FREE OCT / Instant Noodles Floating Market Quick Thai and more. Cloud Red and ON14 change the Colombo skyline

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1 FREE 1 OCT / Instant Noodles Floating Market Quick Thai and more Cloud Red and ON14 change the Colombo skyline

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4 4 DOMENICO s 191, Thimbirigayaya Road, Colombo BY BHAGYA Domenico s is a brand new pizzeria in Thimbirigasyaya. We think their pizzas are on par with some of Colombo s best. FOOD Walking into the restaurant we were greeted by a familiar face. That was none other than Domenico himself, whom we recognized because he was the former chef at Santoré. Even though it has barely been two weeks since they opened up everything on their pretty extensive menu was available. Looking at the menu, the first thing we noticed was how competitive the pricing was. They ve got a great range of 13 pizzas starting at Rs. 990 and going up to Rs for their premium range. Besides the conventional Italian pizzas they ve also got some interesting choices like polos, curry chicken and tandoori cuttlefish. After our initial visit (which wasn t planned), we decided to have some pizzas delivered to YAMU HQ. We ordered the bacon and mushroom (Rs. 1500) and smoked salmon pizza (Rs. 1950). At 13 these pizzas were quite massive (bigger than the one we had at Santoré), and enough for 2-3 people. The two pizzas we got were shared among 5 of us at the office. We also really appreciated the fact that they didn t skimp on the toppings. We will say they aren t the most authentic because they use chicken bacon as opposed to prosciutto (pork based) which is what you d find in truly authentic Italian cuisine. In spite of that small gripe the pizza still tasted good. The topping covered pretty much the entire base of the pizza and the mozzarella worked well with the mushroom to add some creaminess. The smoked salmon pizza came with zucchini, mozzarella and a good amount of fresh cream drizzled on top. Since smoked salmon is a somewhat rare commodity here, we were expecting shredded pieces of salmon but we were pleasantly surprised to find quite large pieces on each slice. The zucchini also added a nice texture while the fresh cream helped balance the flavours beautifully. We also ordered a portion of their bruschetta, which is bread soaked in extra virgin olive oil, topped with tomatoes and oregano. Now I m not a huge fan of tomatoes but this tasted amazing. Even though it only had a few simple ingredients, all of them worked well together. AMBIENCE & SERVICE Domenico s is a small place with seating for around only 15 people since they re trying to focus on delivery as well. The interior is very simple

5 5 with white walls and wooden furniture. What s nice, though, is the fact that the pizza oven also happens to be in the same room so you can see your pizza being made then and there. We can t really gauge the level of service at Domenico s yet because we had the pizzas delivered. However, during our short visit we did get the chance to speak to the manager who was very polite and took the time to talk to us about the menu. CONCLUSION Affordable Italian pizzas aren t really something you come across quite often but Domenico s is looking to change that by offering a varied menu that caters to every wallet (their words, not mine). We think their pizzas are on par with some of Colombo s best. Seeing as how they ve only been opened for two weeks, we ve got high hopes.

6 6 CAFE JAPAN 7, 10th Lane (off Marine Drive), Kollupitiya BY BHAGYA Cafe Japan is probably the best place to experience Japanese home cooking in Colombo. It s also not too hard on the wallet with the prices ranging between Rs Rs for most dishes. This was one of the first times that we ve received portions with so many elements that we had a hard time getting it all in a single photo (all of which tasted great). We tried out the katsudon with soba noodles and prawn (Rs. 2000), which has two main components, both quite large and filling. The katsudon is a bowl of rice topped with either deep fried pork/chicken cutlets, egg and some condiments, while the soba noodles come in a large bowl with a light broth, nori (seaweed) and prawns. The katsudon was the highlight of the dish with the pork cutlet being seasoned perfectly and cooked to the point where it just melts in your mouth. The soba noodle broth also tasted great and helped enhance the flavour of the prawns. No visit to a Japanese restaurant is complete without trying out their sushi, so we also ordered the assorted nigiri (Rs. 2000). At most other places you d just get the platter of sushi, here we got the 10 piece sushi, salad, miso soup and tonkatsu (breaded fried pork). The sushi had just the right wasabi hit to it and the fish used was very fresh. The only problem we came across was that some of the sushi broke apart if we held it a little too tightly with the chopsticks. The tonkatsu was slightly different from the pork cutlet in the katsudon because it came with a mustard dipping sauce. AMBIENCE & SERVICE Before we get to the interior, we have to mention that finding this place can be tedious. There s pretty much no sign outside the restaurant. So look for an open garage and small sign right outside the door. This is more or less a house that s been converted to a restaurant. While the location makes it pretty difficult to find, it also makes for a great place to have a more private meal. There was a local waiter on our previous visit (which was on a weekday), but that was a while ago. This time around it was the owner who was waiting on the tables. She was all smiles, very courteous and took the time to make some suggestions when we asked her. All in all a very pleasant experience. CONCLUSION Not many people know of Cafe Japan, but those who do, know that it s some of the best Japanese home cooking you can experience in Colombo. The portions are large, the service is good and it s a great place for a private meal. It s easily worth the effort of finding the place.

