Located at: Porutota Road, Negombo, Sri Lanka
Visited on: 11 Feb, 2018
Negombo’s restaurant is the older of the two Sushi Bar Samurai restaurants operating in the country. Located on the very touristy Porutota Road, the glass panels lining the restaurant give it an on-the-street feel while still maintaining a niche-like ambiance. Although it does have one, the sushi conveyor belt was not in operation on the last two or three occasions I visited. This included both lunch and dinner. Whether it’s bad timing or whether it is now dysfunctional is unclear, as the chalk boards still seem to have (assumingly updated) information on sushi and dessert platters on them.
On this particular visit, we started off with some Salmon Cream Cheese Maki (LKR 450) and Ebi Maki – prawn roll (LKR 450). These come in portions of six rolls each. I preferred the salmon cream cheese maki over the latter. And although I can’t particularly complain about the maki, I have to say that I have had better tasting maki of the same types in the past. In fact, possibly at this very restaurant itself. I felt like the issue might have been a slight lack of seasoning – specially with the ebi maki. The cream cheese of the former helped to uplift the flavour and texture of the roll a bit.
In addition, we ordered a portion of Chicken Katsu – pressed sushi roll with crumb-fried chicken (LKR 1,020) from the ‘Oshizushi’ (pressed sushi rolls) section of the menu. This turned out to taste much nicer than the maki dishes. With a (more seasoned) crunchy piece of chicken on the inside and a creamy topping, the feel of textures on the palate was great, as was the overall flavour of it – contributed to by the onion leaves garnish as well. The portion comprised a platter of eight pressed rolls, each a mouthful in size.
I was planning on going for the katsudon (rice bowl with crumbed pork cutlet and egg), but they were apparently out of pork at the time or on the day. So I went with a Ten Don – rice bowl with tempura vegetables and seafood (LKR 880) instead. I understood why the menu description mentions the vegetables before the seafood as I was eating. The seafood came in the form of two pieces – one prawn and one ring of cuttlefish. I felt my eyebrows rise involuntarily as I rummaged through the rest of the tempura to (rather disappointingly) only find carrot, broccoli, lady’s fingers and the likes. Clearly, I didn’t see this coming. The soya sauce that had been drizzled on it was nice with the rice, but sparse. Insufficient for the quantity of rice that was in the bowl. Which meant that, essentially, there was a substantial amount of rice to be eaten by itself. Not impressed.
We wanted to try out their coffee and macaroon ice cream, which was also unfortunately not available. (So we popped into Il Gelato next door on the way out. What is it they say – one man’s loss is another man’s gain?) I left with the intention of returning, of course, but also with the hope that we might be able to savour our next meal here on a higher level. Overall, I feel like Sushi Bar Samurai might have taken a half-step behind from where they started off. Let’s hope that this was just a temporary glitch.
Yummy Rating: 3.5 / 5.0