When it comes to brunch in Colombo, you’re not really spoilt for choice as there are only a handful of places. Now, there’s a new brunch spot right in the heart of the city that seems to be making a bit of noise - right down Thimbirigasyaya Road, located at Café Rafaella. Done by a young couple (partnering up with our favorite pizza spot Giovanni’s) with an undying passion to create good food, they bring you some of the most mouthwatering and palatable dishes in Colombo, without having to pay an arm and leg.
They started it fairly recently and I have visited them almost every weekend! Having tried all of the dishes on the menu - I really do mean it when I say the “the food is to die for.” I needed to share this gem of a place with someone, and so I brought my colleague along. He was simply taken aback by the quality and standard of this very quaint cafe, with such a warm and welcoming ambience.
When I asked Ashwini and Aaron about why they started this venture, they gave me the ‘why not do it ourselves’ repartee and I’m genuinely happy they did. “Aaron being the chef he is, always cooks up a storm when he gets some free time, so we thought; why not cook our favorite meal of the day so that people can come enjoy the food that we would also like to be served at brunch.”
All dishes are homemade and they have secret sauces as all successful restaurants do. The recipes are their own and the one thing that makes them stand out from most places is the service and ambiance. The service is friendly and their staff members will happily serve you with a smile on their face. The ambiance is something very close to peaceful and full of life at the same time. You can enjoy a cup of coffee with your hearty meal while you read a book, chat with your friends and family or while you enjoy some quality time with your better half.
After a night out, I woke up feeling a little fuzzy and with a slight headache but also realized that I was getting late for brunch. I freshened up and my colleague Amantha and I rushed over to Cafe Rafaella. As we were having a chat with Aaron until the food arrived, he offered us a cup of coffee to kickstart our morning and it worked like a charm. This is how the rest of it went.
We tried our first dish (not my first time trying it but it was for Amantha) - the ‘Posh Biththara’ which consists of, your choice of eggs on a bed of buttery toasted brioche with slices of smoked salmon, bacon/avocado (for you vegetarians out there) and a dollop of their creamy homemade hollandaise. I got mine with poached eggs and avocado. It was firm yet so soft and the crunch of that toasted brioche was out of this world. Now, I know most people have the same thing at home but there’s something different about this dish. The brioche was toasted just right and as you dive into the egg, the yolk spills out like an overflowing river. It’s something I enjoyed and is also one of their best dishes. The name fits the dish perfectly and for those of you reading this, I say, go give it a try. I know that you’re going to get hooked on their food just like we did.
Next was ‘The Lokka’, which is a Beef Burger. I am a huge burger junkie, so I was very excited to try this as it was a new addition to their menu. I am going to describe it just as Ashwini did, “A mouthwatering Italian herbed beef patty/chicken sausage, caramelized onions, cheesy scrambled eggs topped off with sizzling hot bacon on a toasted brioche bun drizzled with sriracha mayonnaise.” And it did not disappoint. I actually went for that burger again just last weekend and the quality of it has remained the same! One thing that makes this burger worth it, is the size of it. This dish is packed with flavour and each ingredient compliments the other. The bacon adds a perfect crunch to this juicy burger. When you go around the food spots nowadays, you don’t find a burger that’s of a good size very often, and The Traveling Bruncher is doing a good job with theirs by making it a premium quality one. So, for all the burger fans reading this, you have one new spot to try and I’m sure that they won’t disappoint you. It’s a homemade beef burger made by a Burgher, kind of like a Burgher’s burger (Aaron made the joke while we ate and thought it might be funny because he is a burgher).
As we move on to the last dish and my personal favorite, it’s called ‘Paniya’ and it’s a specific dish for everyone with a sweet tooth and anyone with kids - they will absolutely devour this. It is a slice of brioche bread soaked in their special secret concoction topped with ‘Kithul’ caramelised bananas with a serving of vanilla ice cream with a dash of blueberry compote and raspberry crème. The first time I saw the dish with my own eyes I thought the scoop of ice cream might be too much in comparison to the dish, but I was wrong. It is all so perfect. The bananas were cooked to perfection and the bread pulls the entire dish together as it cuts the sweetness of the ice cream, and the kithul pani and balances it all. The raspberry crème adds the perfect tanginess that pulls the harmony of flavours together.
And that concludes our session at The Traveling Bruncher, which is situated at Café Rafaella, a sister cafe to Giovanni’s. You can contact them via Instagram ‘@thetravelingbruncher’ or find them on Google Maps - all you have to do is click the ‘directions’ option and follow away. It is currently only on Sundays from 10 AM to 02 PM which gives you time to wake up a little later than usual, get ready and relax and then make your way there or the perfect place to relax and wind down after church.
It’s not only the ambiance of this cafe but a combination of things that makes it so great. The food, the people, the staff and the music, all give you a homely feeling which puts you at ease and makes your meal that much more enjoyable.
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