7 7 kebabish 91, Galle Road, Dehiwala BY BHAGYA Kebabish is a new street side restaurant in Dehiwala that offers South Asian and Mediterranean cuisine. They may be a small place but they re big on taste. These guys have only been open for around a month so they told me that their current menu was a temporary one. It s still pretty decent although it does lack a bit of variety, but every dish on the menu is under Rs. 450, so you can stuff your face without having to worry too much about the bill. When we did our biryani showdown we mentioned that we may have missed out on some lesser known establishments, and this was definitely one of them. Their chicken biryani (Rs. 250) would easily have found itself in our top 5. The biryani was served with 2 mint chutneys and a raita, with an adequately large piece of chicken. While the chicken was cooked well and tasted pretty great, the rice was what really stood out. The long grain basmati was light and fluffy with just the right seasoning and spice. We would happily have eaten just the rice with nothing else. When we asked them what was special about the rice they told us that they used Pakistani Tilda rice which is apparently a type of long grain bhasmati that is very difficult to find. The raita was nothing special but the mint chutneys complemented the biryani perfectly. For dessert we tried out their watttalapam (Rs. 60). It tasted pretty decent with a good texture but lacked a bit of sweetness. AMBIENCE & SERVICE Unfortunately, we dropped in at 3.30pm, which is an odd time, so they didn t have their namesake kebabs available. We have heard good things about it though, and after their impressive biryani, we re definitely hopeful. When you see the restaurant from the outside it doesn t really look that different from your average street side shop but the interior is clean and well maintained. What struck us as odd was that there was only seating for around 10 people, with the kitchen actually taking up more space than the actual dining area. When we asked them, they told us that they intend to move the kitchen further back to increase seating, but for the time being we suggest you get take away. The staff here was really pleasant, welcoming and spoke good English. It was also nice to see the manager going around asking the customers for feedback. CONCLUSION Kebabish isn t your run of the mill street side restaurant. They re a small place that has room for improvement, but their biryani is one of the best we ve had in a while. We ll try the kebabs next.

8 8 QUICK THAI 424A, Pannipitiya Road, Pelawatta Quick Thai serves up a range of affordable Thai dishes that are low on refinement, yet big on taste, from its modest, but elegant Pelawatta premises. BY FIDEL FERNANDO Food There are more highfalutin Thai restaurants in town, but this is more like rockstar Thai food the kind that delivers the cuisine s trademark big flavours, if with a disregard for subtlety and balance. Powerful notes of lemongrass, kaffir lime leaf, and Asian basil come rolling out like guitar riffs, one after the other in their curries, but the steady beat of the dry spices like ground cumin and coriander give each mouthful a little depth and shape. We had ordered the mango salad and chicken in pandan (rampe) leaf for starters, with a red chicken curry and a beef in basil stir-fry for the mains. No dish stood out, but none were a let-down either. The mango salad was tart, fresh and spicy; the beef and chicken curry were hitting most spots on the palate. Everything works like it should, but don t expect there to be much fine-tuning. Quick Thai dishes are like what a show from your favourite band might sound like, only the audio engineer is still hungover from the previous night. If there has been some allowance for the local tastes, it has not been with an extra spoonful of palm sugar, which is the case with some other Thai joints in Colombo. Quick Thai dials up the spice instead. Both our mains were spiked with an army of green chillies, split in half, and the red curry loaded with clusters of green peppercorn that added another level of kick to the whirl of intense flavours.

