LION PUB THE PRIDE OF MOUNT LAVINIA
- THE JOE BERGER COLUMN
As watering holes go, Mount Lavinia’s ‘Lion Pub’ leads the competition Usain Bolt fashion. The Lion Pub has established itself as a rather efficient bar that serves rather good food. For many years their ‘beer garden’ with a play area provided the ambiance but a super air conditioned lounge has now been added giving customers diverse choices of where to eat and drink.
Somehow – and the owner must be the maestro at this art – the Lion Pub has always had excellent chefs – judging by the consistency of some of their signature dishes. Leading the way of course is the ubiquitous Nasi Goreng. With a very generous portion the dish is exceedingly great value for money. Although with the ever increasing prices of commodities Joe Berger would wager that the Lion Pub will be listening to its accountant sooner than later and raise their prices.
A variety of Chinese and South Asian dishes fill the rather tired looking menus but the food is anything but. On a recent last-minute visit more to kill the pangs of hunger than a desire to dine out and with ‘Gopi’ the cook back in action – as in gone home on a 4-day vacation – Joe had little choice but to dine out by default. The waiter took slightly longer than it should to take the order but the food itself arrived Usain-like. The house special that day was deep fried garoupa on a base of garlic sauce.
For Rs 660 for 500 grams of garoupa it was very solidly good value but much to Joe’s discomfort the fish was over fried. Just a touch but enough to sully that dish. The base of garlic sauce was good and did wonders to lift the state of the fish but it was a battle lost. We also had the hot butter cuttle fish and the kankun with garlic which Joe Berger found to be perfectly agreeable. The Nasi Goreng was superbly faultless.
The beer gardens appeared to be a hit with the clientele and the complement of tourists too; Located bang in the middle of ‘quickie central’s busy guest house area, the restaurant has been a popular stopover for many foreigners. The rather new(ish) air conditioned lounge is a world away from the beer gardens and the upstairs dining room and the owners have tried to offer an ambiance of tranquility. Perhaps because it is a non-smoking area, the lounge has not yet got off the starting blocks.
Lion Pub tends to get very crowded especially during times when sport is broadcast on the TV network and is quite popular with the office types. Limited parking is available although at busy times it is quite inadequate. Its iconic entrance – in the form of a very oversized Lion’s Head – has become as famous as the Pub itself and is the focal point used for giving location directions for addresses in the area.
All in all, Joe Berger found his dining and drinking experience at the Lion Pub to be a positive experience where ‘good food’ was well served. A meal for two was likely to cost in the region of Rs 2,000. The Lion Pub is located on Hotel Road, Mount Lavinia.
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