Walking down the tree laden Sea View Avenue, Colombo 3, it took only one look for Thadhsa, Ramesh and I to be completely bowled over as we first clapped our eyes on Bowl’d – the restaurant. Quite trendy and popular with reviews that praise its food, service and ambience, this restaurant focuses on serving ‘fast food’ healthy. Bowl’d is based on poke bowls that are originally served in Hawaii containing rice, raw fish and vegetables topped with a liberal douse of umami sauces. While the traditional poke bowls are not what we at Meatless Monday Sri Lanka will be reviewing, we heard that they do indeed have some wonderful vegetarian, vegan and gluten free versions and that piqued our interest.
The ambience is set right from the entrance. An outdoor enclosure with wooden swings hung near tables that were tucked away behind a purple blossomed curtain that danced in the breeze. Beautifully drawn, colourful murals adorned various walls and the wooden furniture, and rattan mats are reminiscent of Polynesian arts and crafts.
Divided as Poke Bowls, Pokertos, Poke Tacos, Appetizers, Desserts, Nice Creams and Drinks the menu offered at Bowl’d has large and regular poke bowls with vegan and vegetarain options clearly marked. We also loved the addition of a back story and a very helpful glossary added at the back of the menu. It is a pleasure to read and definitely helpful in your ordering process. This addition helps you to customize your bowl to suit your needs and that is a great win for both the customer and the restaurant.
We started things rolling with our drinks. Thadsha ordered the Strawberry Watermelon Limeade (Rs 400) and it was the Gotukola Limemade (Rs 300) for me. As for food, The Superfood Miso Soup (Rs 550) was Thadsha’s choice while I wanted to try the Shoyu Tofu Poke Bowl (Regular Rs 750). Traditionally poke bowls, are served with sticky rice. But at Bowl’d you have the option of sticky rice, red rice, zoodles, half and half and even a no base option. All these choices are can no doubt suit any dietary requirement and hence gets a massive thumbs up from us. I opted for a half and half – zoodles with sticky rice. Less the guilt when your carbs are halved. (wink)
The service was prompt and our server was well versed with the menu. Sticking to their earthy tones the drinks were served with bamboo straws that received our hearty approval. Yay for sustainable living! I forgot about taking pictures and slurped right away and oh my god! I have absolutely no regrets what so ever. A perfect balance of gotukola, lime and treacle it is both refreshing and incredibly tasty. Ideal for our warm climate. The use of local produce in this drink is very commendable and I would have this daily if I could.
The Strawberry Watermelon Limeade was equally yummy and Thadsha really enjoyed the flavour combo. We definitely recommend both drinks.
Now to the food! I loved my poke bowl! It was an amazing array of textures that danced in my mouth and the flavours just blend with it all. We are talking about an array of vegetables that are not only a pleasure to behold but much more. Tofu, edamame, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, red cabbage, sea weed, spring onions, sesame seeds, pickled ginger and some crunchy wonton crisps come in this bowl. The zoodles came the way I like. The shoyu soya sauce was light and yummy and I would have liked to have had a tad more on a side. However, we all enjoyed it and tucked into it quite happily.
Thadsha’s Superfood Miso Soup looked a delight with the extra spinach and sesame seeds that were added to the dish. While we did like it overall, we felt it was a tad too salty. This of course could be a one off case, but remember to tell your server to go easy on the salt, just in case.
I could not leave without having at least one of their desserts. So I convinced both Thadsha and Ramesh to dig into some incredible Mango Nicecream (Rs 600). The nicecreams are Bowl’ds version of non-dairy vegan icecream. Topped with some homemade granola and some incredible kithul infused coconut shavings this mango banana dessert was refreshing and incredibly yummy. In fact I can’t wait to go back just to have this.
From ambience, to cuisine, to service Bowl’d is definitely worth a visit or two or two dozen. It’s a happy place. Go now and thank me later. This is Suramya saying TTFN