9 9 Is it authentic? Who is to tell? The sophisticated touches are missing, but in spirit at least, Quick Thai captures the ethos of the Bangkok hawker stand: a familiar mix of fresh, good-quality ingredients are thrown haphazardly together, with the flavours expected to do the rest. AMBIENCE The restaurant itself is a little nicer than a roadside eatery at least there are fewer visible rats. The layout is simple, and the service is as quick as you would expect from an establishment that seats only about 30 people. It might not be your go-to spot for a big celebration, but it s a dependable midweek meal out, or a handy choice for a nice lunch, if you re in the area. Delivery, though, seems to be Quick Thai s major business arm. As we ate, bagged parcels were flying at the door at a much greater rate than food was being delivered to tables. CONCLUSION Given the price, and the kind of food the place provides, it s easy to see why Quick Thai is an attractive option for nights in. With the service charge, our meal for two came in at under 3500 rupees. If you re with a larger group, it would probably be cheaper per person. TIP If you live in the west and don t fancy a trip out to the eastern reaches of town, fret not. Quick Thai have announced a location at Nondescripts Cricket Club, in Colombo 7.

10 10 THE BREAD COMPANY 461, Thimbirigasyaya Road, Colombo The Bread Company in Thimbirigasyaya is the newly opened bakery by the Good Market favourites. They ve still got all the different breads they offered at the Good Market, but now they also offer a whole range of other baked goods, homemade jams and pickles. BY BHAGYA Food The establishment is actually a collaboration between 3 small entities, namely The Bread Company, Brown Bean Coffee and Green Chilli Pastries (who will be joining shortly). To those who haven t been to their stall at the Good Market, the Bread Company makes some pretty great sourdough, rye and nutty breads which they bake throughout the day. Now they also offer a range of sandwiches, jams, pickles and ice teas. All of which are homemade. We also really loved the fact that Brown Bean Coffee is also here, because we ve really come to enjoy their coffee which they import from Peru. We tried the chicken sandwich (Rs. 350), which was one of four sandwiches they had on offer. The sandwich itself is simple with a rye bun, crumb fried chicken breast, some lettuce and a light yoghurt dressing. The beauty of it is that each component was of very high quality. The chicken was crispy, flavoursome and worked well with the yoghurt dressing. However, as with the other sandwich we tried, the real hero was the bun which was freshly baked and lightly grilled. It wasn t very dense either so it absorbed some of the dressing, which added to the flavour while not making the sandwich soggy. The other one that we ordered was their cold cut pork sandwich (Rs. 350). Again the part about the bun being great remains true, and it s also nice to have at least a few places with pork based options. While the sandwiches weren t massive, we found the size to be fine, so unless you re really starving, one should suffice more of-

11 11 ten than not. Besides the two we tried, they also have a cheese sandwich and a prawn omelette sandwich. We also tried out their mixed berry jam (Rs. 650) which had blueberry and red currant in it. This isn t the kind of super sugary jam you come across at super markets. It isn t very sweet because they use a minimal amount of sugar, but the flavour of the berries really comes through beautifully. While Rs. 650 is a bit pricey, we felt it was fair considering the high quality ingredients. AMBIENCE You generally don t expect much service-wise when it comes to bakeries, but these guys are definitely an exception. Everyone is very polite and more often than not you ll find the owner at the counter, and he seemed more than happy to describe their products in detail. If they can keep up their current level of service, they ll have a loyal customer base in no time at all. CONCLUSION As far as first impressions go this is as good as it gets. The food tastes great and the bread is still as good as it was when they started out at the good market. If they keep this up we ll definitely be visiting more often. TIPS They also do excellent sausages and smoked meats which you can order. Also drop in as early as you can because the bread goes out fast.

