Located at: 8 Flower Road, Cinnamon Gardens, Colombo 07, Sri Lanka
Visited on: 26 Mar, 2018
There has been quite a buzz about this place since it opened a branch on the island recently. I’ve been seeing eye-catching and appetising pictures on social media, and so was excited to pop in for lunch while passing by. To begin with, we ordered some Lemon Coriander Soup with Prawn (LKR 595). The other options available for this are vegetarian and chicken. It smelled so good as it was placed on the table – the beautiful, mouth-watering aroma of herbs and seafood made me dive into it straight away. The first thing you realise is that it is rich in herbs. And then it kicks in. Full-blown heat. From what we assumed was a rather generous serving of green chillies, (white) pepper and ginger and/or lemongrass. Throat-burn that slowly moves down to your chest. You want to go on because the flavours are such, but the overwhelming heat doesn’t let you. It got to a point where I finished up the prawns – an average serving that had been cut into tiny cubes – and had to give up. And wash my oesophagus down with some water. And ask the steward to ask the kitchen to use less spice in our mains.
We followed the soup up with some Chicken and Lemongrass Dumplings (LKR 795), which come in a portion of six. Now this was very good, nice and moist too. A substantially portioned, chewy but tender filling with a thin wrap that made it enjoyably light in spite of being a little more than bite-size.
We ordered some Steamed Rice (LKR 300), which comes in an above-average sized portion. I felt that it was a little drier than the usually sticky rice that one is served at Far Eastern – and especially Chinese – restaurants. This dryness made it a little grainy, therefore needing some sort of sauce or gravy to make it more palatable. To go with this, we ordered some Chilli Basil Fish in a Clay Pot (LKR 1,075). I’m not sure if it was a result of our request for less spice or if it’s the norm, but this dish wasn’t screaming of heat (as I feared, since the name specifically mentions chilli) like the soup. We were glad. The fish had a bit of a thick batter on it, but the taste was good, enhanced by the principal condiment – basil. It was a good match for steamed rice, although the minimal, viscous gravy wasn’t necessarily enough to soften the graininess of the rice.
The steward recommended that we try a portion of Steamed Chinese Greens and Tofu in a Mild Ginger Sauce (LKR 845), which we did. I have to say I wasn’t impressed by this dish. To begin with, I didn’t taste any ginger in the broth-like sauce that the vegetables came in. There wasn’t much taste to it at all, in fact. The greens comprised of cabbage, gherkin and some bok choy. The dish was somewhat mediocre as a whole.
In all, I felt like Mainland China hadn’t lived up to the hype that it had created. I was expecting a delicious, flavourful meal but it didn’t quite experience this. The general feeling was that the food didn’t meet the potential of the place. Here’s hoping that this feeling was a one-off!
Yummy Rating: 3.5 / 5.0