Located at: The Promenade, Odel, 5 Alexandra Place, Colombo 07, Sri Lanka
Visited on: 10 Jan, 2018
The idea was to go to Sugar Bistro at Crescat Boulevard. However, since it was already lunch time and we didn’t want to crawl (and battle) through the school traffic from Odel to Galle – as short a distance as it is – we decided to pop into the newer branch at The Promenade. Personally, I prefer the ambience at Crescat. It’s brighter and lighter in terms of appearance as well as in its hustle and bustle. And, notably, The Promenade does not offer the Javanese Mixed Seafood Fried Rice that I’ve repeatedly enjoyed having at Crescat. Too bad. So I decided to go with the Middle Eastern Style Chicken Kebab, Fattoush Salad, Hummus, Baba Ghanoush (LKR 1,500).
Did it taste good? Yes. Was it authentically Middle Eastern? Not in my opinion. To me, I was getting more of a tandoori-like flavour in the chicken. Don’t get me wrong – I liked it. It was nice and tender – not overdone. But it wasn’t what it was supposed to be. And hence not what I was anticipating. I guess the Fattoush Salad could have used a bit more authenticity too. As much as I’m not a fan of it, I understand that cucumber/gherkin is a common ingredient for Fattoush salads, which this was missing. This one did have a few mint leaves, but I felt like a little more herb-y flavour would have been more reflective of the region. A bit of feta cheese on top wouldn’t have hurt either. The salad was fresh, but quite simple – on the verge of too simple. The fried pita, which is a core element, was present in sparse amounts. I liked that the two dips – the hummus and the baba ghanoush – were rich in texture, not overly thick but dense enough to scoop up a substantial amount onto your bread. Which brings me to the bread. Wonderfully thin, but heated (or re-heated?) to the point that they had acquired more of a crispy, biscuit-like texture rather than the ideally softer pita texture you would expect. Not a big issue, but the softer texture definitely goes better with these dips.
The Traditional Lumprais (Chicken) (LKR 800), which was also at the table, looked pretty good. It had an egg (yay!) and a substantial portion of chicken and two cutlets together with ash plantain, brinjal moju and seeni sambol. The seeni sambol gave off a nice home-made feel to it. However, I was massively disappointed to see that the must-have belacan had been replaced by some pol sambol. Not cool. I didn’t taste each of the elements separately, but I felt like this lumprais was leaning more towards a curry flavour than the usual lumprais flavour that you come across. In saying that I don’t mean that it lacked taste – it was just different. And quite spicy!
The Mint & Lime Cooler (LKR 500) I ordered was refreshing. Not too sweet, not too sour – although I did get a very slight bitter hint, possibly from the skin of the lime being squeezed a little excessively. But no reason I couldn’t enjoy it. There was another fresh juice blend at the table – Beetroot, Carrot, Celery and Ginger (LKR 650) – the sort whose description was enough to make me cringe (I’m sorry, all you health concoction drinkers out there – as much as I admire your ability to stomach it, it’s just not for me!). It certainly looked attractive, with its bright magenta and yellowish hues reminding me of a sunset. I took a tiny sip to taste. I have to admit that – contrary to my expectation – it wasn’t repulsive on any level. Still, not something I would order or have myself. But I’m sure someone who’s into this kind of blend would enjoy it.
All in all, despite my partiality towards the Crescat outlet, I have to say the food tasted good at Sugar Bistro at The Promenade too. However, I wouldn’t necessarily say that they tasted the same as expected in terms of flavour. So authenticity is probably something that a little thought could be put into – which is why they lose out on a few points in my rating.
Yummy Rating: 3.5 / 5.0