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The café scene in Colombo has become so saturated that you really can’ tell the difference from one café that opens up from another. The menus are pretty much the same and so is the atmosphere. It is therefore a breath of fresh air when you find a place that is completely different and has managed to keep things consistent.
Situated in the emerging suburb of Nawala, the Tribe Café is a small establishment run by Fanny and her team. Despite its relative anonymity, the café has built up a steady following of customers who keep coming back specifically for the savoury and sweet croissants that comes out of their bakery. The café is actually owned by a group of friends who come from different parts of the world. Their culinary expertise combines in an eclectic menu that spans everything from croissants to roast paan ensuring that everyone has something to enjoy.
Even the name Tribe Café pays tribute to their differences and similarities in nationalities that come together as one “human” tribe.
Seating is limited to about 8 people at a time but Tribe Café also delivers through Uber. You can also order to go and the staff are happy to pack up the food in eco-friendly packaging.
When we did dine in, we had quite a dilemma picking from the extensive list of savoury and sweet croissants and ended up ordering a plethora of them including a Chicken Pizza Croissant and Savoury Pie from the savoury range and Chocolate Cannoli, Custard Cannoli, Chocolate Croissant, Custard Danish with Chocolate Chips and an Oatmeal Cookie that was just 70 rupees! I mean who does such good cookies for as little as 70 rupees is just beyond us! If that’s the only thing you order off the menu, trust us it’s worth it!
From the Croissants and Danish presented to us, we definitely preferred the sweet versions but picking a favourite beyond that is quite difficult. For starters these are pretty large in terms of quantity and also have tons of filling unlike most places where it’s just layers of pastry and hardly anything else. The Custard and Chocolate Chip in particular has literally and unashamedly dripping down our face with every bite. Before we forget amidst the sugar rush, the Tribe Café version of a Cinnamon Roll is also simply out of this world!
Apart from the bakery items, Tribe Café also does some great fusion Roast Paan Toasties. We tried the Pol Sambol, Egg and Cheese and a Daiya Chicken version, of which the latter was definitely the better. Again Tribe Café is so generous with their fillings that you literally have it falling out of the bread every time you bite in.
We also tried the Sri Lankan Rice and Curry from their lunch menu accompanied by a Lemon Iced Tea which was perfect to balance out the heat of the curries. The rice and curry is more like a Dutch Lamprais and was quite tasty. Rice and curry is available only on weekdays and of course the curries and condiments change daily. On weekends they switch to biriyani or fried rice.
From the other drinks we ordered the Raspberry Cheesecake Frozen Shake was perhaps the most fascinating with its distinct fruity and cheese flavour. If you do feel like a milkshake to beat the heat, Tribe Café also has a huge freezer of artisan gelato that you can choose from. You can also have the ice-cream in individual or double scoops.
We loved our visit to Tribe Café also because you can have a little bit of everything in one place and no matter what you pick chances are it’s going to be great.
So here’s our review…
Location *** (A little elusive with limited parking!)
Ambiance **** (Great vibes with that distinct bakery smell!)
Service **** (Super nice people!)
Food **** (Some of the best croissants in the city!)
Overall *** ¾
Price Range: 100 – 500 per person
Opening Times: 10:00am – 10:00pm daily
Address: No.314 Nawala Road, Nawala
Tel: 0117 155777
Reviewed by Nishu Gunawardana
Photo Credit: Sanura Gunawardana