What we had
Tsing Tao the sister/Colombo branch of the famous Loon Tao located in Mount Lavinia has been in operation since 2013, serving authentic Chinese cuisine (with the addition of some Sri Lankan – Chinese fusion cuisine). Having just reopened their doors post-management change and post lockdown, Tsing Tao offers up the same delicious food and stylish atmosphere as before, with a few promotions to boot!
**Due to Covid-19 restaurants have taken many steps to ensure the safety and well-being of their staff and patrons – Tsing Tao has followed suit with staff that wear masks, sanitizer available at the door and outside bathrooms. Tables will only be set up once a customer/ group sits down, they maintain standard health and safety measures and enforce social distancing rules which enable staff and customers to remain safe during this time. They are currently taking steps to acquire new menus that they can sanitize and disinfect after every use for customers, but for those who are more technologically inclined their menu is also available online for viewing.
Tsing Tao is also available on UberEats, PickMe and Find My Food which is an online browser option whereby relatives who live abroad can order food to be delivered to their family here in Sri Lanka.
Tsing Tao sports a beautifully well-lit full bar which will be the first thing you see as you walk through the front door of the restaurant.
Mojito (LKR 920)
Cold and very refreshing this was a good mojito- it was fresh, minty, and strong, well suited for a hot midday in Colombo.
Very Berry (LKR 500)
This drink was a sweet treat, a mixture of raspberry, blackberry and cranberry topped with soda. It was reminiscent of a berry flavoured Shirley temple sans the alcohol. If you’re a fan of sweet drinks, this would be ideal for you, it also makes for a very pretty picture.
Vegetable Spring Roll (LKR 490)
Light and crispy, the vegetable spring rolls were served with a sweet and sour sauce. The filling of the spring roll was incredibly well seasoned and balanced, the veggie filling was generous but also simple only using some carrot, cabbage, onions, garlic and mushroom, which gave it a slight umami meaty taste – this simplicity paired well with the sauce it came with. Perfect to start off a meal with, this wasn’t too greasy or heavy and it definitely whets the appetite.
Hot Butter Cuttlefish (LKR 1290)
Of course, we would be silly if we went to a Chinese restaurant and didn’t at least try their Hot Butter Cuttlefish (HBC). The Cuttlefish was so soft and buttery, while the batter was crisp and light on the outside, whilst this HBC was a bit sweet for our tastes we weren’t too pleased with the portion size. Another positive aspect was that this HBC wasn’t covered in oil, additionally, it was served on a nice crisp bed of fried rice noodles which was pretty nice to pick and munch on too.
Stir-Fried Chicken in Black Bean Sauce (Sizzling) (LKR 790)
One of the table favourites, this came on a sizzling pan under a cloche, and once it was lifted we were greeted with exciting wafts of smoke from the pan. Black Bean Sauce is a notoriously hard sauce to perfect, with places often making it far too salty or tasting more like an oyster sauce than anything else, but the sizzling chicken in black bean sauce here was divine. Smokey and soft the chicken was perfectly cooked, the sauce was thick and delicious, perfectly balanced where I could taste the distinct flavour of black bean, followed by black pepper and a smokiness from the sizzling plate. The chicken was mixed with a variety of veggies like bell peppers and wood ear mushrooms, which all remained crispy and vibrant, adding freshness and texture to the dish.
Singapore Style Spicy Noodle with Prawns and Chicken (LKR 990)
Hands down the top pick for everyone, this spicy noodle was packed with prawn and chicken and had a nice spicy kick to it. The noodle was perfectly stir-fried, with that signature smokiness that’s achieved from using a wok. Soft and chewy the rice noodles were not mushy and every bite had chunks of chicken and prawn. True to its name this noodle reminded us of the noodles you can get when you travel to Singapore and order at an authentic Chinese family-owned hawker stall.
Spicy Fried Rice with Shredded Chicken (LKR 870)
This portion of fried rice was very generous, however, though called ‘spicy’, the dish wasn’t spicy at all, but the staff at the establishment are incredibly friendly and attentive and you could just ask them to go heavy on the chilli if you wish, however as is customary the fried rice does come with chilli paste so either way, you’d get your spice. Loaded with copious amounts of shredded chicken, the flavour of the rice was pretty mild, with a slight char to it from the wok making this a perfect accompaniment for any dishes with sauces.
Sago Cream with Peach (LKR 390)
The dessert garnered mixed reviews, with a split between some of us loving it and some thinking it was a little too sweet. Quite authentic to Chinese and Southeast Asian style desserts, this cold ‘pudding’ style dessert was basically a mixture of blended peach with sago. With a very strong peach taste and the comforting and familiar softness of sago, this dessert was pretty light and somewhat fresh and cold, which was a perfect end to the dinner, cutting through any oily or overly savoury aftertastes you may have.
Warmly lit, with a red, black, gold and brown colour palette, the restaurant exuded a very stylish Chinese dining room feel. It’s almost like stepping into another era, with copious imported artworks and ornaments, adorning shelves, walls and tabletops. Each table also sports a mini lucky bamboo plant, which in Chinese culture is known to bring positive energy supposedly attracting good health, peace, happiness, prosperity, longevity and good luck.
There are two levels to the establishment with seating for about 50 people upstairs and 40 downstairs, the upstairs portion is also available for gatherings though as of now only small groups are allowed due to the restrictions on public gatherings that have been put in place.
Tip – Their Singapore style Chicken and Prawn Noodle is a treat and a must-have!