What we had
A taste of Malaysia in the heart of Colombo!
Entering Santai, meaning “relaxed”, it is quite apparent that the establishment stayed true to its name. From the mood lighting equipped, to its scenic exterior and interior, the restaurant exudes a homely atmosphere with soothing instrumental music playing in the background. Needless to say, the ambience at Santai Colombo was splendid so we couldn’t wait to take a look at their menu and try out what they had to offer.
At my first glance of the menu, it was clear that Santai had paid close attention to the menu and ensured that their customers have all the information, for those who aren’t familiar with Malaysian cuisine and as such, they strictly do not serve beef or pork.
Bonus point: Santai is eco-friendly and uses paper straws!
Green Apple and Calamansi Juice – LKR 500
On a hot day, we could not have ordered a better drink! We were glad to have this recommended to us by their staff, because the juice was so refreshing. The elements of apple and calamansi were balanced very well and this is a great choice to complement their food! It is both sweet and sour and is guaranteed to help you beat the heat.
Teh Tarik (Cold) – LKR 350
Now here’s the only instance we were let down by the staff. You can decide whether you want your Teh Tarik cold or hot. We specifically chose the cold option, but unfortunately we were served a warm Teh Tarik and had to request the staff to add ice. It was your basic milk tea, and tasted just fine.
Satay Kambing (Mutton) – LKR 950
Easily the winning dish of our meal, the Satay Kambing was SO GOOD, albeit a tad over-priced. The mutton was succulent and juicy, the seasoning was on point, and the peanut sauce really was the cherry on top. As someone who has tasted authentic Malaysian street food from the country it originated from, I could easily claim that this dish holds up. Kudos to Santai Colombo.
Nasi Lemak with Mutton Rendang – LKR 1200
This dish was quite good and filling, although we expected more authenticity for the price. The mutton, unlike our satay, was too dry and the dish lacked gravy overall. Then again, that may be the Sri Lankan in me wanting gravy with everything. In comparison to our next dish unfortunately, the Nasi Lemak with Mutton Rendang was sub-par. However, the coconut rice was fragrant, as promised and the sambal saved the dish.
Nasi Goreng Kampung – LKR 1050
This dish looked absolutely delicious and tasted just the same. It included tempered and seasoned rice, tender and crispy chicken, vegetable curry which tasted heavenly, kerepok (crackers), fried sprats which added that extra crunch, and it was topped off with an egg which had a nice runny yolk. All the elements combined to put forth a great main! No complaints here!
Ice Kacang/ABC (Ais Batu Campur) – LKR 850
This dessert was the perfect culmination of a sugar rush and brain freeze, and was yet so satisfying! Consisting of shaved ice, rose syrup, gula melaka sauce, toasted peanuts, creamy corn, different jellies, red beans, and a scoop of ice cream, this dessert is what we Sri Lankans would call an utter achcharuwa, but this is definitely an extraordinary dessert and is a must try, although be warned that it’s not for everyone! Also, their gula melaka is sourced from Melaka and is 100% pure natural coconut palm sugar.
Kuih Ketayap – LKR 650
We tried another dessert with gula melaka and we were pleased yet again! The dish consisted of rolled pandan flavoured thin crepes filled with shredded coconut cooked in the sugary treat. It’s official guys; gula melaka is the food of the Gods. It’s sweet, but not so sweet that you feel guilty after eating it, and the crepes were so thin and soft. This was basically a giant hug in the form of a dessert.
For a restaurant that opened up less than a month ago, we were happy to observe that our wait time was only 10 minutes and the food arrived warm.
In our opinion, Santai, for a newcomer in the Colombo eatery scene has done a great job in conceptualizing Malaysian cuisine and although they still have some fine tuning to do, we are looking forward to seeing them prosper.
Tip – Try the Green Apple and Calamansi Juice and Nasi Goreng Kampung!