What we had
A market crash you’d actually enjoy!
Fun way to spend your Friday nights? Watching the prices of your drinks fluctuate! Colombo is constantly coming up with new and crazy bar concepts from speakeasies to speed dating, but The Exchange brings to you a novel ‘bidding bar’ concept.
The concept is such that you order your drinks through an app which lists down all your options in a stock exchange format. As your night progresses, your drinks have a chance of becoming more or less expensive according to the demand for it. The waiter assured us that there is a ceiling price though, and that nothing goes above a certain limit so what could possibly go wrong, right?
The Exchange menu is extensive from bar bites to rices to burgers, along with some of their signature cocktails. Here’s what we thought.
Hoping the drinks would be cheaper on a Monday night, we headed to Exchange on a weekday and boy, were we pleasantly surprised!
Taste of Exchange – LKR 850
A combination of vodka, cranberry, orange, lime and sprite; this drink is meant to be their signature cocktail but was sadly underwhelming. There was a strong taste of lime and although the flavours were balanced just fine, we expected a little more flare. But hey, no complaints because we got this drink for LKR 670, almost 200 bucks cheaper than its original price! Win!
Arrack Attack – LKR 950
Each bar has its own rendition of an arrack cocktail and let me tell you, this one was a winner. Not only did we get it for LKR 690, which is more than 250 bucks cheaper than original price, but the combination of arrack, grenadine and orange juice really knocked us off our feet! It was simple, yet classy, feisty yet tasty; and we definitely loved it.
Sea Breeze – LKR 800
This drink was supposed to be a combination of vodka, cranberry juice and grapefruit juice and tasted exactly like their signature cocktail. Though it didn’t have anything resembling the sea in it, the drink definitely had a punch and would satisfy a cocktail craving nicely. Got it for LKR 690, so another win!
Blue Moon – LKR 500
The one mocktail we decided to try out came out quite satisfactory. With tons of ice surrounded by a magical dark blue; the combination of blue curacao, cranberry juice and lemon juice was quite thirst quenching. And for LKR 420 on a Monday night, pocket friendly too!
These dishes are basically their bar bites menu and whilst they have classics like Hot Butter Cuttlefish, their chicken wings sounded most appetizing.
Lime Paprika Spicy Chicken Wings – LKR 590
Crisp and well-done, we were served 6 well-seasoned wings. They weren’t spicy per se, however the lime and paprika flavours definitely pulled through. They were slightly dry and a sauce would have made it better, but pair it with a cold beer and you’ve got a real delicacy!
Fish and Chips – LKR 790
Coming in a fairly small portion, their fish and chips would be more enjoyed as a bite rather than a full meal. The chips were spiced with salt and chilli powder, putting them more on the spicy side. The fish got rubbery when it went cold, however it came in great bite-size pieces, and were crispy, well-seasoned and delicious when they first arrived to the table.
Smoky Sizzling Mixed Grill – LKR 1190
Now here’s a mixed grill definitely worth the price. A fairly large portion consisting of 2 jumbo chicken sausages, 2 pork chops, 2 pieces of rosemary crumb grilled chicken, 2 sauces and a side of mashed potatoes, this main would fill you right up. It came sizzling and hot, with the sausages well grilled, and the chicken gorgeously seasoned and deliciously well done. The pork was a little tough and under-seasoned, which we weren’t really fond of and whilst the potatoes were aptly mashed, they could have used more cream or seasoning. But all-in-all, the Mixed Grill was a good dish, worthy of the price.
Chicken Nasi goreng – LKR 750
Wanting to try the Pad Thai, the waiter recommended we go for the Nasi and we were glad we did. This was easily the tastiest dish we ordered. Consisting of a large portion of rice accompanied by 2 sticks of satay and a fried egg, this dish was well seasoned and had great flavour; being quite a massive portion too.
All in all, though The Exchange looks a bit dodge from the outset because of their almost malfunctioning elevator and terrible washrooms, their service is star-class, their drinks are fun and their food is well-executed. They even had a great playlist and a live band on a Monday so I’d suggest you give them a go and see how you like it!
Tip – take a risk with your drinks and do be sure to check out the rooftop!