Zylan Café | Restaurant Review

“A Bubble of Zen in the Heart of Colombo”

Having been around for almost 13 years, this little boutique villa in Colombo is a sanctuary for good food, decorative art and a sense of calm. Operated by the same team as that of its better-known counterpart, the Zen Japanese Restaurant located on the rooftop, the Zylan Cafe downstairs definitely deserves more attention than it’s been getting.

With a menu inspired by the vibrant flavours of Thai cuisine, fused with some quintessential Western favourites, what Zylan offers is seldom found anywhere else. Let’s dive in.


Crispy Prawn Toast — LKR 1,300 (5/5)

Kicking things off with a bang, this is all the things a crispy prawn toast should be – crunchy on the outside, with a soft, tender prawn in the centre. While this is great on its own, the reason why this goes on my list of must-tries at Zylan is how it pairs with the coleslaw and sauce on the side. When the freshness and crunch of the coleslaw, and the spicy kick from the sauce come together with the Crispy Prawn Toast, it really makes for a dish that is just… *chef’s kiss.*

Seafood Nachos — LKR 2,150 (4/5)

We were surprised to find nachos on the menu here at Zylan, and that itself is the reason we wanted to try this dish out too. These Seafood Nachos are a riot of flavours – and in the best way! Complete with crispy tortilla chips drowned in a salsa of small prawns, cuttlefish, black beans and cheese, this dish is a ‘bop’.

Spicy Thai Beef Noodle Salad —  LKR 1,750 (4/5)

Whoever said “revenge is a dish best served cold” obviously had no idea about Zylan’s Spicy Thai Beef Noodle Salad. Tangy and just the right amount of spice, this salad is giving. Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of vermicelli noodles but this time around I was pleasantly surprised. I do, however, wish the beef was just a tad bit more tender, but with the way everything comes together in terms of flavour, I really can’t complain.


Seafood Laksa — LKR 2,450 (4/5)

Now I’ve had enough laksas in my day to know a good laksa when I try one, and this one is IT. I was really slurping my way through this bowl of noods (dad joke – I know). Smothered in a creamy coconut gravy, this bowl has a jumbo prawn in every bite. And my favourite part? The star anise flavour. It’s present more so than any other flavour and usually, I’d be thrown off by this, but it makes this laksa stand out.

Pad Thai Noodles — LKR 2,500 (5/5)

Pad Thai is a timeless favourite for many reasons! The noodles are perfectly cooked and have just the right chew to it. It is the ideal homey meal with crunchy peanuts, juicy, succulent prawns, and just the right amount of tangy tamarind sauce. And the portion? Easily works for two! But my favourite part is the little serving of chilli powder on the side, giving me the choice of adjusting it to my preferred level of spice.

Thai Yellow Curry with Seafood — LKR 3,800 (5/5)

This Thai Yellow Curry with heaps of seafood is as good as it gets when it comes to comfort food. Packed with a ton of crab (and when I say a ton of crab, I mean a TON OF CRAB MEAT), prawns, cuttlefish and fish, the curry itself has an almost custard-esque texture to it that comes with the egg. And when paired with the creamy coconut milk, turmeric and other fragrant spices, they just all blend perfectly together. Get a plate of fluffy jasmine rice on the side and you’re sure to enjoy every last bite of this dish, ‘cause let’s be real… there’s really no other way to go about it.

Steamed Garoupa Fish — LKR 4,500 (4/5)

A fish prized for steaming because of its delicate tender yet firm white flesh, I must say, it is very decadent. And dressed with a herb salad, it makes for a pretty darn satisfying meal. Garoupa is not one of my go-to’s, not for flavour or taste, but for the presentation. Not really a fan of my food staring back at me… but flavour-wise, it was all there.  

Choo Chee Prawn — LKR 3,200 (5/5)

One of the lesser-known Thai classics, this Choo Chee Prawn curry choo-chee-wowed me (not sure if I’m using the term right). Flavours are king and the prawns – huge, might I add – are covered in the choo-chee curry. The flavours that stood out the most to me were the lemongrass and the prawn, both of which made for a dish that I would, without a doubt, come back to time and time again.

Spicy Prawn Pasta — LKR 2,900 (5/5)

Another take on a Western classic, this Spicy Prawn Pasta is definitely a top contender for best dish. The penne is slathered in a creamy prawn sauce and there is a tingling umami flavour which I think brought the dish a spicy, tangy element that is quintessentially East Asian. And I think an ongoing theme is the prawns and how huge they are because they do not disappoint in a single dish!


Sticky Rice with Mango — LKR 1,600 (5/5)

Now when it comes to East Asian cuisine, the one dessert I will always try is the Sticky Rice with Mango, especially because I love to see how it’s made differently in different places. The rice here is cooked so it has the perfect bite to it and the mango is sweet and tangy and just melts in your mouth. My favourite part is how the rice isn’t completely drowned in the milky coconut sauce, but covered just enough to complement the rice and mango! A solid 5/5.

Coconut Ice Cream — LKR 1,300 (5/5)

Coconut ice cream, I’ve discovered recently, is actually pretty amazing! This one is no different. Tropical bliss on a plate. That’s as best as I can describe this pretty little plate. And the coconut crumble in contrast with the rich and decadent ice cream is an absolute banger. I’ll say no more than that!


A multi-cuisine cafe by day, a Japanese restaurant by night, and a boutique hotel 24/7, this venue is one-of-a-kind. Adorned with works of art – from paintings to photographs to sculptures to statement furniture – your eyes won’t rest wherever you look. That isn’t to say your eyes are going to be busy and overwhelmed either. There’s a sense of zen and calm that transports you to a whole new dimension – so much so that we forgot we were literally in the heart of Colombo.

With super helpful staff and plenty of parking space, Zylan is a treat for all your senses. And the final consensus… this definitely is a place you should check out not just for the food, but for the vibes as well.

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Source From Pulse.lk
Author: Maneth Samarasinghe
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