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The café scene in Sri Lanka has become such a hit that you now find it trickling through to the suburbs as well. In particular the Nawala – Rajagiriya area which is highly residential seems to be getting a fair share of café chains and stand-alone cafes opening up. The latest entry in to the quaint, homely, comforting cafés is Café 40 in Rajagiriya.
Simply named after its plot number, Café 40 is the brainchild of a young entrepreneur who just needed a cosy, clean and comfortable place to hang out with good food at affordable prices. We decided to see if Café 40 actually matched up to all these attributes.
Situated off the main road, Café 40 is at first glance “really pretty”, for the lack of a better term. The pallet wooden furniture and the warm, glowing lights are perfect for cozy, casual dining and immediately gives you a welcoming feeling. The entire café can seat around 12-15. What also struck us immediately is the warmth of the staff. It’s increasingly difficult to find good customer service in Sri Lanka especially in the hospitality industry where it should be a given. Café 40 though was a breath of fresh air in that sense.
Once seated we proceeded to order from a menu that is typical for a café with its pastas and sandwiches and desserts and coffee. For drinks we went with a classic Cappuccino and a Chocolate Milkshake. Both drinks were well-executed and well-presented. Taste-wise the Chocolate Milkshake was a tad better than the Coffee, as for us it lacked the strong tastes that we prefer.
It was the food however and the affordability factor that we really liked about Café 40. We ordered a good ol’ Mac n Cheese, a Nasi Goreng, a Chicken Sandwich using Ciabatta bread, a Pulled-Beef Wrap, a Mutton Pizza and a side of Lemongrass Chicken. Each of the dishes had its own plus factors that we loved. The Pulled Beef Wrap for instance was packed with filling and the beef was perfectly done. Combined with coleslaw this was one messy wrap but it was totally worth it. Same goes with the sandwich which had generous chunks of chicken, lettuce and tomatoes all combined together with a homemade Mayo and Tomato Sauce.
The Nasi Goreng had its elements like the Fried Egg and Satay but we felt this was the only let down on our table full of food. The Mutton Pizza was thin-crust, topped with shredded mutton which tasted like it was more “kalu pol” and very local which we immediately liked too. The highlight of our meal though was the warm, cheesy Mac n’ Cheese. Café 40 uses Gouda which added a more salty flavour to the pasta elbows and we loved just how good this was. Perfect for a rainy day, this is a dish we see ourselves ordering again.
For dessert Café 40 has slices of cake, éclairs and donuts in various flavours. We got ourselves a Chocolate and Vanilla Éclair and also a Chocolate Donut. None of the desserts disappointed as they were filled with the respective cream and topped with generous amounts of ganache. Again Café 40 is not shy with their portions and toppings etc. which makes them so much more affordable than some of the bigger names in the scene.
Rajagiriya is now a crowded suburb and the traffic with or without the flyover hasn’t changed. So on your way home, if you can’t bare the stress of the traffic, take a little detour, chill at Café 40 and then head home.
So here’s our review…
Location *** (Off a main road but that adds to the privacy factor!)
Ambiance **** (We like the wooden furniture!)
Service ***** (Courteous service and quick turnaround time!)
Food **** (Lots of comfort food!)
Price Range: 1,000 per person including drinks
Address: No 40 Medawelikada Road, Rajagiriya.
Telephone: 0772 349997
Opening Times: 10am – 10pm daily (Closed on Monday)
Reviewed by Nishu Gunawardana
Photo Credit: Sanura Gunawardana