If you're one of those people who are still mourning Machang -Nawala's untimely death - worry no more machang we've got some great news!
Machan -Nawala is at Nugegoda now. Okay, okay, we know how weird it sounds (and no we're not still drunk from last week), but it's true. The Machang -Nawala has been officially relocated to a new spot down Stanley Thilakeratne Mawatha, and it's not called Machang - Nugegoda.
Anyway, how good/bad is it in comparison to their previous location? Let's go in and have a look, shall we?
Well the popular saying is, "if you've seen one Machang, you've kinda seen all of them", and it applies to this place too. It's the same bunch of wooden benches and tables, with yellow lights hanging from the ceiling, a colorfully lit bar counter and a pool table on the side.
Located on the rooftop of a three storied building, this new Machang provides a great view of the Nugegoda skyline. There's a lot of natural air seeping through, to the point that you actually don't need an air conditioning or fans. They've also got a family dining area on the second floor.
The ambience here isn't exactly girl friendly, where you can throw bachelorette parties or have a girls night out, but if you go with a group, it's not awkward as you think it would be.
Aside from a few minor changes, the menu at new Machang is more or less the same. Almost all of their bites are priced at Rs. 800 or less, so it's quite pocket friendly.
We started off with the Crumb Fried Fish with Chips (Rs. 700), well more accurately, it was fish and french fries (we're not complaining). It was a plentiful serving of fish, deep fried with somewhat thick batter coating, which kinda subdued the fishy flavor that one would expect it to have. We assume it was re-fried and not freshly made, because it explains that giant shell of a biscuit crumb coating. Still, it was good, with a nice crunch to it, and not dripping with oil.
The Hot Garlic Pork (Rs. 600) was a delight. A hearty portion of pork oozing out with a strong notes of garlic, and a hint of pepper - this one was very flavorsome. The meat was a little tough on the outside, so the few fatty bits it had, didn't have that melt in the mouth goodness, but we didn't mind. Garnished with a sprinkle of spring onions, this one is best paired with some good old icy mug of Lion Stout (Rs. 430).
The Machang Special Mix Rice (Rs. 725 for L) was a generous portion of properly cooked white rice, topped off with a bunch of stir fried veggies - carrots, mushroom, cabbage and beans, along with a handful of proteins - chicken, beef, seafood, pork and a fried egg. The meats were cooked well, nicely seasoned with some pepper and salt, and frankly, quite alright for that price tag, but nothing to write home about.
Ever since the sudden death of CP's Grill (may it rest in peace!), I'm very picky when it comes to chicken cheese kottu, because the one I had at CP's was too good to be true. It was the only cheese kottu I've had in Colombo that comes with actual cheese (not cheated with milk), and to this day I find it hard to be replaced.
Anyway, the Cheese Chicken Kottu (Rs. 400) we had at Machang wasn't any exception either. It had a few bits of chicken, plenty of thinly sliced leeks and carrots, soaked in milk and tossed in a generous serving of roti. Don't get me wrong, we didn't hate it - but it's just not worthy of putting in the spotlight.
The staff was prompt, efficient and helpful. No complaints here.
We didn't hate our experience at Machang, but it didn't live up to our expectations. While it certainly has room for improvement in their food department, their booze is cheap, venue is not so bad, which makes it a good, and inexpensive alternative for a Friday tipple in a super central location.