Their main offering is pizzas, but they are terrible.
For a start the pizza crust is all wrong. It appears to be just flour and water similar to the flour mix used to seal the lid of Biriyani pots.
The cheese is like plastic, there is hardly any tomato paste and instead of olive oil they seem to be using some ordinary oil. The pizzas taste quite bad. The Sri Lankan hot chilli pizza is edible as the chillies drown out everything else, but the Italian pizzas are disasters.
They use chopped pieces of spam luncheon meat instead of Ham and Pepperoni. They either don't know the difference or they are knowingly passing it off as their clientele doesn't know the difference .
However the prices at Arthur's are very high - around SLR 2,000/- for a 12" pizza. Even the prices at the high end pizza restaurants in Colombo where they use top quality ingredients are not this high.
1 year ago
The Peppermint cafe is sadly another addition to the fast growing list of lop-sided Colombo restaurants that discriminate against pork eaters and alcohol drinkers. At this rate the people in Colombo will soon have to fly to Dubai, Bahrain, Indonesia. Malaysia or some other Muslim country to eat pork or drink alcohol.
The Peppermint cafe is a recently opened cafe and the first 24/7 cafe in Colombo. However many things here are dishonest. For a start the claim that they are Pet friendly". They are not Pet Friendly. Pets aren't allowed even up to the entrance. We are expected to keep the pets outside in a common open pen and come in without the pets. They expect us to keep our pets outside in a unsupervised common pen open to the sun and rain. The Peppermint cafe is definitely not pet friendly although they falsely claim that they are Pet Friendly. They are "Pet Unfriendly" !
Then the prices on the menu - they are already quite high but on top of that there are all the ++ charges and you are actually charged 30% more than the prices displayed in bold numbers on the menu. Ironically the extra 30% includes a 10% Service charge too although there is no service here except for the plate being delivered to you. You have to queue up at the cashier and you have to pre-pay for your food. Then each time you want something more you have to go all the way back to the Cashier and pay up… Although the prices are high they don't even have cloth napkins. Even paper serviettes aren't given to you unless you find a staff member and ask for them.
The restaurant is upstairs and there's a kiddie's fun slide to slide back down. Of course you can use the steps too. Only the Cashier's room is air-conditioned. The restaurant itself is not air conditioned. As it is upstairs and by a busy road, hot dusty winds blow through. It's also quite noisy with all the traffic that passes by. But they claim that the restaurant isn't air-conditioned because they are an "eco-friendly" restaurant - another lie !. The "eco-friendly" story too is a farce because they aren't doing even the basic things to be an "eco-friendly" restaurant. The straws are plastic, the place mats are plastic, single use plastic cups are used for the desserts, the takeaway containers are plastic etc.etc.
There is no wash room, toilet or even a tap in the Restaurant and as it is basically self service, there are no finger bowls either. The only toilet is downstairs and outside. It's probably the toilet used by the security guards as well and it is quite dirty. There are a few parking bays, but most seem to be taken up by the various types of people strolling in and out of whatever the business downstairs. The security guards are quite rude, hate pets and don't even help with the parking.
Then have a range of drinks called Mojitos which is again another deception. These Mojitos are priced at Rs. 600/- ++ which means we are charged around 800/- for each. At that price one would expect these Mojitos to be classic Mojitos made according to the original recipe. But they are not. Peppermint cafe's Mojitos are just over sweetened coolers at best and they are "Virgin" ! - that's the important word which the cafe conveniently leaves out ! Anyway, these Mojitos are disgusting. Uncleaned mint sprigs float in the glasses, with all the worm eaten leaves and dry leaves intact. Probably trying to be eco- friendly there :)
The milk based drinks are Rs 700/- ++ on the menu but end up costing almost 900/- each. They are watery, too sweet and terrible. The quality of the Coffee however is good and the shots are quite liberal but they are not served at the temperature that coffee should be served.
The breakfast items are small and very unsubstantial for the price charged. The chicken pasta was a large portion but the spicy chicken and the bland pasta wasn't a good marriage. Also, the pasta was under done and the flavour of the chicken was only in the sauce on its surface.
