Restaurant review: Ceylon Café | Sunday Observer

Restaurant review: Ceylon Café

Chef Mickael Alexis
Chef Mickael Alexis

The streets of Colombo are becoming defined by a myriad of dining venues. One such road in Colombo-7 is Horton Place which has seen several restaurants taking root. A venue that was launched a few months ago is Ceylon Café- dishing out both French and Sri Lankan cuisine.

Going out for dinner on a Friday night to this venue was anticipated with earnest, as there aren’t many places where you can savour French cuisine. As you walk in, there is an outer terrace that leads to the main venue: an elegant and cozy interior accentuated by chandeliers. The first thing that caught our attention was the many photos of foreign diplomats, presidents and prime ministers who have dined here with all the regal opulence. These photos adorn almost every wall. The chairs are nicely cushioned allowing you to let go of your editorial blues.

The manager brings us two menus- one with a list of Sri Lankan cuisine and the other with French. The cooking styles of France form the fundamentals of professional cooking. A glance at the menu brought back memories of familiar French culinary terms, from my Hotel School days when I apprenticed under an Australian chef. The one page menu is precise and offers a good choice, bearing in mind that many Sri Lankans are not familiar with French cuisine.

Chef Mickael Alexis suggests we try his signature soup: a mushroom veloute. The soup is served dusted with mushroom powder, and infused with truffle oil. The flavour and consistency is good, however, the bread basket did not have the classic French breads that one would expect- yet the brown bread supplemented the soup.

The next item on the menu was a Barramundi fillet served with lobster bisque. Barramundi is becoming quite popular on many menus in Colombo, and it seems, this fish has captivated us. The fillet is the right size and nestled amidst Provencal vegetables. The flavour of the bisque gently connects with the soft texture of the fish.

This dish is followed by another signature dish, Australian lamb shank slow cooked for 5 hours in white wine. The tenderness of the lamb is amazing, giving you the ultimate culinary bliss. The plate has honey glazed pumpkin and a potato cake. Lamb is common in French cuisine and centuries of cooking this meat has led them to create such a perfect dish. The food of France is all about technique, and there is no overload of spices.

After this indulgence it’s time for dessert- crème brulee with raspberry sauce, the taste was good but could have had a bit more visual appeal. The second dish called floating island consists of vanilla custard with caramel sauce served in a large bowl. The creaminess and sweetness was just right.

Ceylon Café also has an extended garden serving sisha. The venue is a nice contrast and offers a very private dining experience.