Words by Lauren Stenning
Having previously reviewed this Sri Lankan restaurant’s divine food, Quench were invited to sample their recent cocktail launch, aptly named ‘Cocotails’. Being a huge cocktail fan, I couldn’t resist this opportunity, along with the chance to try Sri Lankan street food for the first time!
Their new Cocotail menu consists of 15 sweet and fiery cocktails in total, including sharing options and mocktail variations. My boyfriend and I were able to share a classic Pina-Colada, which turned out to be far from the classic cocktail we all know and love. Served in an actual pineapple, it made an impressive centrepiece for the table, and the presentation was matched by the taste and texture. Often too creamy and sickly, I can confirm that TCT’s version is hands down the best I’ve ever had; pure pineapple perfection.
We weren’t sure that the subsequent Cocotails would be able to live up to the sharing Pina-Colada, but by ordering the suggested food pairings with our choices, we were pleasantly surprised. For our first pairing, we opted for the Sriki-Tiki and Cheesy Colombo – a delightful sweet and fruity combo.
When the Sriki-Tiki arrived at the table, it was as if we’d been transported to Buddhist Sri Lanka, the interior street-style décor of the restaurant suddenly coming to life. The ceramic glass imitated a not-so-friendly-looking Buddha figure totem, likely one of TCT’s unique ceramics made in Sri Lanka itself. It held the sumptuous pineapple and raspberry drink inside it and the surface was alight with a roaring flame, recreating the excitement of a blazing totem.
Having recovered from the initial wow-factor of the Sriki-Tiki, it was time to give it a taste, along with the fried cheese cubes. I must point out that both the cocktail and the cheese dish could easily be enjoyed independently, both equally delicious by their own merit. However, paired together, you achieve a cheese and fruit kebab effect; the flavoursome cheese drawing out the pineapple in the Sriki-Tiki. The sweet and savoury juxtaposition is intriguing on the tongue and overall, a satisfying, sensual experience.
Our other chosen pairing was the TCT Choc Old Fashioned alongside the Hot Battered Spicy Cuttlefish. Less impressive in presentation than the Sriki-Tiki, the Choc Old Fashioned redeemed itself in taste. Think liquified, spiked Terry’s Chocolate Orange and you’re halfway there. The bourbon-based cocktail had a sharp, cutting edge, slicing its way down our throats. There was a noticeable difference in strength in contrast to the fruitily disguised rum of the Sri-Tiki. However, the element that really made this cocktail the perfect pairing for the spicy cuttlefish was the subtle hint of chocolate in the form of bitters, which acted as the perfect catalyst for the kick of the chilli garnish. If you’re a chilli chocolate fan, this is the pairing for you.
Additional dishes we sampled included the Egg Hopper, the Fat Sister and the Sri-Lankan mixed fried rice. The hoppers take centre stage on the menu, appearing as TCT’s signature dish. Unique in their presentation, DIY nature and coconut milk pancake, the hoppers accentuate the essence of Sri-Lankan street food, being rather high up on the spice scale too! Although we enjoyed sampling this cultural dish, the Cheesy Colombo and Spicy Cuttlefish acted as sufficient starters, whilst the Fat Sister pumpkin curry mixed with the rice dish constituted a great main course. We thoroughly enjoyed not only the well-thought-out cocktail and food pairings, but moreover the overall experience of feeling totally immersed in Sri Lankan culture.
I’m excited to head back to TCT with friends to sample the Wild Bling Ting (5-person sharing cocktail!) which incorporates the luxury ‘Glitter Prosecco’ (TCT are the first to serve these bottles), as well as Ceylon Arrack, meaning a percentage is donated to The Elephant Transit Home in Sri Lanka (hence the elephant ceramic it’s served in). If it’s as exciting and unique as the three reviewed here, it’s definitely worth the £11 per head!