Restaurant review: Governor’s Restaurant @ MLH | Sunday Observer

Restaurant review: Governor’s Restaurant @ MLH

One of the iconic landmarks in Mt.Lavinia is the Mt.Lavinia Hotel. This grand property is embellished with colonial history. It is one of the last places in the city where you can experience the vintage charm of old Ceylon.

For decades the Governor’s Restaurant has been a desired venue by many, for its food and spectacular views of the ocean and the sunsets. As you mount the steps you see an old “buggy cart” from yesteryear positioned on the left hand side. The preserved cart is in peak condition and enriches that sense of nostalgia. The pleasant hostess, Sandamalee neatly attired in saree is busy greeting guests and allocating tables.

Friday night is BBQ night, and the aroma from the grills drifts all around. The white stone columns of the interior give this venue a regal exuberance. We decided to sit on the verandah outside. The ocean reflected the moonlight.

The chicken consommé was my option to start with, but the clarity of the liquid was mildly cloudy. The BBQ meats and poultry were enticingly displayed at a large grill where Chefs Saliya, Jeevan and Nimesh were busy. The sizzling wholesome meats were very pleasing, visually There was a nice balance: pork sausages, beef kebabs, pork spare ribs, chicken, pork chops fish, prawns, cuttle fish and lamb.

To many Sri Lankans BBQ is something they may eat at a beachfront picnic of outdoor camping venue, and this style of cooking has not captured the market. But, the talented chefs at MLH have beautifully brought out the best in each item. BBQ is much healthy in comparison to deep fried or devilled forms of meat preparation. In addition to this, there were baked potatoes and vegetables. It was quite a surprise to see some Sri Lankan dishes including, spicy curries presented in pots: which would allow foreign guests to still get a taste of our native cuisine.

Sitting in the verandah was a rewarding choice as the coconut palms gently unleashed cool breeze. The pork spare ribs were nicely done, maintaining the right amount of juiciness. The sauce had a bit of sweetness which tended to be overpowering. The beef kebabs also resonated with a nice blend of spice and flavour.

Perhaps, this refined BBQ is the influence of the German executive chef at the Hotel.

The Friday night buffet had a good selection of desserts that supplemented the main dishes. Often, desserts are simply added onto a menu, but at MLH the sweet sensations have been thoughtfully kept at the right portion sizes (after indulging in all that meat, one can’t eat many desserts). The fruit pavlova (the fruits were really fresh to the bite) and the kiwi lime tarts would get 100 points for their authentic taste. I notice some children delightfully taking wedges of date cake, another local relish. This lovely dining experience was supplemented with a live band that serenaded to the diners with hits from the 80s and 90s. The Governors Restaurant has maintained good service standards, and is a venue for elegant dining.