (Rs. 600) was a bit subtle when it came to the tequila hit, but still tasted excellent. This is the more popular variant of the tequila sunrise that comes with orange juice and grenadine. Probably one of the tastier cocktails we've had in recent times.
We don't generally try gin based cocktails but we decided to try the Casa Kick (Rs. 600), which is one of their signature cocktails. It's a mix of local gin, grenadine and lime juice. I myself preferred the tequila sunrise but my friend who happens to be fan of gin, preferred the Casa Kick.
When it comes to food, ZaZa offers mostly Tapas, but if you're looking for something more filling you could just head over to HVN. The tapas menu offers a good selection of meat, seafood and vegetarian options, all of it priced between Rs. 300 - Rs. 700 for adequately sizeable portions.
The crumb fried calamari (Rs. 300) served with a mango chutney dip was our pick of the bunch. This one at only Rs. 300 is an absolute steal. Crispy, well seasoned calamari rings served with one of the best dips that we've had in a while. The other dishes we tried also came with sauces, but this one in particular went brilliantly with all of it.
The chicken lolipops (Rs. 450) were pretty decent as well and easy to eat without being messy. It's served with a coriander and ginger salsa which was pretty good but we found that it actually tasted better with the mango chutney dip from the previous dish. The chicken was cooked well with a nice addition of sesame seeds to the batter which adds a nice texture.
The final tapas we tried was the roast beef kababs (Rs. 300). This would be the only one of the three that we would say came in small portion, but that's most because we weren't really interested in the salad. Besides that, the kebabs themselves tasted good with a slight spiciness which worked well with the coriander marinade.
Service & Ambience
We were very impressed with the service at ZaZa the night we dropped in. We informed them that we'd only be there for about an hour so we needed all of the above to be served as fast as possible. The drinks were ready in no time at all and the tapas came to the table in less than 15 minutes, so kudos to Casa for stepping up their service.
The look of ZaZa is pretty unique, much like the rest of the hotel. They've got some neat cane seats with cushions that are illuminated and a nice spot next to the pond. The only part we didn't really love was that it's quite dark inside with the only real lighting coming from the lamps on the tables.
ZaZa Bar isn't really one of the first places that comes to mind when people think of bars in Colombo, but we think it should be. It's a bit dark but the drinks are good, the tapas were excellent and they've got one of the best happy hour offers around.
It's buy one get one free on drinks and tapas from 5.30 pm - 7.30 pm.