Alexandra & Ward Café

Located at: The Promenade, Odel, 5 Alexandra Place, Colombo 07, Sri Lanka

Visited on: 01 Sep, 2017

Lumprais is something our family enjoys every once in a way and, lately, we have been trying out a few different sources. While visiting Alexandra & Ward Café the other day, we noticed the mention of Lumprais on the menu. Since it was too much to have at that time, we made a mental note to check it out some time later – which we did today.

There are two choices of Lumprais at A&W Café: chicken and mixed meat (chicken, beef, pork, mutton); I opted for chicken. Although priced at LKR 1,000 – the highest rate for lumprais that I have come across to date – it didn’t feel any larger than the portions you get at VOC Café (Dutch Burgher Union) (LKR 450 for chicken), Bread Talk (LKR 500) or Sugar Bistro (LKR 800). Of course, being a light eater, this was no issue for me. The serving of chicken was more generous than what you get at VOC and also had a nice flavour to it – albeit a little spicier than what I’d like to have with lumprais. This spiciness poured over into the general taste of the meal which, mind you, is no cause for complaint but possibly slightly overwhelms the flavour of the rice.

Chicken Lumprais

The rice itself was not overly oily – which is great. There were two cutlets and somewhat minimal servings of fried ash plantain, seeni sambol and fried brinjal, definitely less than what I expected for the price paid. The belacan was a disappointment by my standard. Again, a very tiny serving which had been rolled into a tight, near-solid ball that was almost as small as the quarter-cubes that the ash plantains had been cut into. I like to have my belacan moist but crumbly enough to be mixed into the rice, and I definitely like it to come in a decent portion. So would I come back again for the lumprais? Debatable. More inclined towards the negative. Yes, it’s a Dharshan Munidasa restaurant so you have to expect prices to be at the higher end. But this wasn’t an exceptional packet to pay LKR 1,000 for again. I’m glad I tried it and I’m quite content to leave it at that.

The Centella we drank, a gotukola-based beverage which is defined on the portable bottle’s label as “The Ultimate Gotukola Elixir” was quite refreshing. I’m not a massive gotukola fan but I didn’t mind downing some of this. Whether it actually is an elixir or not is a question on its own, but it was nice to try out this interesting, health-friendly concoction that apparently Dharshan himself had come up with. It would, however, be good to have the ingredients mentioned on the label too since it comes with one after all.

Centella, “The Ultimate Gotukola Elixir”

We tried the Chocolate Biscuit Pudding Petit Fours (LKR 200) for dessert. It comes with a choice of toppings – whipped cream, dark chocolate, strawberries or pani cadju. Pani cadju sounded authentic and so we went with that. Disappointing. To begin with, the “decadent Belgian dark chocolate” that the menu description stated seemed like it may have been limited to the written description. It just didn’t come through. The mousse-y chocolate, which tasted more milk than dark, was quite ordinary to say the least. The biscuit was sparse. And the pani cadju turned out to be cut pieces of pani cadju sweet bars that might have been bought at a local supermarket. Utterly disappointing.

I mentioned at the start of this review that I also made a visit to A&W Café “the other day”. Perhaps I should mention here that on that particular day, we tried out the Ciro Pizza by Oro 1889 (LKR 2,200). Although initially a little sceptical about having aubergine in the topping, it turned out to be a good match with the bacon, basil and mozzarella which were the other main ingredients on it. Personally, I don’t necessarily need as much crust as it had on some of the slices, but I understand that this can happen when the dough is hand-stretched. And some people do like a little extra bread in the crust. Which is fine. This one actually seemed to have a little more flavour than an ordinary crust, with the bread chewy on the inside and crunchy on the outside. Now this, I wouldn’t mind having again.

The ambience at A&W Café (visited during daytime on both occasions) is quite airy and relaxed, while a little quirky at the same time – sporting an eye-catching, adorned bird-cage seating area at the centre. It feels open but cosy at the same time and makes a good place to enjoy a long meal with family or a few friends. The staff too are welcoming and courteous and seem to be aware enough of what’s on the menu. Nothing to complain about the service either. So all-in-all it was a pleasant experience and I wouldn’t mind going back to try out some of the other stuff that they offer. Watch this space.

Yummy Rating: 3.5 / 5.0

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