12 12 the FLOATING MARKET Bastian Mawatha, Pettah BY SHIFANI The Pettah Floating Market opened on the 25th of August to a lot of hype, and it s worth it. The place is another part of Colombo s fancy urban development plan along with Arcade Independence Square, but much more accessible to everyone. Colombo has never had such an amazing hangout space before, and it s affordable. Edit: We dropped in again a few days later and this time around the distinct smell of the Beira lake was far too prominent. In other words, it smelled pretty awful. LOCATION The floating market is a series of pavilions constructed on the far end of the restored Beira lake between the Pettah bus station and the railway station. It s supposed to include about 90 stalls in total - and when we visited, this included electronics, clothes, shoes, jewellery, short-eats, kottu, vegetables and fruits. It s kind of the stuff you d find at Majestic City, except you re shopping next to this glorious lake. the Testa Bake House (1), a cool arched iron bridge (2), and as you head east - electronics (3), clothes, shoes, short-eats (4), Pettah stuff and fruit stalls (5), and finally a food court (6) surrounded by a red-tent hangout space. Boat rides available on weekends (7). The space is a lot of clean wooden boards, grey floors and red terracotta tiles. There s no entrance fee, and you can enter the market at either the west or east end, though the official entrance is on the west side where you get a wood-carved flanking marked The Floating Market and a pier where you cross over from the road to the market. On the west end is the entrance,

13 13 THE SHOPS In the first series of the floating market space you get some awesome mobile, camera and radio equipment stores in the style of the ones at Majestic City The next series has got clothes, shoes and junk jewellery, all pretty affordable (bags for less than Rs and Rs for a nice pair of sneakers). At the very east end, after a stall of Pettah stuff (cheap movies, plastic baby dolls and other knick-knacks) you get a nice stretch of fruit stalls, and also a few fruit and vegetable stalls that are legitimately floating next to the market. If you climb into them they wobble around on the water. THE FOOD The Testa Bake House on the west end of the market has its own square pavilion and you can come here if you want to sit under a large roof and enjoy the view of the lake and the market. You get short-eats, ice cream and tea here, all for just around Rs. 40. You ll come across a bunch of short-eats stops along the floating market that sell good burgers, rolls, soft drinks and so on for around Rs. 30. Hot Cabin is in the second series of pavilions, where you can get fruit juices and also hot-hot kottu for Rs At the far east end you get a Food Court with much of the same stuff, surrounded by a gorgeous mini-park with seating spots, right next to the railway tracks. AMBIENCE Actually, forget about the shops and the food, what makes Pettah s floating market so amazing, is the space itself. The pathways along the stalls are in warm wood and concrete, the tents and roofs are a clean red, and there are lovely benches at intervals alongside patches of grass and planned out trees. Natural 10/10 ambience near sunset time, thanks to the open sky and gorgeous body of water (which even has a couple of fountains). It s all very tastefully done and as far as I know, we ve never had such a cool - and free - place to hang out at in the city. CONCLUSION The Floating Market is a combination of Majestic City/Pettah affordability, easy snacks, drinks and kottu, tasteful design, and a fantastic location by the lake and the railway tracks. To us Sri Lankans, who in Colombo have only Viharamahadevi Park and Independence Square as free public hangouts (and maybe the Arcade, though the shops there are pricey), the Floating Market is as godayata magic as it gets so far.

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16 16 Colombo Gold Center Central Market, Bankshall Street, Pettah BY SHIFANI St John s Fishmarket in Pettah is now a Gold Center. The transformation is one part of Colombo s big urban plan, and as it is now, it s actually a pretty interesting place to visit. The building is totally transformed from the outside, now in clean grey and yellow, with a nicely maintained green lawn. The Gold Center is a posh white marble complex on the inside, full of Colombo s top jewellery outlets. This is only on the ground floor though - and the rest of the building could not care less: there s still the old Pitraban bookstore, thrift shop vendors and fishing equipment upstairs, and from the top there s a great view of the colour and mismatch of the Pettah marketplace. THE COMPLEX This is Colombo s only Gold Center - all your jewellery stores in one place. When you walk in, it s all sparkly white marble and black Gold Center - Pettah flags hanging from the ceilings. The place is said to have 80 stalls in total - some of the big ones we saw were Swarnamahal, Gold Emporium, Beverley, Ariyawansa, Saravana, Earl s Court and Stone & String. The stores have a selection of gold, gold-plated, silver, crystal and gem-work jewellery, and teams of consultants to help you with your choice. The ground floor is entirely stores and open space, and if you walk in and take the escalators upstairs, you ll find a few more stores and a Testa Bakehouse food court. A lot of the jewellery dealers here are from their main shops in Pettah s central market, we were told. One of the shopkeepers told us they think the complex is a convenient solution for a lot of Sri Lankans, and that the middle class is increasingly preoccupied with gold and silver jewellery for their weddings and parties. The stuff at the Gold Center is worth from about Rs. 2,000 all the way up to a couple of lakhs, even crores. ALL THAT GLITTERS... St John s Fishmarket may be gone, but the ghost of it still remains in the upper floors of the building. If you take the right or left wing stairs around the sides of the building, and go up, you ll

