Brilliant food, except for one thing.

Trip Start Jan 08, 2014
Trip End Apr 09, 2014

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What I did
The "posh" restaurant, Sapphire Hotel.

Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Sunday, February 16, 2014

I have written in my last post (no, please don't sound it for me just yet!) about my pretty depressing trip to the zoo and then, to make the day complete, the evening proved to be really odd.  Well, regular readers will know that odd things just happen to me. 

I know I have mentioned the excellent Topaz Bar in the Sapphire Hotel before and the wonderful Nihal (bar manager) had mentioned they had a "proper" restaurant on the third floor rather than just eating the very excellent "nibbles" (many of them complete meals) on offer there.  Well, I fancied it, I had worked out that even "posh" food was effectively a tenth of what I would pay at home and well within budget so here goes.  I had been doing fairly well with my daily allowance despite the obscene "white man" fee at the zoo earlier on in the day.  Upstairs I go and here is what happened and it was frankly unbelievable.  Again, the VT tip forms the basis of this post.

"I have mentioned in a separate tip that I love the Topaz Bar in the Sapphire Hotel in Wellewatta and that I had had an excellent bar meal there as well as sharing some equally tasty bar nibbles. When Thilak, the lovely bar manager, informed me that the hotel restaurant on the third floor was open to non-residents I thought I would give it a try some evening.

I got the lift to the third floor, entered and waited to be seated which was never going to be a problem as the place was pretty empty. In fairness, it was a Sunday which is not a huge nightfor socialising locally and it was getting a bit late by local standards. I opted for a table by the window which afforded a decent view of the apparently always busy streetscape that is the Galle Road, it just never seems to stop there. The restaurant itself seemed well-appointed with particularly fancy looking chandeliers. The images may give you an idea.

The waiter spoke good English and was very charming as he presented the menu, again in my native tongue. It wasquite extensive with both local and international dishes featured and
did not appear overly expensive considering the type of place it was. I ordered a mutton dish and sat with my beer admire the view whilst I waited. Experience told me that I would have to wait a while and so it proved but it was not overly long and indicated to me that at least my
meal was being prepared freshly. I had not made the mistake of over-ordering as I have done before. In Sri Lanka, a main dish will often be served with several accompanying dishes which may be larger than the main offering itself. I had also opted for dosas instead of rice as I absolutely love them and hadn't had one thus far on the trip.

Ifit was dosas I was after then I was not to be disappointed. You can seethe size of the things and they were absolutely gorgeous. The side dishes were done to perfection, not overly spicy but I suspect they cater to an international clientele here.

Now we come to the "one thing" I mentioned in the title of this post. I realise I am getting on in yearsbut I still have some of my own teeth left and usually have no problem with even tougher pieces of meat but the meat in this dish absolutely defeated me as it was quite incapable of mastication. I genuinely don't know how they could have cooked it to make it this tough, it was like shoe leather which was a shame because the general flavours of the dish
were really pleasant. It really is a mystery to me as I know the kitchen here is obviously good, the chefs look immaculate and it is a more top of the range establishment and so I can only put it down to a one-off aberration. Perhaps this is the local taste but I have not encountered it elsewhere so I don't find that particularly convincing.

I know I should have sent it back but I really didn't want the hassle and the rest of the dishes had filled me anyway so what was the point? Perhaps going vegetarian for the evening may be a wise option here."

I should finish this particular post with a bit of an explanation.  I know the last several posts are sounding very negative (awful railway museum, ripped off at the old Town Hall, inedible meat in a "flash" restaurant etc). but this is not the impression I want to give at all.  I am thoroughly enjoying every day in this wonderful country and wouldn't swap it for anything.  I just realised today that I am getting on for halfway through what is a fairly extensive trip and the time has flown.  There is so much to see and I haven't seen a fraction of it yet.  It really is a magical place and I commend anyone to visit it.  I am just writing chronologically so as not to miss anything and had a few minor (and they were minor) disappointments round about the same time,

Nothing serious and there are many more adventures to come so stay tuned.
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