Reviewed by Zainab Faizal | 3 months ago
AYU translates to life and according to their website they've been inspired by contemporary urban grocery stores. Now before I launch into my AYU puns, let's talk a little about this place.
First of all, this isn't your average restaurant. Why? It's because the moment you walk out of the lift and your feet hit the ground you realize the entire fourth floor is solely dedicated to the restaurant! Although this might seem quite overwhelming - fear not, they've got friendly staff who'd guide you around and take you to your table. (It's all good)
Moving on, you'd realize that seating is spread across the entire floor. You can get a table for two by the window, our lounge in their lush sofa's, sit in a discreet place where you can secretly drool over the action stations or like us sit right in front of the dessert buffet. (It's all for the motivation to get there)
If you're a smoker and you'd like to face the Sri Lankan heat, you're more than welcome to be seated outside for your convenience!
Like mentioned earlier, you find a very contemporary look with high ceiling and different stations for the food. You'd find creamy green granite table tops where the chef n dishes are placed in a neat row to the glass walls bringing in the fresh rays of sunlight giving it a very vibrant and energized feeling to the guest. With light emerald green water tumblers, bamboo inspired placemats along with wooden blocks for most of the display, truly brought it to AYU (pun intended)
Movenpick is located right in the hub of everything. You get the giant Liberty Shopping mall to the cinemas and easy access to the rest of Colombo by just crossing the road! Leaving the delicious hotel, you'd face true Lankan authenticity with the Kollupitiya Supermarket right in front! #trulysrilankan
The staff were brilliant and were really helpful if required. Nothing to complain of.
The line up of how the stations are addressed are entirely different compared to any other buffet restaurant we've seen so far in the country.
As soon as you enter your eyes would feast on possibly the largest selection of salad/appetizers station! You'd probably wonder if you'd need two or three plates, since one would do not justice!
The Mains are found on towards the left side of the floor, in a neat row with two action stations when we visited (a pasta station and a grilled steak station) along with Sri Lankan delicacies and a round of dishes dedicated for the love of Indian.
On the opposite end you'd find yourself lost in your world of dessert. A long row filled with basically anything you can imagine! From Creme Brûlée (THAT CRACKS) to their infamous chocolate cake and lots more!
Enough talking - let's get to the Buffet already.
With a giant selection, from a bread station to a Maki roll counter and hummus to bring your inner #Habibti7 to cold seafood (reminding you of Mr. Bean and his oysters) and the fabulous cheese & crackers station! (Trust me, there's a lot more)
Here are 5 items we tried:
Chicken Terrine with Grape Compote
This savory herb flecked party delight was on point. We enjoyed the softness and how much of flavor was packed in with the subtle herbs. The compote complimented the dish and we certainly enjoyed the sweet zing to it.
Crab and Mango Salad
This was very refreshing and goes along the lines of a mango salsa. We found the crab meat totally soaked into the juices of the lime and mixed up with the chopped up tomato and mango. The fact that it was juicy and yet giving out the tangy sweetness of the Mango mixed with the cilantro was precisely the highlight of the dish. Unfortunately we didn't exactly taste the fresh water crab meat, assuming the salad overpowered it.
Cheese and Onion Tart
Having tried a limited amount of savory tarts, giving this a shot was the best decision ever. The tart was cooked to perfection with the light golden brown crust on top, practically glistening with all the shine! The cheese was exceedingly smooth with the caramelized onion, giving you quite the experience for your loyal tastebuds.
The obsession with nachos is real. Walking down the starters and eyeing the orangish red nachos, literally got our hearts to skip a beat. Taking a bite into it, and administering the flavor of the spicy cheese you realize these are Dorito's - That's where you went wrong. It is homemade and it's not Dorito's. Like how?
Since it's been out in the open for too long it had lost its crunch but nevertheless it's the bomb.
Perhaps the only Middle Eastern dip that the whole of humanity would trade the world for. The chick pea delight was blended to perfection with the right amount of paprika and olive oil, bringing out a creamy and yet slightly grainy texture that lingers on your tongue.
