3/5

THE RE.PUB.LK

57, Hospital Street, 00100 Colombo, Sri Lanka


The RePubLk has come through steadily since they opened a few years go. The quality of their food and drinks have managed to stay the same, but somehow they aren't as great as they used to be.


Note: The name of this place is The Re.Pub.Lk. It's supposed to be a play on the word Republic. However, typing it with all those fullstops and capital letters is a task. So I'm just going to refer to it as Repub throughout this review and leave the rest unto God. 

Back when I first started tapping into Colombo's lively yet slightly subdued nightlife scene, Repub was one of my favourite options. The space, ambience, food and drinks were on par and it had some excellent service. Now though, I'm not so sure. 

The Ambience

In terms of ambience, nothing has changed. Their alfresco area is still gorgeous as ever, the lighting is dim at night and the place is packed on weekends. Unfortunately their crowd now comprises of the same old Love Bar/Attic camaraderie; teenagers and elite school-children. How do I know this? They start their conversations with 'what school do/did you go to?' but it all comes out in a drunken slur. Oy vey.

They've also taken this once charming, blue-collar tavern and turned it into a weird discotheque for the desperate, because on certain weekends they turn their alfresco seating area into a dance floor.

People show up by the droves, buy like one drink, and descend into some sort of awful brouhaha of screaming male and female youth. Lots of eyes everywhere, drunk groping, and loud mumble-singing (owuowuowhh!!! mmmYSTERIOUS gIRRRLLLLL), so if you're not into any of that then don't ever go here. 

The Food

Food here has always been top notch, but not anymore. Their dishes are worth the buck and the portions are plentiful, sure, but their menu has now turned into a 50-50 type deal. You'll either get a good dish, or an atrocious one. 

I did not order the Spiced Beef Tacos (Rs. 750), but the waiter INSISTED I did (more on that in the service section), so I had to settle. It was a good Saturday night and I wasn't in the mood to argue, so whatever. The pulled beef was spiced well, a tad too spicy for my liking (which is why I never ordered them) and came with other elements like pickles, jalapenos (bad for my stomach) and sour cream all wrapped in a slightly hard tortilla. No further comments. 

It seems like they've turned into one of those places that eventually turn a blind eye to their vegetarian menu. Their vegetarian momos are great, but their Vegetarian Penne (Rs. 800)  was heinous. Just by looking at the dish you can tell that their 'Bechamel sauce' is pretty much more of a clumpy batter; too much flour. It was all at the bottom, too.

It also tasted heavily of msg- a dead giveaway that a Maggi soup cube was used. I had a small shred of hope that at least the pasta would please, but alas - it was undercooked and a few shells still retained that almost plasticine texture to them. The vegetables were sparse (carrots and broccoli), and so was our enthusiasm. 

The Drinks

Their drinks are still great, I'll tell you that. The bartender does a brilliant job with balancing out the booze and taste. We opted for a Classic Tiramisu (Rs. 950) and their Republic Arrack Sour (Rs. 750). 

Arrack Sours are my favourite drink. They're delightfully tangy, citrusy and paired with some good old arrack they make for a wonderfully spiky drink with lots of local charisma and zest. Perf.  A brilliant pairing of Ceylon Arrack and a  shot of lime/orange juice- this is great for sipping on although it's a small drink that'll make you go 'wha-?' once you realise your glass is empty. 

The Classic Tiramisu is like that distinguished Sri Lankan Iced Coffee that went off to the States, got its edges refined a bit and never looked back. A splendiferous marriage between Kahlua and Bailey's Irish Cream, this cocktail is a good one to have if you're either a coffee nerd who can't drink anything else or someone who'd like to remain sophisticated yet groovy. Served in a martini glass, this drink is every bit as elegant as a posh Sri Lankan iced coffee- gaudy chocolate ribbons and all. 

The Service

Unimpressive. We got off to a good start with the waiter, he took our order deftly after I repeated 'Tonkatsu Beef Bao' two times. I saw him write something down on his little notepad, and I somehow had a strange feeling that perhaps he got the order wrong. When we got our tacos, I was disappointed but again, too tired to argue so I didn't bother. We didn't even get through one taco, so I asked him to pack it up and informed him that although it was okay, he got the order mixed up with the tacos when I ordered the bao.

He proceeds to throw a small fit, shows me his notepad- which had Beef Taco on it- thereby confirming his mistake and then goes on to tell me that he heard what I said etc etc. I really really hate picking fights with servers and salespeople because I've worked in both areas, but damn if I didn't get pissed off. The customer isn't always right, nor are they always looking for a fight. I have a severe aversion to spicy food, so ordering the Spiced Beef Tacos really wouldn't make my Saturday night better, would it? 

Conclusion

I'm aware that this review comes off as highly negative, but I have to tell it like it is. This place used to have a special spot in my list of go-to's but it's sad to see how it's turned into a melting pot for CMB's young and reckless complete with tired, grumpy waiters. 

Their live music sessions are great. If you're looking to spend a night of partying in a wasted blur, this is your spot. 

Address

57, Hospital Street, 00100 Colombo, Sri Lanka

Directions

On Hospital Road (behind Dutch), where Browns used to be.

Contacts

Facebook

Closed right now

Price Range

Between Rs. 1000 - Rs. 1500

Dish Types

Alcoholic Beer Cocktails Bites

Cuisine

Fusion

Ratings Breakdown

Overall Rating
3
Quality Rating
3
Service Rating
2
Ambience Rating
4


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