By Sherwani Synon
This week Daily Mirror Online takes an inside peak at the Hilton Hotel in Colombo. Located at the Echelon Square complex next to Sri Lanka’s tallest building, the World Trade Center, Hilton Colombo has been identified as one of the most prestigious hotels in the country.
Set up 22 years ago, Hilton Colombo boasts 10 restaurants including the Emperor’s Wok, Curry Leaf, Il Ponte and Spices. Comprising 19 floors, the hotel has 384 rooms which over look the old Parliament, the Beira Lake, the harbor, the Galle face green and the vast Indian Ocean.
After wandering through the hotel, my inclination to experience the finer things offered by the management led me to the Chinese restaurant ‘Emperor’s Wok’. As I entered the restaurant, the large glass windows on the left offered me a picturesque view of the hotel’s garden and fountain.
The ambience at the Emperor’s Wok was pleasant, and the soft background music appeared to soothe diners having their mid day meal. I passed a group of women chatting energetically over lunch, reminding me of a scene from a movie where women play ‘Mahjong’ while sipping green tea.
The lunch started off with a variety of dim sum as appetizer. I tried out the steamed har kau (shrimp dumplings), a three flavored dim sum that included crab, prawn and cuttlefish, followed by some Chicken sui mai. In addition, I also tasted the prawn triangle with sesame seed and vegetable spring roll. This was the first time I had tasted steamed dim sum, and it took me a while to get used to the taste. But after trying out three varieties, I could see myself ordering it in the future, especially the seafood dim sum.
After munching on a variety of appetizers, I was served a minced spinach soup with crabmeat. This dish was yet another personal first, but I thoroughly enjoyed its new flavors and the combination.
Feelings of curiosity as to what kind of food might appear on the table were replaced by the urge to indulge and feast, the moment various dishes began to arrive. The table for three was covered with a steamed garoupa with soya sauce and ginger, Bean curd mixed with vegetables, stir fried scallops with broccoli, chicken in honey and black pepper sauce accompanied wok seafood fried rice.
I decided to order the stir fried scallops with broccoli as I had never had scallops before. My expectations weren’t let down, as the scallops were an interesting blend of prawns and cuttlefish, and the broccoli added crunchiness to the dish.
The steamed garuoupa with soya sauce and ginger was simple lovely; the meat was fresh and soft and perfectly flavored. The bean curd dish mixed with vegetables was a tad oily, but tasted good nonetheless. I had never tasted such soft bean curd cubes before, that they almost melted in my mouth. It also complimented the wok seafood fried rice. The chicken in honey and black pepper sauce was red in color and almost fooled me into thinking it was beetroot curry. The chicken was rich in flavor, and was definitely one of the best chicken dishes I had tasted.
After what seemed like a long lunch (with plenty of dishes), the most anticipated moment had arrived; dessert! Sitting on a white dish, the deep fried bun accompanied with a slice of apple and a carefully placed scoop of vanilla ice cream made its way to my table. The crunchy bun filled with yummy custard tasted great with vanilla ice cream.
After I bid good bye to my host and left the Hilton Colombo, I stepped into the bustle of Fort. With pedestrians walking about and vehicles making their way through the busy streets, one might get lost in the crowd, but one can never lose ones way to the Hilton Colombo, which stands tall and proud amidst this commotion.