The Butter chicken was nothing like its name. It resembled a Chicken curry for babies - pre boiled chicken cubes in a thin gravy. The gravy wasn't creamy or buttery at all. The 2 little Naans that came with it were like cardboard and obviously from a packet.
Cake slices are extremely expensive. Probably the most expensive in Colombo. The biscuit puddings sold to us were 6 days old !. We knew that as the date of making was marked on them. The cakes don't have any dates marked on them and the situation could be much worse.
Convenient location but lots of things need to be fixed if they want us back.
1 year ago
Super location. Beautiful and cozy ground floor. There is gaming upstairs and its basically a place for kids. There is no alcohol and you aren't allowed to bring your own alcohol. There is no Pork either. The Embazzy adds one more pork-less restaurant to Flower road which already had the Commons, Cricket Club and Mainland China which had already kicked out pork. Therefore the Embazzzy's hyped up Egg benedict comes with fake bacon. But the little thing with grilled chicken spam costs around 1,300/-
You have to queue up at the cashier to order your food. That's OK for kids but that's quite embarrassing and very inconvenient if you take guests there.
They have some interesting smoothies, mocktails and fruit drinks around 500/- each. Food such as burgers, fish and chips, Nasi Goreng etc priced around 1,000/- upwards. Coffee is around 400/- a cup. The food is served hot and is generally palatable but the Burgers are overpoweringly spiced with herbs and the patties appear to be boiled rather than grilled and the bun is limp betraying its lack of freshness. The Nasi Gorengs and the fish and chips are certainly not worth coming back for.
The eclairs at the counter come with almond flakes but they are dry - meaning not fresh. Waffles come with all the addons charged for separately. The coffees are good and goes well with the reasonably priced Choretos which aren’t on the menu.
The prices on the menu are absolutely honest. What you pay is what you see on the menu. No taxes or service charges are added on later. There isn’t much service to speak of anyway. The Stewards basically find your table and drop the food. Hard to draw their attention and paper serviettes etc. aren’t freely available and difficult to get. The crockery is creative and modern but uncoordinated just like the hodgepodge décor that is at odds with the old style building.
1 year ago
They advertise themselves deceptively as a regular normal Steak House but they don't have any alcohol. Not even beer. They won't allow you to bring in your own alcohol either as it is a very strict Halal place. The ethical thing for such places to do is to clearly say in their advertisements that they are a strict Halal Muslim place. Then we won't waste our time going in and we wont have ruined evenings feeling tricked and deceived.
Its off Galle Road on the lane that runs by Amana Bank. The sign on the building says Lee Hedges & Co. The prices on the menu are honest and that's the price you finally pay. It includes taxes and Service charges and there are no surprises. But the prices are high. The basic salads and sandwiches are over 1,000/- and the steaks are around 2,500/- . Mind you this is no fine dining restaurant. The ambiance and service is miles away from any fine dining expectations. The decor, colours and furniture makes one wonder whether this is a kiddies play school during the day and a restaurant only at night.
The steaks on offer are basic. No filet mignons or Steak Dianes etc. They also don't serve pork. Their signature dishes are their long ribs and short ribs. They are smoked, and smoked until they smell and taste of nothing but smoke and smoke only. There is absolutely no beef taste left in them and the meat was over cooked until they had disintegrated into fibers. They just couldn't be eaten. The sauce didn't help either. We felt that the meat had been just pre-boiled, stored, blow torched before serving and not grilled at all. The mash that came with it was absolutely tasteless. It was just mash with no cream, butter or seasoning. The teaspoon of Cole slaw that came with each had no dressing except for a dash of citrus juice. The ribs were a terrible disappointment and a absolute waste of money.
The servings of pasta were large, but the texture was hard and totally flavourless except for the very ordinary sauce poured on it. The dishes were served as an when they were ready and not together. That too went to spoil what could have been an enjoyable evening had we gone elsewhere.
