The year has been a tumultuous one. Lehman Brothers and Danduwam Mudalali, failed in different ways. Asantha De Mel left his office, poppin' his zero cost collar and blaming everyone else.
Yet us Sri Lankans continue caring for nothing other than what's for dinner (heta marunath...). But in our precarious economic times, we have cut back, eating it as cheaply as we can. Maybe the paang has less maalu, maybe the sambol has less pol. But we cannot give it up completely for then the economic terrorists would have won.
For our personal stand against indigence and gloom, we go to the Gardenia Coffee Shop at the Holiday Inn hotel in Colombo. Coffee shops in posh hotels are really good places to eat cheap and this is no exception. It is fairly nicely done in with banquettes to sit on and the pool to look at. The only objectionable elements are the menu and table mats, cheaply printed and laminated as if at a greasy diner.
The menu is really broad but we always order the Traditional Juicy Burger (beef, LKR 375) with cheese on top. We do not ask for bacon as there is only chicken bacon which, like vegetarian meat, is an insult to bacon eaters and non-bacon eaters alike. We ask for it spicy, we ask the waiter to repeat the order, we wait and we eat.
The meat is well spiced, through and through. The slaw is mayonaissed al dente. And the fries are Baby Bear style. It's even better when we ask for the check. For two burgers, all we need is a 1000 rupee note and we even get change from it. Cheap, spicy burgers in a nice setting - these are the most fundamental of rights.
PS: They also have an Isso Dunthel Bath (Prawn Ghee Rice) which a) you can't get anywhere else b) is really tasty.
Restaurant Name: Gardenia Coffee Shop
Address: Holiday Inn Hotel, 30 Sir Mohamed Macan Macar Mw, Colombo 2
Phone: (add 011 if calling from a cellphone) 2422001