The 155-year-old Victorian-era Galle Face Hotel is one of the best places to stay in downtownColombo, with its seafronting rooms affording dramatic views of the Indian Ocean, and its proximity to the business and retail areas. It was also our choice to stay whilst in the city, as it was also strategically located right next to Galle Face Green, the wide esplanade where locals take evening strolls or jog along. It’s also lined with street food vendors and stalls selling kites.
The light, airy Verandah is the hotel’s main venue for breakfast each morning, with its wide arches opening up to views of the seafront. For me, the best thing about its breakfast buffet line has to be its appam-making station. Here, the appam chef deftly prepared the bowl-shaped Sri Lankan pancakes, also known as “hoppers” within minutes.
They have two types of appam here, with or without egg in the middle. I prefer the ones with egg, slightly coddled, the yolk still soft enough to flow out at the slightest prick. The appams are served with 3 types of relishes or sambols, including
- Pol sambol which is a ground paste consisted of grated coconut, onions, Maldivian fish (locally known as “umbalakada” or smoked, cured tuna), lime juice.
- Katta sambol, which is a very spicy relish that is a close cousin of Malaysian/Indonesian sambal paste, with liberal use of dried chilis, salt, sugar, curry leaves, Maldivian fish flakes and red onions.
Seeni sambol, which is a sweet-sour-spicy variant using caramelised onions, tamarind juice, sugar and chili.
Egg appam is one of the food items I identify with Sri Lankan cuisine - its Tamilian counterparts are close but not quite the same, as the Tamils would either beat the eggs into the batter before frying, or else break the yolks and smear it all over the surface of their pancakes whilst cooking. Sri Lankan ones always ensure the egg yolks are coddled perfectly- still runny the way I liked it.
The appams are also delicious when drenched with chicken or fish curries:
Another popular local breakfast option is the idiyappam or “stringhoppers”, steamed rice noodles which will be served with pol sambol and curries.
This is definitely my kind of breakfast.
Galle Face Hotel
2 Galle Road
Colombo 00300, Sri Lanka
Tel: +94 11 254 1010
- Breakfast 6.30 am-10.30 am
- Lunch 12.30 pm- 2.30 pm
- Afternoon tea 4.00 pm-6.00 pm
- Dinner 7.00 pm-10.30 pm