Located at: 115 Sir Chittampalam A Gardiner Mawatha, Colombo 02, Sri Lanka
Visited on: 27 Sep, 2019
What: Buffet of over 90 authentic Thai dishes
When: 19th – 28th September, 2019
Price: LKR 2,950 per person
Knowing Royal Thai’s penchant for dishing out delicious Thai flavours (https://theeatlog.com/2018/08/20/royal-thai-cinnamon-lakeside/), we were quite looking forward to the Thai Food Festival at Cinnamon Lakeside. They had two sittings every evening – 7:00–9:00 pm and 9:30–11:00 pm. We went for the first sitting on the penultimate day.
Surprisingly, I was left feeling rather unimpressed at the end of the meal. And unfortunately, I wasn’t the only one feeling this way – the rest of the family concurred. Perhaps this stemmed from the fact that Cinnamon Lakeside is one of our top favourites when it comes to buffets, and they rarely ever fail to deliver in both variety and flavour. In fact, they do a fabulous job with Colombo’s Biggest Brunch, which they host every first Sunday of the month (https://theeatlog.com/2019/08/04/colombos-biggest-brunch/). There is certainly no compromise on quality despite the massive numbers at this brunch.
The Thai Food Festival was a bit lackluster in comparison. To begin with (and some of you may disagree with me on this), I felt like it could have used a bit more oomph in terms of visual appeal. Let’s leave aside the fact that the rain made the overall buffet arrangement a tad bit chaotic. I refer to the food – some of it looked delicious, but I felt like there was an overall lack of colour in the dishes. Mostly yellows and browns, just a few reds and greens. I believe that you eat with your eyes first, followed by your nose, and lastly your mouth. Sometimes it’s just a bit of garnishing that makes the difference. Some of you will surely get what I’m getting at here.
Anyway, moving on to what the vast majority of us actually go for – taste, flavour. We love Thai food. It is usually packed with so many richly simple and beautiful flavours. Lemongrass, basil, kaffir lime and leaves, sweet chilli sauce, lemon chilli sauce, and the mouth-watering list goes on. There wasn’t enough of these flavours shining through at this buffet, is what we felt. The peanut sauce for the satay was a bit paste-y, one of the chicken roasts looked like it could have used a little more cooking, there were no coriander leaves among the condiments for the tom yum soup, and so on.
I’m not saying that everything was downhill, there were certainly some dishes that were great. The seafood rice, although not generous in seafood, had a nice aroma and flavour to it. The tom yum soup, by itself, was quite tasty too. As was the lychee tart, the pork ribs, and these little squares of seafood cakes. The mango and papaya salad prepared at the action station was nice too. But I guess it was more a matter of Lakeside having set the bar so high for themselves with their consistently good food, that this particular buffet didn’t quite live up to their own reputation.
I don’t know about the other days of the festival, but there were no Thai dancers or food carvers at the time we went – although their leaflet advertised so. Not a big deal if you’re going for the food, honestly, but people do look for what is advertised in a product. Overall, there was definitely room for improvement at this year’s Thai Food Festival. Better luck next time, hopefully!