Lakpahana Café

Located at: 14 Phillip Gunawardena Mawatha (Reid Avenue), Colombo 07, Sri Lanka

Visited on: 11 Nov, 2017

We had no idea that the little café at Lakpahana did lumprais until a friend mentioned so and recommended that we try it out. And so we did. However – just in case you start making plans for a Sunday lumprais – they don’t do lumprais on Sundays. And they do recommend that you order ahead (I called on the same morning, shortly after they opened at 9.30 am). It was an interesting find. But did it have enough to upstage my soft spot for VOC Café’s lumprais ( Let’s find out.

Of course, the first thing I noticed when I opened my Chicken Lumprais (LKR 450) was the egg. If you’ve read some of my previous lumprais reviews (, you would know what I’m talking about. That out of the way, the next thing that struck me was the waft of spices coming from the rice – the smell of the cardamom and star anise was lovely. I then visually explored the rest of the contents. There was a fresh look about it – possibly stemming from the bright yellow colour of the fried boiled egg, the substantially sized cutlet which had retained most of its globular shape, and the unusual redness of the belacan. Which didn’t look anything like the belacan I’m used to seeing. And also, to my dismay, tasted quite unlike the belacan I know. I wasn’t getting much of the shrimp paste flavour, and you can say there was more than a fair share of chilli pieces (hence the colour). It was more coconut-y than shrimp-y. I can’t say I enjoyed it or that it added positively to the overall taste of the packet.

Chicken Lumprais

It was good to see some fried ash plantain cubes (alu kesel badun) among the condiments – perhaps leaving it a little less fried might have made it easier to mix it into the rice. The onions in the seeni sambol had been cut into cubes rather than the more common half-moon form, the latter of which is also probably easier to mix in. But that’s a trivial matter. I did feel like the seeni sambol and chicken could use more seasoning though. The cutlet and brinjal are probably what contributed the most in terms of flavour to the overall taste of each mouthful. As I worked my way through my lunch, I noticed that it was oilier than the other lumprais that I’ve reviewed. So much so that my lips were coated with oil by the time I was halfway through. Not good. The rice, by itself, did taste good though – having absorbed the flavour of the spices well.

I guess I can safely say that at the end of the meal, my soft spot for VOC Café’s lumprais remained intact and untampered with. This packet is definitely value-for-money, but taste (and oiliness) -wise, I think it could be in a better place. And if you’re beginning to think that this soft spot of mine might be clouding my judgement – I’m happy to let you know that I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. Lumprais adventurer re-awakened and mind wide open, I’m ready to make the next lumprais find!

Yummy Rating: 3.0 / 5.0

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