What we had
“Tiki Vibes in Lankan Tides!”
Inspired by the vibrance of Tiki culture that emerged from the United States in the early 20th century, and the rich Sri Lankan culture surrounding our witch-doctors and “gurukam” practitioners, the Tiki Bar at Shangri-La Colombo is one to keep an eye out for. And with over 50 different arrack infusions on their menu of beverages, the Tiki Bar is the perfect place to go to experience probably some of the best cocktails on the island you’ll be sure to go back for — if not anything else!
Steamed Edamame Beans — LKR 2,600 (5/5)
As humble as these little green beans might seem, they really stole the show for me — I know, who would’ve thought?! Having had my fair share of edamame beans — a personal favourite — these really stood out. The beans were tender and soft, and covered with the most delicious chilli butter, they were a winner in my books! So much so that my hands just instinctively kept going back to these little gems throughout the entire meal!
Pulled Pork Bao Bun — LKR 2,400 (4/5)
Okay, these buns might not be on a roller coaster of crazy flavours, but you know what? They’re like a chill jam session that you can’t help but groove to. The pulled pork was sweet and had a quintessentially Sri Lankan spicy kick to it. But with that Asian slaw, it was all balanced out just right. And the bao buns themselves were pretty good, but just a tad bit too chewy for my liking.
Negima Chicken Yakitori — LKR 2,500 (4/5)
A Japanese classic — these grilled chicken and leeks on a stick made the perfect appetiser. The leeks had been grilled to perfection, tender and sweet, and added a nice touch of sophistication to an otherwise unassuming dish. The chicken I thought was slightly overcooked but overall, a really decent dish to start any meal off.
Jalapeño Cream Cheese Maki — LKR 3,600 (5/5)
These rolls really were something! The creamy cream cheese, spicy jalapeño and sushi rice practically gave us poetry in a roll. But, wanna know what really made this dish for me? That wasabi! It hit me, quite literally, like a lightning bolt. Electrifying me head to toe one second, gone the next. Safe to say, I walked out of the Tiki Bar cleaning up this plate!
Infamous Burned Cheesecake — LKR 2,500 (5/5)
In keeping with the Sri Lankan-ness of it all, this burned cheesecake is definitely one for the books! Complete with a traditional clay “kiri hattiya”, some treacle on the side and a cheesecake made with lime zest-infused curd cheese, this was a dish for all the senses! The cheesecake had everything you want in a cheesecake with an added touch of umami from the lime zest-infused curd cheese, and the treacle had just the right amount of sweetness, making sure all the different flavours at play were given the spotlight!
White Chocolate Lava Cake — LKR 2,500 (5/5)
Now if the Tiki Bar was to one day turn into nothing but a dessert and cocktail bar I would not complain because trust me when I tell you, that’s where the magic is at! And once again, with their infusions — this green tea-infused, white chocolate lava cake takes the cake (pun-intended)! The cake, almost soufflé-like, had so much going on, and yet was still simple. You could really taste that green tea, and the white chocolate brought just the perfect amount of sweetness to the dish. And hold up, I haven’t even gotten started on the sesame ice cream! Grey, nutty and toasty, this ice cream definitely was a first for me, and I will keep going back for more!
Jungle Potion — LKR 2,500 (5/5)
Served up in a tiki mug that screams “exotic escape,” this cocktail was legit. Their signature ginger-infused arrack brought in some fiery island vibes, but it was the calamansi with that zesty punch that stole the show.
Tropical Storm — LKR 2,500 (5/5)
Just as the name itself might suggest, the Tropical Storm really served us a storm with its very contrasting notes of sweet, spicy and earthy. Complete with whiskey, their signature coriander-infused arrack, caramel syrup, egg whites and – here’s the twist – some “Pas Panguwa” to keep us on the tip of our toes, this is definitely a cocktail to try out. It’s also definitely one to AVOID if you plan on driving home after!
Island Spirit — LKR 3,500 (5/5)
Seconds into my first sip, my entire body went numb and it was only when I jolted that the bartender casually told me, “oh by the way, that has a nai miris-infused arrack in there.” Now once I had my second sip knowing what to expect, that was when I absolutely fell in love with this cocktail. The fiery nai miris hits you head to toe at first, to then be followed by the sweeter notes of orange liqueur and pineapple juice, and at last, be left with the zesty flavour of lemongrass.
The Zephyr — LKR 2,500 (5/5)
They really have gotten making the perfect cocktails down to a science. The Zephyr, a play on the “Ceylon Sapphire”, is really a gem to behold. Not too strong, not too sweet, not too spicy (that seems to be a common theme in the cocktails here), this is a drink I could see myself having on the daily if I could. And personally, it was the kick from the ginger that really made this drink for me.
As I mentioned earlier, the Tiki Bar is an ode to traditional Sri Lanka with an amalgamation of the widely popular Tiki culture. And the interiors speak to just that! A bar lined with an array of tiki mugs, each meant to serve one of their signature cocktails, walls adorned with all forms of traditional “Gara Yaka” masks, and friendly, informed staff, made our time here at the Tiki Bar that much better!
All in all, while definitely on the pricier side of things, the Tiki Bar is an experience that almost evokes a sixth sense, and one we highly recommend you try out for yourself!