The massive, dark looming gate of the Bogambara prison, once a sign of foreboding and gloom, was today glowing with the vibrant colours flashing down below.
A pleasant little fountain adorning the little staircase paired with the fairy lights strewn all over the plus was indeed a striking contrast to the Bogambara it was.
Tents lined up on both sides of the paved path, the smell of food wafting from each stall, Kandy has almost completed its renovation of the outside of the Bogambara prison into one where people will willingly come by. The Kandy Food Fest happens during the last weekend of every month, and this month too, the first Food Fest for the year 2020, saw hordes of people swarming in.
Perhaps it is due to the absence of the 'nightlife' in Kandy, but although it was the third day, the place was still teeming with a steady flow of people that showed no signs of dwindling even minutes before the conclusion of the event.
The Kandy Food Fest has an arsenal of some of the very best joints/ restaurants in Kandy, prepared to provide to the diners a taste of what they can conjure. From pizzas to kottu and goat milk to sweetmeats of every kind, the Food Fest had a little something for everyone.
The Garage Cafe is one of the first places that met our eye. A restaurant with quite an unorthodox, attractive ambience, the Garage Cafe is known to have some of the best waffles in town.
We tried their Chicken Waffle (Rs. 350) and were mind blown! A spicy, meaty concoction slathered over the surface of the waffle, it is the perfect pick for the OG Sri Lankan palate.
The Licensed to Grill was another one of the joints that served some of best burgers and subs, prepared in an unorthodox way. Their Chicken Burger (Rs. 500) was by far one of the best we came across that day, with an entire chicken breast, freshly prepared and succulent, stuffed in between the fresh bun.
Their Beef Submarine (Rs. 500) also was not your ordinary beef. It was smoked, and that smokey flavour that the meat gives off makes a world of difference.
The Mac and Cheese (Rs. 300) we tried from Bed Station 210 was nothing out of the ordinary, but the portion we received was quite filling. Not as cheesy as we could've expected, the pasta was prepared al dente and was slightly on the bland side.
Next up we tried some kottu from Amuthu Kottu. They had a range of different kottu, including Maniyok and Bread (Rs. 300 each, with cheese), and we opted for the latter. Unlike we expected, the bread was properly toasted before being mixed with the curry so it hadn't absorbed the flavour as much. Nevertheless, it was quite relishing and a welcome innovation.
Kandy Food Fest was not short of desserts either, and there were plenty of spots to choose from. We decided to go with the White Oreo Cake (Rs. 150) and the Chocolate Cake (Rs. 150) from Sweet Boutique.
The Oreo Cake was an Oreo biscuit coated in white chocolate and we loved it. The perfect amount of sweetness, and once you bite through the chocolate, you get the crunchiness of the oreo. The cake was a bit too dry and flaky and was not the absolute best, but they had a vast array of other exciting sweets as well.
We also had the opportunity of trying out Almond Goat Milk (Rs. 150). The goat milk flavour went in perfect harmony with the flavour of the almonds and paired with the bits and pieces of almond in the milk, it was one of the highlights of our night.
Apart from the food, the Food Fest also featured the traditional Kandyan dance, and afterwards, the DJ played the entire night, turning the entrance to the Bogambara prison into a dance floor.
All in all, the Kandy Food Fest is a nice addition to Kandy, and it's a great way for the restaurants to obtain some exposure as well.
We do not know how well the culture police take it, but almost all of Kandy seem to have no complaints.