Finding the perfect dish when dining out in the city is no easy task. You need to know what is available. More importantly, you need to know what is great.
I’ve put together a list of my favourite dishes in the city. Next time you feel like dining out, these are definitely worth checking out. Here are some delicious choices that offer great value for money.
1) The Moroccan Chicken Cous Cous Salad at The Boulevard priced at Rs. 550 which is a meal in itself. The cous cous is cooked to perfection and well flavoured with three kinds of bell peppers, onions, parsley and topped with aubergine and chicken.
2) The Seared Calamari and Avocado Salad at The Havelock Place Bungalow priced at Rs. 400 which is drizzled with a generous amount of olive oil and a home-made dressing which is absolutely top class. The avocado is fresh and the calamari has a smoky flavour and isn’t over cooked. This is appetizer size and you can combine it with another snack on their menu or a main meal if you are ravenous.
3) The Strawberry Salad at Coco Veranda is another salad that is absolutely tasty and will have you wanting more – it is a bit pricey at Rs. 720 however given the fact that it has strawberries, almonds, feta and bell pepper. They don’t stinge on the ingredients so if you’re looking for something healthy and tasty this would be it.
4) The Asian Beef Noodle Salad at 41 Sugar is another must try salad priced at Rs. 500. It is fresh and crispy with just the right balance of bean sprouts, noodles, veggies and beef.
5) The Greek Salad at Sugar Bistro and Wine Bar is another delicious, tasty and healthy choice if you like generous amounts of feta and olives in your salad. It is a meal in itself and priced at Rs. 400 it will not bust your budget.
1) Batticaloa Prawn Curry at Sugar Bistro and Wine Bar is really something special. Served with a mock yellow onion rice, salad and papadam and for Rs. 850 I’d say this is a decent amount to pay for an entrée. The other dish I would wholeheartedly recommend is the Penne in Gorgonzola Sauce with Broccoli and Mushrooms; remember to ask them to be generous with the broccoli and mushrooms because if you’re a vegetarian and this is your main meal you might want a little more veggies and less pasta. It’s priced at Rs. 600 which is extremely reasonable considering the size of the portion.
2) The Portuguese Seafood Rice and the Baked Crab at 41 Sugar are two more dishes that will leave you feeling satiated and is absolute value for money as the Portuguese Rice is full of cuttlefish, fish and prawns and the baked crab is an extremely generous portion of crab baked in pie crust and served with a deliciously fresh garden salad. Both dishes are priced at Rs. 1,000 and I believe it is absolute value for money.
3) I also love chicken and I love mushrooms and therefore this list would not be complete if I do not tell you about the absolutely delectable Grilled Chicken at 41 Sugar served on a bed of herb infused creamy mushrooms with a baked potato and salad for Rs. 850 – it is truly divine, the portion is large so you can even share this with another person.
4) Grilled Salmon in Lemon Butter Sauce at The Boulevard is another one of my favourites as the salmon is grilled to perfection, the lemon butter sauce is creamy but not too rich and the mashed potatoes and veggies compliment this dish very well. Priced at Rs. 1,400 it is not really an everyday luxury but if you want to treat yourself this would be a good option.
5) If it is a lunch time treat that you are after I would recommend you hop over to the Barefoot Garden Café between 12.30 to 2.30pm and check out their daily lunch specials priced from Rs. 7,00 to Rs. 1250 (inclusive of taxes). A few that I have tried so far are the Grilled Prawns, The Thai Red Curry Chicken and the Seared Tuna with Grilled Vegetables and Mash.
6) If it is a quiet romantic dinner in the garden that you’d prefer the ideal place for that would be the Havelock Place Bungalow. They have a daily specials menu ranging from Rs. 975 to Rs. 1,400 and they have something for everyone as the menu has a pork, beef, chicken, seafood and vegetarian option every night. The food has always been consistently good and you will never ever feel disappointed with what’s on your plate as the chef keeps on dishing up the most delicious food I have tasted in the city.
7) If you’re in a mood for Japanese I would go with Nihonbashi – yes it is pricey but when it comes to quality they do not compromise and you pay for what you order and the ingredients are fresh. My favourites are the Salmon Sashimi (Rs. 760), Nihonbashi Tei Bento (Rs. 1,800) and the Okonomiyaki (Rs. 600).
8) Another place I would recommend for dinner is Qbaa – I’ve had the Jerk Marinated Pork Chops with Pineapple and the Mustard Prawns Wrapped in Bacon both of which are truly divine if you love pork and bacon like myself! The portion of pork chops is large and two people can share it as there are three medium sized pork chops and the sauce was top class and just Rs. 850. The Mustard Prawns are better for an appetizer and not a main meal but truly delicious at Rs. 980.
1) When it comes to dessert in this city I am absolutely biased as I love The Gallery Café and I believe they have the best desserts in the Asia Pacific Region barring Australia of course. They are pricey however the desserts are absolute value for money and the quality of all their desserts are consistent and for me as a consumer that is what I will always look for. My top picks are the Via Paradiso, the Dulce de Leche Cheesecake and the Chocolate Nemesis. All three are priced at Rs. 675 plus taxes which works out to Rs. 850 per dessert but it is totally worth it and it is not everyday that you would treat yourself to dessert at the Gallery Café.
2) If you’re a Tiramisu fan La Trattoria in Battaramulla has the best Tiramisu I’ve tasted on the island – it is not as good as the stuff in Italy but it comes a close second and the portion is humongous – enough for 3 people to share and priced at Rs. 500.
3) The Park Street Mews has a divine Chocolate Mud Pie for all you chocoholics – it is served with home-made Orange Ice-Cream and it melts in your mouth; you’ve got to try it and priced at Rs. 400 it will not bust your budget.
4) The Carrot Cake at Barefoot is another must have and it is the best I have tasted. Carrot cake has never tasted better! You get a large slice of cake topped with vanilla frosting although carrot cake is meant to be frosted with cream cheese frosting. It’s Rs. 500 and the portion is large enough for two people to share. It’s absolutely divine and would be good for a TGIF treat.
5) The Gooey Chocolate Pot of Goodness at Sugar Bistro and Wine Bar is another one of my favourites. It’s a pot of heavenly chocolate mixed with hints of orange and served with a dollop of whipped cream. Priced at Rs. 400 it’s an absolute treat and you will love it.
NB: This article was written for Esteem Magazine and published in their March/April 2014 issue. All photographs are taken by the author; all rights reserved.