If you want good quality proper steaks stay away from this wanna-be Steak house and go to the Bavarian further down the street or to a coffee shop in a five star hotel - you will get high quality meat, service and ambiance for the same price.
1 year ago
This new location is much better than the old one. Two spacious rooms. quiet, clean and not too busy. Open only from 11 am to 3 pm and then again from 6.30 pm for dinner.
The staff are unsophisticated but down to earth. Not very attentive but helpful. All the basic South Indian vegetarian dishes are available: from Tiffin items, Dosai, Poori to two types of lunch time Thalis. The food is mild and moderate, avoiding the spicy and bland extremes. The Madras coffee is very nice.
However if you order a Thali you have to be assertive. The bowls on the tray are very small and they don't offer refills. Not even a first round of rice. They pretend it is a limited Thali without refills. You have demand your money's worth to get the refills.
Gulab Jamun and Kesari etc are available as desserts. Average cost per head for a drink, meal and dessert is Rs. 1,000/-
They have also thrown in a few Chinese and North Indian vegetarian dishes for good measure, but stick to what they are good at - South Indian fare. There is no alcohol here and they wont let you bring in even a bottle of wine. But the signage here clearly says that it's a "Pure Veg" Restaurant , so that's no surprise. It's to be expected when you walk into such a place.
Anyway, the prices here are the best attraction. The prices are extremely reasonable.
Also the prices on the menu are fairly close to what you finally pay. There is no 30% addition as a surprise.
2 years ago
It's on the corner of Perehara Mawatha and Alvis place and is three incredibly small spaces on three floors. The decor is quaint, pretty and calming with an air of a casual western cafe. The ground floor is too noisy, hot and smelly due to cooking. The 2 upper floors have a relaxing view of the Beira lake. There is free Wifi and air conditioning.
The food is presented as healthy and it is fusion food. Grilled sandwiches on Kurakkan bread at around Rs 800/- is the staple and the most substantial item on the menu. There are also some grilled seafood and bowls of assorted veggies and stuff at around Rs. 1,500/- as mains. It's good for vegetarians but nothing very exciting about the food. There is no meat at all on the menu. Rice and pasta (even organic red rice and rice pasta) seem to have been labelled as unhealthy and kept off the menu. They don't serve alcohol and they don't allow you to bring in even a bottle of wine.
However, there are some very refreshing juice blends freshly blended, combining unexpected ingredients at around Rs. 400/- for a jam jar mug. they come with a very eco friendly paper straw. Unsealed bottles of water with labels that say "Kangen Water" with a ph value of 7 are served without a charge.
The Prices are absolutely honest. The price on the menu is what you actually pay. They don't pad up the bill with 30% small print taxes and service charges as some dishonest restaurants in Colombo do.
The desserts are bought from Bellissima in Attidiya and are limited to the five Biscuit puddings sold by them. They come in a very small single serve bottle at Rs 500/- each and some of the 5 flavours are out of stock. How this very indulgent dessert fits in with the so called Healthy menu of Life Food is a puzzle.
The staff appear to be over stretched and some are outright grumpy and the service is grudging and poor. Probably they are the cooks who are expected to multi task as waiters and cashiers as well. They ask you to come over to the counter to place your order without coming to your table. The juices and the food takes quite awhile to come and is cold when served. No cloth napkins and even the paper tissues are dispensed very stingily, only one or two at a time. Basically you are expected to use the much handled single tissue that has been wrapped around your set of cutlery.
They are open 11 am to 11pm. It's OK for a snack when killing some time in that area but its far too tightly packed for catching up with friends, discussions or family dining.
2 years ago
It’s a converted warehouse and the designers have preserved that feel very well. The roof is high but with no columns and the cross beams chopped off it’s ability to hold up is questionable.
Baskets with fresh ferns have been hung from roof, too high up to water. And naturally they have withered and are almost dead already Monsoon is open only for dinner and reservations are essential on weekends as lots of people are still coming to see this new restaurant.
Many things are good but the three basic essentials are wrong. The food is terrible, the prices are very high and the portions are small. Therefore the novelty will fade soon and no one will return unless they correct their act fast.
