By Dimithri Wijesinghe
The Central Perk is not a replica of the actual “Central Perk” from the TV Show “Friends”; apart from the classic orange couch, some posters on the wall, and dishes named using some iconic lines, there’s really nothing else that relates it to the show.
However, the idea is something that warmed our hearts. Speaking about what really drew them to the Friends theme, one of the owners, Ara Rasool, said: “Growing up, we saw those six friends and how their beautiful stories develop. All those amazing storylines that we love so much began at Central Perk, so what we want is for many such stories to begin here.”
Ara is one of the four owners of The Central Perk, together with her husband Rumaiz Ramzy and their friends Mohomed Rimzi and his wife Shazi Salim.
We have to admit, with all this hype surrounding the opening of this new café, we went in with rather high expectations. To be honest, the place does somewhat live up to the hype in terms of venue, ambiance, and service – the staff were lovely and the owner Ara was an absolute darling, so you will know when we say we disliked something, with great reluctance do we express it at all.
When we visited the café, we had a chat with some of the staff who told us that while their menu isn’t that extensive, they’ve got great cakes, enjoyable savouries, and offer amazing coffee; so here’s what we tried:
Central Mint Ice Fusion (Rs.790) – True to their word, this drink was delightful. The whipped cream was paired with chocolate sauce and a drizzle of mint, which was a perfectly wonderful addition to the otherwise chocolaty drink. Like most cafe drinks, it’s straight up a jug full of sugar, but we weren’t complaining. It was delicious.
Honey (Rs.650) and Death by Chocolate (Rs.500) – Both cakes were amazing. Honey looks quite beautiful and tastes just as good; it tasted like a milky, creamy, soft-textured pudding. The chocolaty one on the other hand was closer to the cake texture one would ordinarily expect, perfect for those who prefer dark chocolate.
The savoury options are where we were disappointed; we made an attempt to diversify our choices, just to make sure that we’re not unfairly judging them on one unfortunate dish.
The cheapest dish on the menu, Baila Twist (Rs.500), which is pol roti, devilled chicken, omelette, and katta sambol comes with a “spice alert!” warning. However, we can guarantee the warning isn’t necessary; there isn’t a whole lot of spice in the dish.
Then there’s Pivot! (Rs.790) which is basically falafel, and it is a decent enough falafel.
Pheebo (Rs.950) – it promises creamy mushroom, tomato, and cheese pasta and this one is the one dish that let us down the most out of everything else we tried. We’re not sure, but we think they forgot to add salt to our serving. There are no salt or pepper shakers on the tables and because we were just not sure and didn’t want to make a fuss, we chose to abandon this dish after a few bites.
Je-Depli-MBlue (Rs.1100) – It’s basically chicken wrapped around cheese, but the whole thing was doused in quite a lot of oil; the side of mash this came with somewhat resurrected this dish.
The savoury options truly need improvement and we’re hopeful that with time, they’ll improve and we’ll definitely return to enjoy what they come up with.
Photos: Krishan Kariyawasam