17 17 find fishing equipment, chemical suppliers and a few travel agencies along long corridors that are much the same as before, minus the smell of fresh fish. You ll find the old St John s Fishmarket plaques still on a wall here, now smeared with brown paint (there s a new plaque inside the Gold Center). There s also still this massive yellow-brick tower in the middle of the first floor. We re not sure what it s for - any guesses? [Editor s Guess: House Of The Undying] Around the tower are a bunch of random shops - Cake City, communication centers, the presumptuous Hotel for Delicious Foods. It s overall a dingy sort of space with the same dodgy old staircases (people sleeping near them included) - hasn t changed much since the Fishmarket days. If you go up to the second floor, you still get people selling clothes and stuff in the corridor, Pitraban bookshop where you can get cheap textbooks and random novels, a photo studio and tiny accessory shops. You ll also find these hand-painted stall guides on the walls that have been there since forever. Then there s this view of quirky, colourful Pettah from the top floor. CONCLUSION The Gold Center in Pettah is an interesting place to be at these days. The ground floor complex is beautiful and modern, and the rest of the building is from another time that refuses to move along. It s the best place to go for serious jewelery shopping, and to just have a look around and marvel at the way the old and the new co-exist in a changing city.

18 18 The Great Instant Noodle-Off If you grew up in Sri Lanka, chances are you went through a Maggi phase at some point in your life. If you re a college student who s moved abroad you re probably in that phase right now. It is everybody s favourite fast food here, and once Prima joined in, the supermarket stalls were filled with different kinds of instant noodles to pick from. But how to decide? Now you have a guide and, honestly, you owe us one. We can t believe we ate all these instant noodles. 1 Maggi s Devilled Chilli Chicken was our number one. To us it struck the right balance between simple and aggressive. It actually tastes like chicken and has a satisfying amount of spice for the Sri Lankan palate. For our money (Rs. 49), it s the best instant noodle experience. 2 Prima s Chicken is a creamier version of the chicken noodle classic. It s got a thicker noodle and full taste. It ain t bad. (Rs. 47). Contains something weird called Nature Identical Chicken Flavour and MSG, but what makes it stand out is the use of non-dairy creamer. 3 Maggi s Chicken is a classic. You won t be disappointed but it is a compromise. A bit too salty/savory to actually taste light and not as punch-in-your-mouth flavorsome as the oilier options. This one ups the savory with MSG and soya sauce to deliver classic noodle satisfaction. (Rs. 48)

19 # Noodle Brand Feelings 1 Devilled Chicken Maggi h 2 Chicken Prima d 3 Chicken Maggi d 4 Devilled Kottu Maggi d 5 Hot & Spicy Prima d 6 Chicken Hot N Spicy Prima A 7 Devilled X-Tra Maggi A 8 Curry Maggi A 9 Masala Prima A 10 Cheese & Onion Prima r 11 Kurakkan Prima w 12 Prawn Prima w 19 4 Maggi s Devilled Kottu has no real resemblance to kottu, instead being a Chinese take on noodles. Which - in its own blunt way - works. (Rs. 49) 5 Prima s Hot & Spicy is a sweet, Chinese style instant noodle. Might be over-sweet for some, but it delivers what it promises. (Rs. 48). This is classic instant noodle. 6 The Chicken Hot N Spicy is neither chickeny nor spicy. It looks and tastes plain and our sample had leaked in the package. This is OK but there are better options. (Rs. 48) 7 Maggi s Devilled X- Tra is a strong, spicy and, for us, overpowering experience. If you want the most extreme noodle experience available, this is it. (Rs. 60) 8 Maggi s Curry uses MSG, which gives it a good savory umami hit, but the curry flavors are somewhat unbalanced. (Rs. 47). Our overall impression was meh. 9 Prima s Masala is vaguely true to its name but not overall impressive. If you like these flavors normally, give it a go. It left us unoffended but unimpressed. (Rs. 48).

