What we had
A quaint Japanese experience!
Located at One Galle Face, AOBA is a great spot for a Japanese dinner date or even an intimate family gathering, with its cosy atmosphere and comfortable seating. We especially loved their bar and the paintings which adorned the walls, depicting Japanese heritage. Service too was wonderful, but before we delve into the eatery’s courteous and welcoming nature, let’s dive right into the thirst-quenching beverages and yummy food.
In terms of drinks, AOBA has an array of options; something for everyone. Taking the usual Happy Hour promotions to a whole new level, AOBA has multiple happy hours (from 10.00 AM to 2.00 PM and then again from 5 PM to 10 PM) on beer and sake to elevate your experience at the restaurant. Moreover, their newly launched menu comprises over 100 cocktails, which is truly impressive. Also, apart from the cocktails and mocktails, they also have liquor by the bottle and shot, tea, coffee, frappes, fresh juices, smoothies and soft drinks available.
Piña Colada (LKR 900)
Being a rum cocktail, the Piña Colada hit all the right spots! With a distinct taste of coconut and a pleasantly tangy flavour stemming from the pineapple, we loved everything about this drink! There was a great balance in the components and while we were able to taste the rum, it didn’t overpower the drink – which was an added bonus.
Lime and Watermelon Smoothie (LKR 560)
On a particularly hot day, this smoothie was absolutely refreshing! We appreciated that the sourness of the lime didn’t subdue the taste of the watermelon, and vice versa – the watermelon was blended in exact quantity so as not to water down the drink as a whole.
Koebi Karaage (LKR 650)
Super crispy and ideal as an appetizer, as promised by AOBA’s attentive staff, the Koebi Karaage is a must-try! While we had tried chicken karaage before, we weren’t entirely sure as to what to expect with the Koebi Karaage, but this dish of deep-fried shrimp was amazing; crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Further, in terms of the price point, we thought this dish, in particular, was well worth the money.
World Volcano Sushi (8 pcs) (LKR 1900)
God of Sushi! This dish truly packed a punch, and to all you die-hard Japanese-loving readers out there, this dish should definitely be on your radar. Made of crab and avocado and looking delectable as ever, we absolutely devoured this one, thanks to the explosion of flavours with each mouthful. Their “half” portion contains 4 pieces for the price of LKR 1,000, while the “full” portion consists of 8 pieces at LKR 1,900, and for 8 pieces of mouth-watering sushi, we thought this was a pretty good deal.
Salmon Butter Cream (LKR 1500)
Seeing this on the menu, we just knew we had to try it. The softest salmon fillet topped off with a smooth buttercream that really complemented the dish well. The presentation was strong with this one and the cut-up peppers added a splash of colour. However, this dish lacked seasoning so we had to make use of the spices and condiments available. We thought this dish was well worth the price too because we did get a hefty portion!
Chicken Katsu Don (LKR 1250)
Easily the most filling option from all the dishes we tasted, the Chicken Katsu Don, which is a personal go-to at any Japanese restaurant, was delicious! The rice was nice and sticky, as it should be, and the chicken which topped the bed of rice was made to perfection; crispy on the outside and moist and soft on the inside. This dish arrived at our table sizzling and steaming, and tasted super fresh too. Definitely recommend this one!
Fuwa Fuwa Pancake (with Choco-Banana) (LKR 1050)
AOBA has very minimal options in terms of desserts, but who needs options when they’ve got Fuwa Fuwa Pancakes? The fluffiest pancakes topped with chocolate sauce, cut-up bananas and oodles and oodles of cream. When I say oodles and oodles, I mean it; AOBA was super generous with their whipped cream. While the pancakes seemed moist from the outside, they were actually too dry for our liking. However, the whipped cream solved this. The chocolate sauce and bananas added flavour, making this popular Japanese dessert boast of texture. They also have plain and mixed fruit fuwa fuwa pancakes, along with sesame and matcha ice cream, as dessert options.
On the stellar service at AOBA, the staff made sure our experience was nothing short of welcoming and Lahiru deserves a special shout-out for being incredibly hospitable and inviting. The staff is well-versed with the menu and is happy to recommend dishes based on what your palate prefers.
All in all, while AOBA seems like the perfect night-time spot due to its interior and vibe as a whole, we also think it multi-functions as a post-shopping lunching spot. So, do try their food and drinks and let us know what you thought in the comments!
Tip – They have some great bottle deals going on at the moment on brandy and whisky, so do avail their offers while they last!