Ahh the best part! The mains have a range of items once again. With the hotel occupancy being largely from the Middle East and India - AYU makes sure they cover it all.
Here are 8 items we tried:
The moment you see this name you should be expecting something Arabic and we were quite intrigued to find out what it was. Dawood basha in other words is for lamb kofta meatballs, in a tomato based sauce. It's a famous Lebanese dish that conquers hearts. The meatballs were juicy but also a little tough, we tasted the aromatic Middle Eastern spices. The tomato sauce was tangy, quirky almost close to a rich pasta sauce.
Yes this is it, and if you haven't tried a deconstructed version of a ratatouille then you're missing a whole lot. This dish wasn't what I expected, with the overdose of eggplant, bell pepper and potato cooked with fresh pepper and herbs. Although it was slightly salty, we felt it was pretty decent.
Chili Tossed Green Beans
Beans have been MY worst enemy and I avoid it when I can. But these were tossed in chili and who can resist spice? The crunchy green beans were oiled and mixed among a bubbly chili sauce that was spicy and sweet, making it a deviled vegetarian dish!
Indian curry is always a delight, and the chicken makhani was so darn good. The curry was simmered down with curd and the secret Indian spices to a thick curry along with boneless pieces of juicy meat. Have it with naan or rice and you're settled.
Action Station - Steak
Possibly the yummiest action station with lots of red meat waiting to be grilled upon request. The meat was thinly sliced with no excess fat and since we asked for well done we got it all glistening and brown with a little spicy sauce!
Grilled Chicken Skewer with Harissa
The grilled chicken skewers were cooked in a grill which gave out the smoky flavor along with the juices of the grilled pepper soaked into the meat. The Harissa sauce which is a North African hot chili pepper paste with all the spicy chili and herbs infused to give the extra "oomph" for the meat.
Are you saving that dessert for me? Because you'd honestly have to make room for all the glorious desserts they've got on display.
Here are 5 items we tried:
Yes, it's mini creme brûlées at a Sri Lankan buffet. The brûlée had the blow torched layer on top which cracked once your dessert spoon hit it! It was super creamy and with the crackly layer on top - made it amazing.
Have you ever tried a deconstructed brownie, butchered with chocolate sauce and swirls of shaved chocolate? Then you honestly need to give this one a shot, it was gooey and crunchy and at the same time melting with chocolate. So sinful, you'd feel like an addict.
Chocolate Praline Mousse
Tired of the boring old chocolate mousse and you want something new? The mousse had crushed pralines and biscotti layered on top. It was in-delectably smooth and something you'd crave for.
Banana Fig Cake
This was a Middle Eastern dessert, because the moment you got the figs in your mouth you realize it screams ARAB. (Not being racist or anything, personally I love the Arabs) We enjoyed the authenticity and how Arabic favorites were incorporated into a fancy cake. Loved the fusion.
Signature Chocolate Cake
This is apparently their famous chocolate cake which the chef recommends, and has been of huge demand within the guests and employees alike. The cake was dense and chocolatey, however it was also surprisingly soft and airy. You didn't feel like you had a rich chocolate cake, which leaves you in confusion as you scoop up more spoons to fulfill your never ending desire.
LUNCH - 2930/- Nett
DINNER - 3300/- Nett
AYU has a 24 hour menu for your all day dining and have a pretty exclusive round up of dishes for grabs! With decent pricing and variety.
What we thought?
Speaking frankly we adored AYU and the extensive range of dishes they had to offer. We loved the concept, and how all the dishes were intact together but rather in different serving stations. The fact that it was far apart made us work our lazy bums to the relevant areas - great workout! It would also be great if they focused on giving a little description on items with foreign names - i.e. Dawood Basha.
What to look forward to?
Mövenpick ICE CREAM IS MAKING A COMEBACK! It's heading to Sri Lanka all the way from Switzerland and within a couple of days, everyone's Instagram would be #MovenpickIcecream