For this week’s review, we thought of trying the meatless food at Black Cat Cafe. Located at Wijerama Mawatha, Colombo 7, it is a great place to drop by, plug your laptop and attend to your work with peace of mind or have chat with your friends.

From the Meatless Monday team, myself and Ramesh paid a visit to Black Cat Cafe for lunch. As usual, we wanted to order a mix of vegan and vegetarian food. I looked at the menu on their wall and could immediately see a lot of dishes with a “V” for vegetarian. However, except for the Grilled Vegetable Salad, there didn’t seem to be any vegan items on the menu. I decided to go with the salad while Ramesh ordered the Creamy Mushroom Spaghetti, one of the vegetarian items with dairy products (cheese and cream).

When placing the order, I double-checked with the cashier and found out that they top the salad with parmesan cheese, something to take note of if you are a vegan. As for the drinks, we ordered a berry smoothie and an iced mocha with soy milk.

The food preparation took about 15-20 minutes while the drinks came within ten minutes.

Food

Creamy Mushroom Spaghetti (Vegetarian)

The spaghetti were made with white sauce and mushrooms, topped with parmesan cheese and basil oil. Ramesh tasted it and enjoyed every bit of it. The creaminess of the white sauce and mushroom with the salty taste of parmesan cheese combined into a perfect mix of taste. The dish was great and did not require additional salt or any sauces. It was quite filling dish and definitely a fit for lunch.

Grilled Vegetable Salad (Veganized by excluding parmesan cheese)

Definitely eye candy! The salad had a mix of red, green and yellow capsicums, eggplant, couscous and a lot of lettuce. They could have cut down on lettuce leaves and added a greater variety of vegetables and fruits like olives, tomato and potatoes. Out of all the vegetables in it, the eggplant was the most flavourful. But I felt as if something was lacking. I asked if they could give me some sort of a sauce and they served me a soft salsa. I think when mixed to the salad, it made up the taste.

Tacos

While enjoying the food, I noticed they have a spinoff called Taco Cat inside the same cafe! Being a huge fan of mexican food, I couldn’t resist. 🙂  So I ended up buying two tacos for myself and Ramesh. And the good news: they have a special promotion called Taco Tuesday where they give single tacos at Rs. 250 (compared to the usual price of Rs.400). As Ramesh had given me full freedom to select the toppings, I veganized both tacos by excluding cheddar cheese and a particular sauce which had mayonnaise.

For tacos, you get to choose a protein base out of three options, three toppings out of eight options and a choice of sauce out of four. On another note, they also have burritos and “nude box” (burritos without the wrap).

For my taco, I added kidney beans as the protein base (the only vegetarian choice  of the three) and purple slaw (purple cabbage), coriander and jalapenos as the toppings. For the choice of sauce, I went with Kochchi!

For Ramesh I ordered the same protein bases and as the toppings tomato salsa, pineapple and jalapenos topped with tomato sauce.

With a dash of lime on the tacos, our taste buds were on a roll! We loved the mix of all these different tastes. They were very flavourful and mine was extremely spicy because of the kochchi sauce which was just what I needed!

Drinks

The Berry Smoothie (Vegetarian)

The cashier explained that they use blueberries, blackberries and raspberries with dairy. As they keep this drink prepared, it can’t be veganized with soy milk. I didn’t taste it because it’s got dairy but Ramesh certainly enjoyed the chilled berry smoothie. It was a great thirst quenching drink in the hot weather in Colombo.

Iced Mocha with Soy Milk (Veganized)

I am not much of a coffee person, and everytime I go to a coffee shop I usually order the cappuccino with soy milk. But this time, I tried the mocha. So I asked the cashier what goes into it, and he said it’s expresso, milk and ice. Perfect! Since I can replace the milk with soy milk I ordered that. I noticed they were using soy fresh soy milk as do most of the coffee shops in Sri Lanka.

When the drink was served I found it refreshing from the first sip. The taste of coffee because of the perfect blend of espresso and soy milk. I asked Ramesh to try it and he said he couldn’t tell it was made with soymilk. But he said it’s also got a chocolatey taste to it. So I did the next obvious thing, google what goes into making mocha! And voilà! It’s got chocolate! However, when I inquired, they confirmed they use a dark chocolate with no dairy in it.

The drinks were served with paper straws which are not reusable but 100% biodegradable. As citizens who are concerned about our environment, we always appreciate these small changes to reduce plastic.

The staff is extremely helpful and patient. And the cashier was responsible enough to check with the chef and respond whenever he didn’t know the answer. However, it would be great if they could even out the vegetarian items in the menu by including some vegan options.

Signing off for this week, Sajani Kapukotuwa and Ramesh Warallegama.