Back in December I made a trip to Colombo and finally got to pay a visit to one of the best afternoon tea joints not contained within a hotel. For those of you who haven't checked Sri Lanka out as a destination, you're sorely missing out. It has an old world charm that you no longer find anywhere else, and while it looks and feels a little like India, it does so in a cleaner, less sleazy manner.
It's a truly beautiful place which is coming out of its war-torn shell, and I love that there's still a Colonial vibe about it whereby tea is taken extremely seriously, and I've yet to have a less than stellar cup of tea even in the food courts.
Back to the point of this post, afternoon tea!
We drove down a little lane to find this place, and I was really excited. Unlike the overly elaborate tea rooms we find here, that border on overdone, the facade was understated, which a sign by the side informing you that you haven't taken a wrong turn.
[The English Cake Company a.k.a. The Cakery]
As you enter, the decor is rather minimalist with a counter displaying all the cakes on offer, and a fresh food area where they prepare your sandwiches, drinks and tea sets.
[Freshly Baked Buns]
It is far from the most inspiring of tea rooms, but we all know that wouldn't deter me from my tea!
There's an upstairs to this place, as well as a garden, but we stuck inside, tucked away in a corner which resembled a garden enough for me to pretend I was getting fresh air.
[The Tea Room]
The manner in which afternoon tea is served here is laden with choices. You get to choose exactly what gets put on your tea service depending on what's on offer so that you're not beset by something you simply won't have, such as raisins in your scones!
A set for 2 comes with the following:
- A grilled sandwich (Called stacks)
- A savoury tartlette
- Scones + Fruit curd
- 2 types of cake
- A sweet tart
When I got there, they were out of scones, and so they offered to make them fresh for me. Who could refuse such an offer?
[Afternoon Tea for 2 (Rs. 1980/RM 55)]
Off the bat, I'm going to say that you should opt for a la carte ordering here unless you have an extreme sweet tooth or are keen on acquiring diabetes.
While the flavour of the sweet portion of the afternoon tea was really good, it was overshadowed by the cloying, overwhelming sweetness in such extreme proportions that I felt a little sick even though we had just a bite of each of the cakes, brownies and tart.
The savouries fared far better, however. We opted for the vegetarian variety for all of these because my mother is a vegetarian.
[Stacks upon Tarts]
So it took me awhile to realise that the stack was quite literally stacked on the savoury tart, which I thought they had missed out. They have a variety of flavours available, and we went for the roasted pepper, tomato and cheese version of it.
[Roasted Pepper, Tomato and Cheese Stack]
It was really quite a good grilled sandwich. I would go back just for this. They do have other varieties like tuna, salmon, prawn and even local versions available, and I'm keen to give them a shot the next time I'm there. The bread was perfectly grilled, giving you a bit of a crisp bite in the face of the lovely gooey-ness contained within.
When we finally discovered the savoury tart beneath our stack, I was excited because I love quiche, and that's exactly what it was!
This was lovely in its egg-y goodness, though I'm rather keen to try the smoked salmon tart the next time round! I'm positive it will be out of this world as the pastry was perfectly flaky and buttery, which is the perfect complement to the decadent creaminess of the custard within. Yum!
Now, on to the dessert portion of this segment. We simply couldn't do more than a couple of bites of each of these because they were so saturating in their sweetness that you'll slip into a diabetic coma if you eat them all.
This isn't an isolated issue, however. Sri Lanka is notorious for their extreme sweet tooth and dessert there is akin to eating straight up sugar. And since the afternoon tea is predominantly made up of dessert, it might be best to skip it and order some savouries and scones.
[Lemon Butter Cake]
If you are able to get past the amount of sugar in the dessert items, they are actually really tasty. Unfortunately, I had to take huge gulps of tea to cut the sugar as I'm not fond of overly sweet things anyway. This had the inadvertent effect of completely negating the enjoyment of my tea as well.
It took half an hour, but my freshly baked scones arrived, and while they don't look like much, they are some of the best scones I've ever had (and this includes all the scones I ate while in London).
[Scones with Passionfruit Curd]
I'm a HUGE passionfruit fan, and when they offered me passionfruit curd, I was all too delighted.
You don't taste the excessive sugar in the curd as much because the tartness of it cuts through, balancing it beautifully.
As for the scone itself, it was crumbly, buttery and absolutely delicious with its crisp exterior and soft, fluffy interior; just the way they're intended to be! It helps that they were delectably warm and fresh as well.
[Crumbly, Buttery Scone]
[A Match Made in Heaven]
Truly, these scones were the highlight of my visit to The Cakery. When I return to Sri Lanka, I'll be going back for the stacks, the smoked salmon savoury tart and these scones! I'm not sure if they sell the passionfruit curd, but I may have to strongarm them into selling me some because it's all I can think about right now.
I was so distracted by the sugar that I forgot to take pictures of our drinks. My mother had a coffee while I had tea. Definitely go for the tea.
I would return to The Cakery, and I already know what I want. I'll just take an insulin jab with me in case.