Thursday, April 8, 2010

Dinner at Urban Kitchen In Colombo, Sri Lanka

In our quest for good international foods in the Colombo Capital of Sri Lanka, we would often try new restaurants, cafés, bistros, eateries and even food courts offering varieties of international cuisines every time we have opportunity. Last Saturday, after having our monthly shopping for food and grocery provisions, we decided to have our dinner at a chic and cozy restaurant called Urban Kitchen.

The place, located within the same compound of the supermarket we are frequenting, is especially interesting to us because the head chef there is a fellow Filipino whom we once met during the party of the Association of Filipinos in Sri Lanka (AFSRIL). The party was in fact held in the same restaurant but at that time, special Filipino foods not part of their regular menus were served.

The restaurant has near full-capacity customers when we arrived. At least an indication that good food is being served in what appeared to us as a modern and well maintained food establishment. From the seats, everyone has a view of the wide kitchen where chefs and crews are busy preparing the foods.

Since we want to have a true and non-biased assessment of the food being served in the restaurant, we did not bother to inform the Filipino chef that some of his “kababayan” or fellow citizens are there sampling his and the restaurant’s culinary creations. Their menu provided a showcase of many known international foods; Italian, American, Chinese, French, Mediterranean, Southeast Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern and of course, Sri Lankan, each have several entrees to choose from.

After a quick scrutiny of the colorful menu with selected photos of some entrees, we immediately placed our orders. My friends’ orders were Roast Duck for Lionel, Beef with Black Bean Sauce for Chad and Linguini Marinara for Alex. Since I have been craving for Beef “Shawarma” for quite a long time, I opted to try their Lamb “Shawarma” as beef was not in the list.

Slices of roast duck with Chinese noodles, mushroom and some steamed baby “bok choy”

“Shawarma” filled with lots of lamb meat pieces, different veggies and spices and small amount of garlic sauce

Tender beef cooked in rich black bean sauce with crunchy bell peppers and other veggies

Linguini with several types of fresh sea shells and other seafood in a rich marinara sauce and select herbs

With some bowls of rice and drinks, we had a rather sumptuous dinner. I was quite lucky that I have had the privilege of tasting each course to be able to make this post. :-) The verdict:

The roast duck plate was not so delicious. The noodles had no special sauce and its taste was only dependent on the small sauce of the duck itself. The “bok choy” and mushroom slices were nice but not good enough to replace what was lacking in the roast duck itself.

The lamb “shawarma” was full of lamb meat. They did not skimp on it. But it, too, lacked a tasty sauce which could have blended all distinct tastes of the ingredients into one complete and satisfying dish. The garlic sauce garnished on the plate could have functioned better if incorporated into the fillings which were a little dry.

The beef with black bean sauce was wonderful. The meat was tender, veggies were still crunchy and the sauce was great. Chad said he tried it already before and the first one was even better. It saved the night.

The linguini was also good. The pasta was cooked al dente, the sauce was delicious and sea shells and other seafood were really yummy. The herbs completed the dish and provided the special taste. It too saved the night.

All in all we could say that it was a good eating experience. There are more reasons to come back than not. Our fellow Filipino head chef could probably make some more improvements as far as their roast duck and “shawarma” dishes are concerned. So that on our next visit, we will be projecting much bigger smiles after dining. c",)

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