20 20 Prima s Cheese & Onion 10 tastes barely like cheese and nothing like onion. Sadly this is still mainly salt and sugar with cheese flavour the 10th ingredient and onion the 14th. In the end we were just sad. (Rs. 48). Shifani: NO CHEESE AND ONION. LIES AND DECEPTION. Also salty. 11 Prima s Kurakkan smells dusty and strong and tastes mainly of salt. This made us unhappy. (Rs. 55) Indi: Smells like the zoo. Tastes like kurakkan covered in salt, which is the worst of both worlds. You get the crappy healthy taste and the crappy unhealthy taste. Prima s Prawn Flavour just 12 smells too fishy, and the taste is overly salty and sugary. This made us unhappy. (Rs. 49) Indi: Smells like the business end of the sea. So bad. Tastes like it smells. Could only have one bite. This actually tastes like a fish market. Which is a bad thing. DISCUSSION Maggi is the pioneer of the instant noodle movement - but Prima came in with a whole lot of varied stuff on the shelves. Who s better? The Chicken Category Maggi Chicken is probably the most popular purchase at the supermarket. Can t complain about this one - hit of MSG, not too salty, good for what it is. Neither Maggi nor Prima gave off much chicken flavour. Prima (Stella Chicken) and Maggi taste completely different. Prima noodles are generally longer and thicker as opposed to the twirly short strands of Maggi. This particular dish was creamy and thick, not so oily, and didn t taste so blatantly instant-junk-food as the rest. We enjoyed this and considered it one of the best of the lot. Winner: Prima The Spicy Chicken Category Maggi Devilled Chilli Chicken is a great choice if you want chicken flavoured instant noodles. There s the strong smell and taste of chicken in this one without there actually being any chicken (sorcery), it s spicy and not too oily. This tasted great and is another best on our list. Prima Kottu Mee chicken was actually a let-down - it tasted relatively bland, didn t have chicken flavour in it, and was too salty (also the packaging was faulty in ours - leaked oil). Winner: Maggi Sweet & Spicy Both Maggi (Devilled Kottu) and Prima (Hot & Spicy) in this department delivered - the dishes tasted and smelled spicy, and were more similar in texture than the other comparisons. The noodles come out darker and look ominous in the pan after seasoning. A good choice for spicy fast food, though it s quite sweet too, so you might not want to eat too much. Winner: Tie The Heavyweight Title Maggi Devilled X-tra is hands-down the spiciest instant noodles on the shelf. The taste and odour is very strong though, almost pungent, so this is only for the hardcore. Prima Kottu Mee is the only instant noodles on shelves, as far as we know, that offers a variety in a usable cup, although less weighty and more pricier than the rest. You can boil it in the cup itself and it comes with a fork. Winner: Maggi CONCLUSION Too much instant noodles is bad for you (we figured this much after downing so many variations of it). But it s undeniably tasty and a dream come true for those of us who need to eat but don t want to cook. Prima has more variety as in different kinds of packets on the shelf, but overall Maggi is more consistent when it comes to tasting good.

