Located at: No. 9/7 16th Lane, Marine Drive, Colombo 03, Sri Lanka
Visited on: 20 Feb, 2019
Here’s another young restaurant/café that’s been painting the pages of Instagram in sweet and savoury tones. As you glance through the window, it seems to be a rather petite bakery of sorts. However, it’s when you go inside that you realise the actual depth of the space. Just after the bakery/café is an indoor seating area with a rather (literally) dark interior – the walls are painted black on one side and have a polished cement finish on the other. Beyond this is the ‘outdoor’ seating whose ceiling is designed to allow natural light to come through but at the same time is more or less sealed off from the elements as well. It’s all about the greens here as the place is abundantly decorated with plants, flower pots and actual trees. Intriguing, if you’re into that sort of thing.
We ordered a couple of fresh juices to quench our thirst – an Orange Juice (LKR 420) and a Lime and Mint Juice (LKR 440). Out came two brightly coloured glasses, the look of which themselves helped to cool us down. Personally, I prefer to have my juices as fresh and unadulterated as possible. Hence, it was a bit disappointing to find that there seemed to be a rather high sugar content in both beverages – particularly in the orange.
On to the food. There were a couple of starters that were tempting to try. However, since we were keener on trying their desserts, we decided to motor on with the mains straight away. One of the two mains we tried was their Honey Roasted Chicken with Sage and Walnuts (LKR 1,190). I didn’t come across any walnuts, but the honey glaze was definitely good – a great accompaniment to the mash, which although tasty wasn’t completely smooth in its consistency. The vegetable component comprised some carrot, cooking melon, beans and zucchini, whose bitter had unfortunately not been mellowed out. The chicken, as a whole, tasted seasoned and was uplifted by the honey glaze. It had been roasted a little beyond tender, though, and was bordering on dry. Overall, a filling dish that could still be enjoyed – bar the bitter zucchini.
To be honest, I was expecting the Cheese and Herb Stuffed Chicken Fillet (LKR 990) to be the more delicious of the two mains. It looked and sounded great on the menu. However, come the actual dish, it was rather more ‘plain’ looking, to put it subtly. The dip that appeared in the menu image was not present on the plate – perhaps this is what had been blotted on the side in a much lesser quantity. The vibrance of the cheese-herb-sundried tomato filling from the image was also clearly absent on the plate. And the “fresh green salad” seemed to be lacking some of the contents shown – notably the olives. The vegetables were the same as with the previous dish, and so the bitter zucchini issue was prevalent here too. The stuffed fillet dices didn’t taste as anticipated due to the obvious lack of filling, and again were bordering on the dry side.
For dessert, one of our choices was their Chocolate Cheesecake (LKR 600), which I was quite excited to try. It looked great and rather tempting in its presentation. But it lacked moisture, thereby having a bit of a flaky, falling-apart consistency. It wasn’t too sweet, which was great, but the texture let it down. Personally, I also wished that there was a thicker layer of the barely-there biscuit base which added a subtly soft sweetness to it.
The second dessert was their Italian Tiramisu (LKR 600). There was surely plenty of cream to go around in this one! The “espresso-soaked sponge” was sparse and had been soaked in an equal or larger quantity of sugar syrup, I felt. Which made the dessert too sweet, for my liking, and therefore too sweet to finish. The menu description also mentioned “finger biscuits”, which were not present but, if present, might have definitely enhanced the texture.
I started this review undecided on what sort of rating I should give this culinary experience. It is obvious that Arcadia puts a lot of thought into what they do, and the presentation of their dishes is quite impressive. To be fair, they have a rather impressive menu as well – ranging from Sri Lankan (including kottu) to Western to Indian to Far Eastern and beyond. Yet, as I now recapitulate the experience, I feel like there seemed to be a lack of attention to detail, which I believe would have pushed beyond the visual experience and made a whole lot of difference to the tasting experience. This place definitely has plenty of potential and I hope to be able to give it a much higher rating on my next visit.
Yummy Rating: 3.0 / 5.0