What we had
“An ode to the tunnel that brought us the love story of Mount Lavinia”
Inspired by the very tunnel that brought together Lady Lavinia and Governor Maitland, giving us Lankans one of our most treasured love stories, the Tunnel Lounge (aptly named) is an urban sanctuary. Located right by the all-too-busy Galle Road, the minute you enter the Tunnel Lounge, it’s almost as if you’re transported to a whole other world, because, in all honesty, we were asking ourselves how this place was right in the middle of the hectic Mount.
Let’s dig in!
Tunnel Mix Salad — LKR 1,950 (5/5)
Hold the phone folks, ’cause this salad is proof that healthy can be insanely delicious! The magic here was the perfect blend of saltiness from olives, feta and tuna, harmonising with the sweet corn and that vinaigrette, like a choir at Sunday church. This was without a doubt love at first bite — just like the love that inspired Mount Lavinia’s infamous tunnel — and we’re definitely going back for more!
Fried Hadallo with Kochchi Sauce — LKR 1,950 (5/5)
These crispy fried hadallos are — as the kids would say — legit bussin’. The crispy fish was seasoned perfectly, but the real star of the show had to be that kochchi sauce! With a spicy kick that’ll keep you on your toes, these hadallos — while a little on the pricey side — have definitely got our vote!
Garlic Chilli Prawns — LKR 2,300 (4/5)
Soft and juicy, these garlic chilli prawns were the real deal. Now don’t get me wrong, these garlic chilli prawns were definitely one of the favourite dishes we tried here. But with some really good dishes to try on the menu, on a normal day, we personally wouldn’t splurge money just for this. But hey! Who are we to get in the way of your love for prawns? If you want it, go for it — cos you won’t end up regretting it!
Black Pork Curry with Roast Paan — LKR 3,200 (4/5)
Now this Black Pork Curry served with parippu, pol sambol and golden crispy roast paan is every Lankan’s dream on a plate. The highlight of this dish was (obviously) the black pork curry, but we did wish it had a wee bit more oomph to it that wasn’t really there. Like those big, bold flavours that we often find in a black pork curry weren’t quite there. But still, we did love it for what it was — a decent black pork curry. And like any good curry, it’s only as good as what accompanies it, and this was definitely accompanied by some killer flavours. The parippu and sambol were top-notch and that crispy roast paan was the perfect vehicle to carry all that Lankan goodness.
Seafood Bounty Platter — LKR 3,900 (3/5)
This platter is… a lot. You’ve got a whole crab, a fish fillet, pan-fried curly calamari, prawns seared to perfection and crispy potato wedges with a creamy aioli to tie it all together. While we did love all these favourites coming together on a literal platter, we did however think that each element could have been paid a little more attention to. Don’t get me wrong these were good, but they were missing a ‘wow’ factor. We found ourselves not looking for the aioli that came with the platter, but the remnants of the kochchi sauce from the crispy fried hadallo we tried earlier to dip these little pieces of seafood into — so that’s a little tip for when you visit and order this!
Crispy Chicken Chili Onion Burger — LKR 2,300 (3/5)
The crispy chicken chilli onion burger had us excited but it was lacking a crucial element — the chilli onions. Instead, what we had was a normal crispy chicken burger, which made up for a decent meal without the pazzaz we were initially looking for.
Singapore Chicken Noodles — LKR 1,650 (5/5)
Now these Singapore chicken noodles were definitely a delight. Packed with a ton of chicken and some really good flavours, this was a dish we just couldn’t stop trying. This dish had the one thing many other dishes were missing and that was that oomph and umami flavour that we love to see! And topped with a fried egg with its oozy yolk flowing through the noodles, it’s safe to say this was worth every penny. Oh, and side note, make sure to try it with the chilli oil, cos boy did that take this humble noodle dish to the next level!
Chocolate Brownie with Ice Cream — LKR 1,400 (5/5)
After a long, long meal full of savoury plat du jour’s, we would be lying if we said we weren’t too full for dessert. But alas, one bite of this chocolate brownie and the rest was history. This rich, sweet brownie — inching a bit towards the cakier side of brownies — really was worth the money spent. And I would even go as far as to say this might probably be worth going for, even through all that traffic to Mount from Colombo.
Saradiel Sour — LKR 1,650 (2/5)
This was intended to be a cocktail but we think it would be more fitting to call this a mocktail. At first taste, the Saradiel Sour — cleverly named — tasted nothing like alcohol. And we even thought this might have been so carefully crafted that we were boozing ourselves up without any of the taste. But still, a few sips later we weren’t feeling it nor the taste of the arrack in it. The drink also included tamarind and sugar syrup. All in all, it was average compared to everything else we tried.
Lady Lavinia — LKR 1,650 (4/5)
Lady Lavinia really managed to pull through and represent Tunnel Lounge’s cocktail scene. Just like how she didn’t disappoint Governor Maitland, she didn’t disappoint us either. The gin could have been a wee bit more prominent, but the lime and strawberry purée was a real saving grace for Lady Lavinia.
Tunnel Sunset — LKR 1,650 (3/5)
The Tunnel Sunset was definitely a very pretty sight but again, did not pull through with the boozy goodness. We couldn’t taste the vodka at all, and we couldn’t help but wonder if all we ordered was a really good OJ.
As we entered the Tunnel Lounge, we couldn’t help but be reminded of certain speakeasy-vibes. And rightfully so, because it’s dark and grungy, yet the very classy interior speaks to nothing but the inspiration behind this place and its name. Aside from its main restaurant, they also offer an outdoor seating area, plenty of private rooms for all kinds of occasions, and even a venue downstairs for private events with a variety of menu options to choose from. The staff is very friendly, so feel free to ask them whatever questions you might have.
All in all, while the Tunnel Lounge had its ups and downs — very much like the love story between Lavinia and Maitland — we would definitely recommend dropping by here if you’re in the area, and it’s perfect for the resident Mount-Lavinians to go out for some good food if you don’t wanna make the drive out to Colombo.