21 21 PLAYTRIX No 28, Malalasekara Mawatha, Colombo BY BHAGYA Playtrix is the new sports bar at CR & FC, and it s a welcome change from the generic bars in Colombo. They ve got more than 15 flat screen TVs showing any and all sports events happening around the world, with good food and a great atmosphere. AMBIENCE & SERVICE CR & FC has had a mediocre run in terms of bars and clubs during the past few years. Playtrix now occupies the space that formerly housed the likes of Privé and more recently Kamikaze. While it may seem like the space is cursed, we feel like Playtrix is here to stay. They re unique in just right way, and having a sports bar at a sports club just makes good sense. They ve got around 10 or so large, comfy and colourful couches with at least one large flat screen each showing different sports events happening locally and internationally, all in HD which you won t find at other bars. The place had quite an impressive crowd considering the fact that word about them is still only just getting out. They even had a small beer pong tourney the night we went, which was great since it got the entire crowd involved (also the beer was free!). All in all it feels like Playtrix is going to be a hit with both sports lovers and bar lovers alike. Also they had quite a good girl-to-guy ratio which is a rarity at any Sri Lankan bar or club. The service is still a bit wonky in the sense that the waiters are quite inexperienced and haven t quite familiarized themselves with the menus yet, but that s often the case with most new establishments. Hopefully they ll have that sorted in due time. Besides that, the waiters themselves were friendly and seem to enjoy their work, which is always nice to see. FOOD As far as bars go, the food menu at Playtrix is pretty good, with bites coming to around Rs. 500 and mains ranging between Rs Rs It s not the cheapest place by any means, but they do give pretty big portions. Expect to spend around Rs with drinks. The playtrix burger (Rs. 700) is their take on a chicken burger. It comes with a side of fries and coleslaw. You can choose to add bacon strips and cheese for a bit extra (which we obviously did). Overall the burger tasted good but we felt the patty could have used a bit more seasoning and spice. If you choose to top it with bacon you won t feel it as much because of the saltiness of the bacon.

22 22 We also tried their jumbo hot dog (Rs. 700). As far as hot dogs go it tasted pretty good but there isn t much else for us to say. We did like the fact that it was topped with a good amount of cheese and had caramelized onions under the sausage, which gave it a nice mix of textures. DRINKS Drinks here were a bit pricey, with shots starting at Rs. 600 going up to around Rs. 1000, and cocktails ranging between Rs Rs After a few beers we got a round of kamikazes (Rs. 600) which is vodka, triple sec and lime juice. They tasted just as a kamikaze should, but the heavy citrus flavour isn t for everyone. If you re looking for something to jump start your evening after a long day of work, this will most likely get the job done. CONCLUSION We think Playtrix have got a great theme going for them, and they seem to be amassing quite a following. However, they need to brush up on the service for the time being. If you re a sports lover and you re looking for a place to catch a match with some friends, we can t think of a better place. TIPS They charge a Rs cover on game nights, which is when a major sports event is happening and the place tends to get crowded.

23 23 CLOUD RED (CINNAMON) 59 Ananda Kumaraswamy Mawatha, Colombo BY BHAGYA Cloud Red at Cinnamon Red is the newest and highest rooftop bar in Colombo. The view from the top is spectacular, their cocktails are good and so is the food. The drinks are a bit pricey, but with the ambience we don t really mind. THE LOCATION Back in June when we checked out ON14 we felt that they had the best view in the city. Now however, we think the bragging rights go to Cloud Red with their 360 degree view of Colombo. Depending on where you choose to sit, you can see Colombo city, the harbor or the ocean. We d say the best time is between 5.30 pm to 7.00 pm, so you can catch the sunset. We dropped in a bit later, so we got to see Colombo in all of it s night time glory with the city-lights and rush hour traffic buzz. You don t really realize how colourful Colombo is at night until you see it from the top. Cloud Red has a very relaxed atmosphere with comfy seating and contemporary jazz. The roof top is spacious enough to move around without feeling sardined. The downside is that rain can ruin an evening, and the indoor enclosure is quite small (it s supposed to be wine cellar), so wouldn t be able to accommodate the full crowd. They ve only been open for a little over a week now so they re still putting the finishing touches on the place. Candles were one thing that was missing on the night we went, but we were informed that they d be ready by next week. The service was actually pretty fast and the waiters were very attentive and knew the ingredients in the cocktail menus which is pretty impressive. FOOD & DRINKS They ve got a pretty good selection of both local and imported alcohols with the quintessential Lion Beer bottle coming to Rs Their cocktail menu isn t quite ready so the waiters will read out what they ve got, and if you have something particular