For example, one of the popular items on their menu, Beef Rendang, at Rs. 1,500+ per dish had none of the characteristic traditional flavours. It was tasteless with only a roasted cumin (local thunapaha) flavour and nothing else. Instead of the slow cooked solid texture, the beef had a mushy texture indicating quick cooking in a pressure cooker. And instead of a thick spicy gravy, it came barely tossed in a tasteless dip.
The much hyped Crispy BBQ ribs at Rs.1,600+ a portion was a disappointment even visually. The ribs were so small, it could have been the rib cage of a rabbit or even a chicken. It was not crispy at all and the little flaps of ribs were covered in a sickeningly sweet syrup. There was hardly any meat on it to eat. The ribs at Monsoon is a rip off compared to the solid racks of ribs served at the Shangri-La, TGIF and the Bavarian. At those restaurants , the price is much lower and the quality is streaks ahead.
Another much hyped dish, the Fragrant Prawns at Rs. Rs. 1,500+ per plate had only 5 small prawns. That’s the size of a starter at most Chinese restaurants in Colombo and its only half this price in those restaurents. Everything had fried curry leaves which is not at all SE Asian.
The selection of mains on the menu is very limited. The portions are very small, not enough on their own as a meal and they all cost over Rs. 1,500/ - a plate as the restaurant adds a further 30% to the menu prices.
The Desserts are Brownies, Sago pudding and sweet spring rolls. All of them failed to impress. They were obviously pre-made and had been around for awhile. All the food including desserts appear on your table super fast
Some of the chairs are strap chairs. The straps have sagged and they are extremely uncomfortable. The cushioned seats on the wall too are uncomfortable. The only comfortable chairs are the single chairs with cushions and they too aren't that comfortable. A nice toilet has been constructed way up on the wall, but everyone going in or out of it can be seen by everyone in the restaurant.
Bottled water, tonic and soda are reasonably priced. They don’t have a licence to sell liquor. Therefore, they allow you to bring your own wine, spirits and even beer without charging any corkage. Although they don’t sell any alcohol they provide high class service on that front: perfectly chilled white wine glasses, quality red wine glasses, slices of lemon for your gin, ice cubes for the drinks and ice buckets for the wine.
It is rather obvious that whites get special treatment at the Monsoon. The staff too seem to have been instructed to do so. Even the hostess who is very glum with locals s charming with whites and the Aussie floor supervisor and the Stewards too dance around their tables giving them a much better service than they do with locals.
There’s no band but there is very loud music that sets a lively mood. The best thing to do is to take your own drinks and go here for pre-dinner drinks. Have some starters here and move on to a better place for dinner.
2 years ago
The signage now says - The Artisan Bread Company - and the name has probably been changed from the above. Found it open after a very long time. I probably visited them on Mondays, Public holidays or after 6 pm when they are closed.
It’s a quaint, relaxed coffee shop. A no frills unhurried place ideal for a catch up with old friends. Its like sitting in your own country kitchen with staff ever ready to bring food and drinks as and when you want.
Its owned and run by a German family and therefore they have Lovely artisan breads and European style fresh sandwiches. Coffee including Cappuccinos and espressos are under Rs 350/- They also serve fresh juices.
When many Colombo restaurants are chickening out of pork, the Bread Company is a Pork lovers Haven. Flock here for quality pork sausages, Real pork bacon and roast pork sandwiches.
Although it is a very small place, many trained chefs work in the kitchen at any time. So service is fast because it is almost overstaffed but that’s to ensure quality and speed.
They open early, at 7 am for breakfast but close by sunset. A hearty breakfast is around Rs. 1,000/- and many breakfast options are available, and whipped up very efficiently. Their mustard sauce is exceptionally good.
Many items are reasonably priced. For instance, Brownie slabs with walnuts are only Rs. 400/- and Bacon and egg Buns are Rs. 200/- and they are big and also the best Bacon and egg Buns in town with real bacon and lots of stuffing. Hefty made to order sandwiches are Rs450/-. However, the cupcakes at Rs 350/- for a small cup cake is far too expensive. Government taxes are included in all the prices but a 10% Service charge is added even on takeaways.
