Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Burgers of Sri Lanka (BARS Cafe Colombo Sri Lanka)

(I've added other burger related posts here)

We've been passing BARS quite often as it's right on Duplication Rd though the address is 24 Deal Place. The ambience is promising with the option of outside dining, overlooking the splendor of Duplication Rd. The other thing in its favour is the music: cool, chill, soothing and groovy music that complements the upscale roadside vibe of the restaurant.

(BARS is apparently called BARS, not because the staff are ex-inmates or chorus girls but because it has a collection of bars - salad, pastry, hopper, etc. Get it? Get it? Neither did I. Why not call it FLOURS then? Everything has flour, right?)

Name aside, it is a decent cafe, much like any other anonymous coffee shop, but one with a beef burger. Most places now only have chicken burgers which are disgustingly bad. If you want a burger, why degrade the experience? It's like making biriyani with tumeric or sambol with paprika.

For me, a burger with good beef done medium rare is heaven. Osama would only have to promise me 72 burgers. As I have set myself a goal of trying all the burgers in SL, we dropped in there to try BARS' burger out. Prior to ordering, the wait staff reassured me that the burger is made with good beef that is ground at the restaurant, not preground.

When the burger arrived, it was well presented with the top bun lying on the plate exposing the generously proportioned burger patty (about twice the size of a patty at Dine mor or McDonalds) which had cheese and fried onions on top of it. So presentation wise I gave it an A. Only thing it lacked was bacon.

I bit into it. And there's where the burger lost a few points. First, the burger was a little overdone. A perfect burger is cooked so that it's slightly red in the middle so as not to lose the flavour and juiciness of the beef. Second, the spicing of the meat in the patty itself was pretty bland. And, of course, bacon would've added something immeasurable to the burger.

Overall, in comparison to the other burgers I've eaten, this is how BARS' burger ranks:

1) Hill Club Sri Lankan burger - the meat is thoroughly spiced with chilli, it's pinkish and juicy in the middle and there's bacon!
2) Sen Saal beef burger (no longer served although they said you can call a day in advance and order) - the meat is good and the patty is pinkish and juicy in the middle. No bacon.
3) Cricket Club burger - has bacon but otherwise similar to BARS.
4) BARS burger - the overcooking and lack of bacon really hits BARS' burger.

BARS was a good experience, bacon notwithstanding, and we will visit again when the cool jazz on Duplication Road feeling takes us. (The burger cost LKR350).

Restaurant Name: Bars Cafe
Address: 24 Deal Pl (off Duplication Rd)
Phone: (add 011 if calling from a mobile) 2575157


  1. This place is located on the Galle Road side of Deal place?

    Being a vegetarian I might not go there for the burgers ;) but...

  2. This is a great site, very informative. Though I am not in Sri Lanka at the moment, I have picked up some great hints on what to try out (The Polonnaruwa guest house) and what to miss (Prima Taste), next time I am there. Hope you keep consistently adding to this, your readership would very much appreciate it.


  3. Yes, it is on the Galle Rd side. If you're veg, my aunt, who's one also, had enjoyed the pittu with potato curry.

  4. Dude, the BEST burger I've EVER had, in SL or out, is the burger that the Sri Lankan Chef from Australia used to make outside Sugar and H20. Perfect. I had one when that particular chef was not there, and it was much worse. You've got to get that particular chef to do it.

    Also, possible contender for best value for money burger is the burger at the Cinnamon Grand coffee shop. Not Coffee Stop. Coffee shop. Downstairs. I think it's called Taprobane, but I'm not sure whether I'm getting confused. It's bloody cheap for 5 star restaurant. Something like Rs.300 I think.

    The other burger that has to be reviewed is from the pavement burger stand at the junction of Slave Island (just go to the vicinity and ask someone). It's open until 12am on weekdays apparently, and it's run by the nephew of Nana, the fast food mafioso of Galle Face who was assassinated for his badassness.

    Now that's a burger with a story.

  5. I will add those two (Cinn Grand and Slave Island) to my to be eaten list.

    I will add them to my ranking using the following criteria:

    1) quality of meat
    2) level of cooking
    3) availability of bacon

  6. Another burger worthy of review is the one served at the Galadhari coffee shop...let us know what you think !

  7. I have agree with Ravana, the burger from outside Sugar is definitely a contender. Juicy and well seasoned and not even a bit overdone. The fresh mustard and tomato brings it together perfectly .The bun (a commonly overlooked yet crucial part of any burger) is glutinous yet not overly chewy or sawdust like soft, a cross between brioche and a kaiser roll. The choice of meat is however (and to my surprise) chicken. This is, I'm guessing to appease the varied clientele there, but is still as good as a ground beef patty. Definitely worth a trip even if you're not planning on going in to drink at Sugar.

  8. Check out the Burger at Cinammon Lakeside coffee shop, it is very good.

  9. How much will the lunch cost???like around?

  10. This place is in Duplication Road... Before the Beverly Street... it on your right when you come from Colpetty...
    For burgers, Burger Kinf in Metland place also very good..

  11. I have been in this country for a year and I tried all and I was not able to get a good burger. But I found a Eat street shop (a van like the ones in eat street shows). its called The rolling stove in marine drive wellawatthe this is the chiefs number you can call and ask where he is and go there, its simply awesome it tasted same like the burger I tasted in TGIF California, I give it 5 stars and the price is also good try it.

  12. You can call him Sakhitha Abeysekera at +94727990953 they are at Wellawatthe marine drive in between Rio ice creams and dine more in the sea side. Like the eat street

    let me phrase it as the critic in ratatouille, I was searching for the best burger in Srilanka for the last one and a half years but was never satisfied in any place as one price would be very high or the burger would be bad, with so much disappointment I concluded with Burger king being the best burger in Srilanka. It was a Saturday evening when I was craving for good meat in the fast food and had to decide upon KFC with frustration feeling that there are no good burgers in Srilanka, after my meals I was walking to my house in Wellawatthe and found a truck named “The Rolling Stove” which specializes in burgers, so I had a talk with the owner and came to conclusion that this is also going to be another stunt by the people here trying to show their culinary skills, I got his card and kept it aside. A week passed by, I have a tradition to celebrate Friday night with good food, so when I was searching for a place to celebrate my Friday dinner, I found this card and thought to myself it’s not harm in trying the burgers out, I called him and asked him where he was and had some work and forgot about my dinner, the owner of the truck calls me and informs me that he is going to close by 9 PM ,so I rushed to the truck and told him to hit me with his best burger, they asked me if I wanted the meat made in separate pan (Religious choices no beef as they prepare both), “The Rolling Stove Special is the best burger” so the owner Sakhitha Abeysekera teaches me how to eat the burger , from my experience the first bite was divine and the second bite was heaven, there is no need for sauce as they have their own sauce in the burger, in the first bite you can feel the meat and in the second by you would feel the cheese oozing out with sausage meat, it was delicious and I had Goosebumps eating the burger like the critic in the movie ratatouille, with this I concluded this guy has the best burger in Srilanka, Try the big Ben or the double take burger also they are not simple how they look in the picture, they taste awesome.

    You can call him Sakhitha Abeysekera at +94727990953 they are at Wellawatthe marine drive in between Rio ice creams and dine more in the sea side. Like the eat street

  13. Totally agree with Prasath Suthz... Sakhitha's Rolling stove is now quite a hit not just among youngsters also among everyone!! I have personally visited and tried their food. They're incredibly amazing! guess what they are on facebook as "The Rolling Stove" and they keep updating their location. IT'S A MUST TRY FOLKS!