24 24 in mind you can tell them and they ll have it made with the stuff you like. We don t know of many places that does that, so kudos. The bull frog (Rs. 900) tasted great and was our pick of the cocktails. It s an interesting drink with a bunch of different stuff that includes blue curacao, vodka, rum and tequila. So pretty much all the good stuff. What we liked was that it had a great balance of flavour and hit. We also tried their Long Island iced tea (Rs. 900). This one was milder than the ones we ve had at other bars but it still tasted fine. Now Rs. 900 for cocktail is definitely at the higher-end of the scale, but these were the tallest glasses we ve gotten anywhere in Colombo, and it s not the thin type, so you ll be getting plenty of alcohol. As far as food goes they only have a tapas menu, but they ve got some decent variety and interesting fusions. We tried the prawns wrapped in bacon (Rs. 850), which was excellent. I never realized how well prawns and bacon worked together until we tried this. The prawns were cooked perfectly, wrapped in a strip of bacon and presented on a skewer, making it easy to eat in one bite. Maybe a few more than 5 would have helped the cause though. CONCLUSION After just a week of opening Cloud Red seems to be one of the best places in Colombo to have a drink, relax and enjoy an epic view of the city. They ve got a few loose ends to tie up but once that s done, we can see this becoming one of Colombo s most popular hang out spaces.

25 25 on14 (ozo colombo) OZO Colombo Rooftop, 36-38, Clifford Place, Colombo BY INDI ON14 is the rooftop bar of the new OZO hotel. The view is amazing, the cocktails are good and the food, well, let s just say that the menu is adventurous. THE LOCATION What a view. We still have a soft spot for the Grand Oriental, but for height and splendor, ON14 is a wonderful venue. From their spot on what we assume is the 14th floor, you can see the new port stretching out in the distance and Bambalapitya on down. It s a great place to catch the sunset and then back in the car-lights off all the suckers trying to leave the city while you re having a cocktail. In case of rain they can also move you inside. The bar there is tastefully and intelligently designed. As soon as you exit the elevators (excellent elevators btw) you get a beautiful reveal - the port framed in a picture window. They have a chandelier which changes color, and not in a cheesy way. Added bonus, if you re seated at the window looking out, you can see the reflection of the TV. This means you can watch cricket over the skyline. It should be more common, but ON14 also has one of the only rooftop pools in the city. We think it s only really for day-time swimming though. THE FOOD & DRINKS We ll start with the drinks, which are all pretty good. We tried a few and for us the stand-out was the Espresso Martini (Rs. 820). Just the right amount of coffee and sweetness, and beautifully presented. We also tried the Pearl Of Sri Lanka, the Marine Drive (both Rs. 820) and the Tuk-Tuk (Rs. 1,100). They were all good but we honestly can t remember which was which. They do a solid Bloody Mary (Rs. 820), which is rare in this town. The food is another story.

26 26 We started with golden fried cheesy balls (forgot the name, something like that - Rs. 650) which were fine. Then we tried a few of the more adventurous things on the menu which went a bit awry. Take the Miang Kam Bai (Rs. 550). This is essentially bulath (beetle leaf) with some sides of onion, cucumber, etc. Bulath is usually kept in the mouth and chewed as a mild narcotic. The way they served it was as a sort of wrap and the waiter said, yes, you do eat it. So I ate it, and felt unpleasant for a while after. We would not recommend this dish. Another item we tried was Wellawahum (Rs. 450), which is a sort of Maldive-fishy pancake. This one was all right, but their Sri Lanka fusion dishes were still a bit too weird to enjoy. We d stick with the more recognizable fare. SERVICE The service here is excellent. They re very friendly and quite helpful and the manager on duty seemed to actively care that everything was going well. CONCLUSION ON14 is an amazing location with excellent cocktails. Great place to wait out the after-work rush. TIPS Head over to ON14 early to enjoy an unhindered view of the sunset over the Indian Ocean Tear Off This Coupon And Present To Rider Harpo s Wood-Fired Thin Crust Pizza SPECIAL OFFER! Buy One Regular (9 ) or Large (12 ) Pizza and enjoy a 50% discount on the 2nd 25 flavors to choose from. Delivery orders only ( Col 1-15) Use the YAMU App to order or call

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