The messy toilet and the lukewarm coffee really need to be improved but the relaxed setting and the food make up for the shortfalls.
The Bread Company (German Artisan Bakers)
2 years ago
Yummy old favourites
This is probably the only place now in Colombo to get old favourites. Some of the very special unique items are: Homemade Ginger Beer, Mixed meat Lumprais, Ghee rice with Chicken, pork or Beef curry, Beef Smore sandwiches made with old fashioned bread and of course the good old Bacon & Egg pastries with real bacon. All of these are now very hard to get anywhere else in Colombo; particularly the pork delicacies, as there is a underground cold war by religious extremists to get pork removed from Sri Lankan menus.
The Café is airconditioned but it has very few seats. So, unless you go early you have to either sit in the garden or on the verandah of the old building. Both can get very hot during the day. The café doesn’t have alcohol but the main building, which is the Club house, serves alcohol.
The Beef Smore sandwich is to die for. For 400 bucks you get 2 plump sandwiches, with a liberal layer of slow cooked and shredded, high quality beef. The bread is the good old-fashioned type and its spread with just the right amount of mustard and butter. Their Bacon and Egg pastry with real bacon is another hit. The pastry is nice and flaky and crispy. In most other places the pastry is either hard, thick or soggy. Although a tad too salty for me, their Bacon and Egg pastry at Rs 200 is a winner. It is large and generously filled with real pork bacon and a half of a boiled egg. They also have Chicken pies, rolls and vegetable Chinese Rolls (Rs 130). But all these sell out very fast and unless you pick them up in the morning, you may not get any.
Another specialty here is the Lumprais. Other than from places that take private orders this is the only place in Colombo where you can now get a mixed meat lumprais which is the original lumprais. Of course they also have the “chicken only” aberration that’s sold everywhere. VOC cafes lumprais however doesn’t go well with me. At Rs 595/- its far more expensive than at most places, is much smaller and not as tasty as the Lumprais at the Green Cabin or the Fab. Except for a roasted cumin flavour there is no other flavour in the rice and the curries aren’t merged with the rice as happens when the entire Banana leaf packet is cooked and baked in an oven. Both the brinjal fry and the Seeni sambal are over fried and far too sweet and there is no other taste or flavour in them except the sweetness. The Blachan was authentic and lovely. Instead of meat Frikkadels they had two small crumbed and fried vegetable balls (called cutlets in Sri Lanka)
A set menu rice and curry lunch is under Rs 600/- but the portion is rather measly. They have a lovely breakfast: choice of meat curry, dhal curry and coconut sambal with pol roti or old fashioned bread. That’s a real yummy breakfast.
They also sell Love cake , by the slab or per piece, Jaggery cake, ginger and date pudding, Christmas cake and some other sweets.
Unlike many other places that add 30% onto the menu prices as tax and Service charge, the VOC café only adds 10% as taxes, and they don’t levy a Service charge from the customers. There is shady parking under trees if you go early.
VOC Cafe (Dutch Burgher Union)
2 years ago
It's just like eating street food in Vietnam. Even the tattered menus look just the same. The choice is limited and communicating with the Vietnamese staff is a challenge. The food arrives very fast and as and when each dish is ready.
They don't serve alcohol but you can bring in your own bottles corkage free. However as communication is an issue, once the order is placed they bring it on straight away even though you have asked for a 20 minute delay to sip the drinks.
I suppose the only place in Colombo for Vietnamese coffee. The coffee is not as strong as in Vietnam but its still Robusta coffee and the flavour is distinct.
This restaurant is quite inconspicuous and we discovered it only when we came in search of the so called Moroccan restaurant Tajine which is located above this restaurant. Tajine was abandoned; no diners and no waiters. The owner had locked himself up with a cat in the front room. He was more keen about us shutting the door than welcoming us. So we came downstairs and discovered this place.
See the photos for their offerings and prices
2 years ago