There was a time when we both hunted down every cafe and restaurant in the city every single weekend. Then life got a little tough and busy (a year back, we didn’t work and Zin knew nothing of uni). But sugar plums, the good thing is that we still say yes to gastronomy adventures. (Like duh? Who wouldn’t?) and chic cafe discoveries. Talking of chic cafes, Colombo’s slaying her cafe game with a mushroom growth of expensive instagrammable cafes that you would have to eat maalu paan for every meal after you’ve dined in. Frankly, we’ve been avoiding places that are too expensive for a meal for two because of two reasons. One is, we’re having travel plans. Two and the most honest reason is, we don’t think paying $$$ to some food is worth it, say, we wouldn’t pay Rs. 700 for a cuppa!
So we’ve been discovering affordable places with great, delicious food lately. Here are three places we fell in love with during last 30 days.
- The Chaat Kade in WA Silva Mawatha
This one has to be our favorite. Kudos to Nathan for discovering this gem of a place. But hey, it’s nothing. He lives just up the road and as soon as he gets off the house, he sees our favorite kade. These guys are taking the Indian street food scene just as it is. It’s nothing fancy, a small kade with a few chairs to sit. The point is, the food here is heavenly delicious. From pani puri and dahi puri to parotta with chicken and beef curries, we love everything here. For the last 30 days, we’ve visited the place five (or more) times and tried almost everything on their little menu. While parotta with Chef’s Special Chicken Curry is Nathan’s favorite, Zin loves Kerala Chilli Chicken Curry the most. She also tried dahi puri here for the first time and rasmalai, for dessert. It’s nothing but real Indian street food you wouldn’t find anywhere else in Colombo.
The kade is run by a group of guys who do their regular 9-5. So the place is up and running only after 5pm or 6pm until 10 at night. People block the small space as the sun sets by, painting skies in magentas and dreamy violets. And our ideal everyday date is to grab ourselves three plates of parotta with three different curries: Kerala Chili Chicken, Chef’s Special and Beef Korma and a plate of dahi puri, sit in a corner on a plastic chair in our favorite small kade. Watch people passing by as we indulge in heavenly flavours. We finish it off with a masala chai. The cooked tea with flavours of Indian spices including cardamom feels ten times better. Zin’s never loved cardamom until she drank chai with cardamom. And if heaven was one meal, this must be it.
- BlackBird Brekkie and Brunch
A few months ago, bubble tea was Colombo’s instagram craze. Even before, vegan food kicked in. While both are doing still fairly well in the globally recognized photo sharing app that’s instagram, brunch said hiiiiiii to the capital although it always existed. Blackbird Brekkie and Brunch is Colombo’s newest brunch place. And we loved it so much during our first visit that we made plans for a visit again.
Nathan sure knows how to do life so he took Zin here at 7 in the morning, just 2 hours before work. It took us about one hour to reach BlackBird and we blame nothing but Colombo traffic. We ordered the classic English breakfast and Sri Lankan breakfast with pol roti.
Pol roti with chicken curry, lunu miris and Lankan omelette tasted so good that it reminded us of the pol rot we had at Olde Empire Cafe in Kandy. The full English was a classic. Filling, delicious and it could compete with the brekkie Nathan once made Zin, but, only to finish second.
They’ve got a wide range of breakfast dishes including Arabic brekkie, waffles and healthy muesli with yogurt, They also have a range of sandwiches, coffee, shakes and smoothies.
Pro Tip: With English, Sri Lankan, Arabic brekkies and homemade muesli + yogurt, you get unlimited tea. Double yay!
- Mandarina Hotel
Mandarina is a newly opened luxury (the affordable kind) hotel in Colombo. We’ve not stayed there (yet) but one day we stopped by to try their berry cake. We have a love and hate relationship with Colombo’s cake shops, but this time, it was love, and only love. The berry cake was soft, delicate and smooth. The raspberry and strawberry flavours mixed well together, and we would say we were ecstatic.
Stay tuned for our next gastronomic adventures. We’ve got plenty to tell.
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