Barefoot Cafe, Colombo, Sri Lanka

704 Galle Main Rd, Colombo 00300, Sri Lanka

We arrived…

after a three-hour mini-bus drive from Sri Lanka's beautiful beach town, Mirissa. I was coming to the end of a two-week cycling tour with Intrepid Travel, and this was to be our last group lunch before the trip ended.

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We chose here because…

it was recommended by our local guide, Nilanga, as well as Intrepid Travel itself. The small-group travel company places a strong focus on supporting local businesses.

Barefoot Café in Sri Lanka. Photo / Facebook
Barefoot Café in Sri Lanka. Photo / Facebook

Our first impression was…

we're not sure we'll be able to get a table. The garden cafe, at the back of Barefoot's gallery and gift store, was packed on this Friday lunchtime. We were a group of 11, with no booking, so the fact we were able to get a couple of tables within 10 minutes of arriving was impressive. The wait gave some of us the chance to look around the gallery and stock up on locally crafted gifts and souvenirs; the rest of us waited in the sunny garden courtyard, admiring the plants and other diners' food.

We started with…

a round of Lion beers, the local lager that comes in 625ml bottles. It's not a classy starter, but it's cool and refreshing on a hot, humid day in Sri Lanka's frenetic capital.

The highlight was…

The black pork curry from the specials board. It was rich and spicy, with a dark, well-balanced sauce and hunks of melt-in-the-mouth pork. As with all Sri Lankan lunch curries, it came with a selection of side dishes: rice, poppadums, coconut sambal and a fresh garden salad. The plate was huge and really filling. At 1350 Sri Lankan rupees ($10), it's on the pricey end for this country (you'll find a delicious lunch curry for around 500 rupees elsewhere) but it was well worth the money.

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Black pork curry. Photo / Instagram
Black pork curry. Photo / Instagram

Service was…

a little chaotic. There didn't seem to be enough staff working compared to the amount of tables and guests. There was a long wait to be served, and then an even longer wait for the food. But, as above, it was worth it.

Come here if…

you want a shady respite from the heat and chaos of Colombo… and if you want to flex your credit card in the gift shop while you wait for your food to arrive.

The bill…

Two Lion beers, a pork curry and potato wedges came to 2930 rupees – a very reasonable $23.