Located in the heart of Colombo; the metropolitan capital of the country, Cinnamon Lakeside hotel boasts a long and vibrant history. The hotel, designed to resemble a pagoda, was first established as ‘The Ramada Renaissance’ in 1985. It later went through several phases as ‘Ramada Colombo’, ‘Trans Asia Hotel’ and was christened with its present name last year, after being bought over by the John Keells Group.
Within the hotel lies Long Feng, the first Singaporean restaurant to be set up in the country. The endeavor which began 25 years ago as a Chinese restaurant later transformed into one of the best addresses in town for delectable Singaporean cuisine.
Naturally, my insatiable hunger to explore new food led me to this restaurant to discover (and devour) its cuisine.
The ambience sets in, as I walk the corridors of the recently refurbished Cinnamon Lakeside. Although Long Feng is situated between Royal Thai and 7 Degrees North, the fact that the corridor overlooks the Beira lake adds to the ‘wow’ factor especially if taking a twilight stroll.
Before a diner steps into the restaurant and is greeted by waiters with warm smiles, he or she will come across statues of lions beside the glass doors, welcoming guests to the ‘LionCity.’
The interior of the restaurant is painted in shades of ochre and white, adding to its warmth and coziness. The space is decorated with oriental ornaments and portraits of various types of pitchers lending a modern concept to the place. However, I personally feel that the portraits don’t make much sense.
I started off the night with a Chinese style cucumber salad and Deep fried bean curd. I had never heard of a Deep fried bean curd before. My curiosity got the better of me, and I had to order it.
The salad could be described in three simple words; tasty, crunchy and refreshing. The combinations of cucumber and onion slices brought out a refreshing flavor to the dish.
Next in line was, ‘Laksa Lemak’ which I chose as the appetizer for the night. Unlike the salad, this dish cannot be summed up in thee words, for it was rich in flavor and ingredients. The taste of spicy but sweet coconut milk mixed with tofu puffs, prawns, egg, bean sprouts and rice vermicelli was delicious.
The first three dishes had already proved to be a hit with my taste buds and I was looking forward to the main course.
Spurred on by greed (and the need to experience as many dishes as possible), I ordered ‘Beijing duck with pancake, Singapore style chili crab, Kang kung with garlic sauce and a Hot plate of cuttlefish in hot garlic sauce and steamed rice.’
Unlike the other dishes, the Beijing duck with pancake needed special attention, as its ingredients had to be prepared separately. Watching the waiter diligently prepare the pancakes with slices of duck and scallions was interesting, but what really surprised me was the taste of the pancakes.
The succulent taste of duck with sweet sauce and crunchy scallions was divine. The flavors of the cuttlefish dish and the kang kung with garlic sauce were also excellent, and I must admit this was the best cuttlefish I had ever tasted.
However, the Singaporean style chili crab did not live up to my expectations. Although the flavors of the curry did score with my palette, the crab itself was quite disappointing as the crab meat did not taste fresh enough.
After stuffing myself with these tasty dishes, I was asked to make room for the final meal of the night; the dessert. Among the many interesting desserts Long Feng had to offer, I chose the Lemongrass ice cream which sounded light and refreshing. My expectations were fulfilled as the dessert offered all the flavors I had hoped for.
Stepping out of the restaurant, I look to my left towards the Beira lake. My eyes take in the beauty of the scenery and the lights surrounding the lake. I allow the remarkable ambience of the Cinnamon Lakeside to set in, and I stroll off in the twilight; stomach full and mind fulfilled.