What we had
Italian by the pool
Il Ponte is by far one of the oldest Italian restaurants around Colombo and stays true to its promise of real and authentic Italian Cuisine. Being one of the higher, top notch hotels in Colombo, the Hilton Colombo really does make a great effort to make sure that the food they serve and the experience their guests have is promising. Needless to say, our experience here was not the best. I say this after a mental analysis of the new fine dining restaurants and the abundance of Italian places around the city and Il Ponte. In terms of the rest, Il Ponte isn’t the best anymore. But, their food is promising just the way it did since its inception many years ago.
You can enjoy your meal with a view. During the day their outdoor dining overlooks a calm and settled pool area and is the best kinda view if you want a few minutes of a getaway from a busy day at work. It’s the perfect spontaneous escapade.
You can opt for either their outdoor or indoor dining. We decided to sit outside because the sun and the beautiful hues of blue on their furniture seemed delightful and welcoming. Il Ponte hasn’t changed much over the years and we felt like it was a little too old to keep up with Colombo’s new restaurant game. Nonetheless, the place still seems to have some indescribable old school charm about it. Also, we went out for lunch on a weekday afternoon and we were literally the only ones there!
So overall, we had an okay experience. Neither here nor there. There were a few things in particular that we weren’t very pleased with. Their service was at the top of this list. Although their staff were very friendly, they lacked consistency and this clearly didn’t make any of us very happy.
Food and Drinks
Drinks: Thorana Splendor – Rs. 490 and Kamikaze – Rs.580
The drinks we tried, non-Italian and the usual, had nothing particularly exciting or out of the box about them. It was a smoothie kinda day for me and my eyes immediately lit up when the waiter suggested I had a Thorana Splendor. He assured me that this was one of their fastest moving mocktails which was a mix of peaches, strawberry and passion fruit. I was super excited to try it out; I mean a combination of peach, strawberry and passion fruit must taste heavenly right? Wrong. It looked great when it was brought to the table, but it all went downhill when I took the first sip. I was sure neither the menu nor the waiter mentioned there being any cherry mixed into it, but that was literally the only thing I tasted in the drink. At first, I even thought that it probably was a cocktail because there was a strong taste of something unexplainable in it. Definitely wasn’t a favourite.
Our next try was their Kamikaze. It was an excellent choice of a cocktail with the mix of vodka, triple sec and lime. All of the spirits were balanced and they did not overpower each other. Nothing out of the box or individual about it, but it was a good pick.
Appetizers: Caesar Salad – Rs. 1150
At first glance, I felt like a Caesar Salad above a Rs.1000 was a waste of my money, seeing that the menu did have some pizza/other mains going around for this value as well. Nonetheless, although it clearly seemed overpriced, we decided to give it a shot. For starters, this serving was massive. It was almost the size of a main and this consoled us. First bite in, we were happy. Second bite in, not so much. With every bit, the taste of the salad and the metal spoon started getting fishy-er and fishy-er. We knew that the artichokes couldn’t overpower the rest of the dish to this extent so when we asked the waiter and he directed the chef towards us. We told the Chef that this was insanely different to our everyday Caesar salad, and since we aren’t fans of fish, we’re not enjoying the dish at all, and why the Caesar salad at Il Ponte tasted this fishy compared to an average Caesar salad that to us, has never tasted this way. He told us that this is as authentic as it gets. When most other places only add the artichokes as a garnish/dressing on top, Caesar salad is apparently actually made with something of the sort of an artichoke stock blended and infused into the mayo+salad dressing base. Little did we know! He then offered to whip up a new Caesar salad for us that wasn’t as fishy as the former.
We loved their turnaround response and the fact that their chef actually came and spoke to us and explained the situation better.
Ah bingo, you get a complementary bread basket as well! And it’s not the bread rolls that you absolutely need to soak in your soup to taste better! These bread slices were super yummy. So if you want to save some money and forgo your appetizers, you can do that because you can feast on their bread basket while waiting for your mains.
Mains: Prosciutto Di Parma and Salami – Rs.2250
We decided to opt for one pizza, but half and half with one side Parma ham and the other Salami. I think they totaled it as Rs.2250 because they took the higher cost of the two and gave it that valuation. The pizza, made in flatbread was actually pretty good. The interesting part is that if you sit outside, you can actually watch the pizza being baked in their wood fire oven!
The pizza was pretty big and would be enough for about 3 people. It wasn’t all that impressive though. The chicken parma had tomato, oregano, parma ham and mozzarella. This, I felt, tasted better than the salami pizza, but that depends on what type of meat you like better. The meat though was beautifully placed over the pizza and the mozzarella was extra cheesy and stringy.
The salami pizza had a bunch of more ingredients and toppings ranging from tomato, oregano, salami, bacon, sausages, ham and mozzarella. This somewhat let us down because it didn’t taste as fancy as it claims to on the menu. One, the rest of the meat was hidden and overpowered with the salami. I didn’t even realise the dish had sausages until after I checked their menu again!
If I were to compare the two, there wasn’t really much of a difference. It was more oregano and tomato sauce with the meat and cheese on top. So when eaten side by side, both pizza’s tasted more oregano and tomato that their starring meat item. Needless to say, the meat tasted pretty juicy and succulent.
Dessert: Chocolate and TiramisuIl Gelato Ice cream – Rs.345 each
You didn’t think we’d walk out of a traditional Italian restaurant without trying out their gelato did you? Their ice cream was heavenly. We picked chocolate and tiramisu ice cream for the taste test. It’s literally the first time I’ve seen or tasted tiramisu ice-cream and it did not let me down.
For the chocolate ice-cream, I requested some chocolate sauce and nuts on top and they did just the same with no extra cost at all!
The next time you visit, their tiramisu ice-cream is a must try!!
We’d rate our experience here 4/5. They’ve got a whole ton of exciting poultry and pasta dishes and we can’t wait to go back to try out more. Stay tuned for more updates. Let us know what you think of Il Ponte in the comments below! Is there anything we’ve missed?