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&Co at The Steuart

We have been here a few times and quite enjoy it. The place reminds us of a pub style hotel in the UK, like a step or two above a Travel Lodge, while the restaurant area very much has a pub style and atmosphere. So how is it?


Phone: 011 557 5575

Instagram: @thesteuart_co/


Directions: Behind the Old Dutch Hospital, on the corner.


Covid Care: On arrival log in or QR code scan, temperature check and hand sanitiser. Staff all wear masks. QR-code menus available.


First Impression

If you're confused whether the place is called The Steuart or &Co, so were we! However, we can clarify. The hotel is called The Steuart (in full, The Steuart by Citrus) and the restaurant is called &Co. It's a nice, short name but sounds a bit clumsy when spoken; tell someone to "Meet us at And Co" and you'll see what we mean. Saying, "Meet us at the Steuart, in the restaurant" works better. Anyway it was just one of us, not meeting anyone, so we didn't have that challenge!


We entered through The Steuart's lobby lounge and into &Co. The style is very much that of a pub, a rather upmarket one but still very relaxed and casual. Coming in, there are booths to the left, a selection of tables at the far end and the washrooms to the right. The bar sits in the middle. The general atmosphere is relaxed. We selected a table and after a moment a waiter approached.


Menu

The menu is available to access via your phone using a QR code, but we had some trouble with the scanner so they brought a couple of actual menus.


The menu offers both bar snacks and full meals, with a good selection of international dishes covering a variety of cuisines, with a Sri Lankan influence.


The bar menu has classic pub food like calamari, fries and garlic bread, as well as Sri Lankan bites like devilled chicken, cheese toast and cutlets.


On the main menu there are surprisingly few starters, just three salads and a cold mezze, but there are also a trio of soups; besides, the bar menu dishes can doubtless double as starters.


There is a much wider selection of main courses. There are casual dishes like burgers, pies, fish & chips and an all day breakfast, as well as a number of grills, pastas, seafood and steaks and a German pork knuckle. If this wasn't all international enough, there is also an "Around the World" section with a selection of classic Sri Lankan dishes, as well as a couple of Thai and Indian dishes. For desserts there's a small selection of cakes, brownies, fruit and ice cream. The menu is indeed diverse and varied, suited to most palates and preferences.


We had planned to just have a single dish but noticed that the &Co had a good lunch offer; between 12.30 and 2.30pm, Monday to Friday, buying a main course will get a free mocktail and dessert. Yes, both. So we decided to order a starter as well and make a full meal of it!


On the subject of happy hours, they also have a two-for-one deal on a range of drinks every evening, but the exact times vary depending on the day.


The Food

Clockwise from top left: Meaty Salad; Steak Pie; inside the Steak Pie; Chocolate Biscuit Pudding


We ordered a "Meet the Meaty" starter, followed by an Aberdeen Steak Pie. The free dessert choice was very limited but we chose the classic Chocolate Biscuit Pudding.


The "Meet the Meaty" starter is essentially a salad with meat, egg, cheese and a balsamic dressing. As a starter it was a fair portion and the mix of tastes worked well. The salad was made of several different leaves mixed with tomato and shredded red, yellow and green peppers. It certainly looked good and mostly tasted good. The leaves were reasonably fresh and the egg was hard boiled and sliced. The bacon was well done, cooked so it was turning crispy. There was a fair sized piece of cheddar cheese cut into thick slices like fingers; it was not a particularly great cheese but went well with everything else. The chicken mortadella pieces, too, seemed to be rather cheap and bland, adding very little to the taste. The pork pieces were better, a little fatty, but overall the ingredients came together to deliver a nice, tasty and rather substantial salad starter.


The Aberdeen Steak Pie was served in a metal pot on a plank of wood with three wooden bowls for mashed potato, spinach and gravy. The pie pot was a good size, promising a filling portion. The pastry top was baked to a golden brown, the corners having over the edges. It looked nice and flaky and, indeed, it was. Cutting into it, flakes fell onto the wood below. Soon I was able to peel back the top and, after a rush of steam had cleared, I could see the inside packed with pieces of diced steak resting in a thick gravy. The meat was tender, juicy and tasted very good, a rich flavour enhanced by the gravy.


The accompanying mashed potato was thick and creamy, smooth without lumps and the spinach too was good. Overall, this was very good. Tasty and well cooked, I could imagine it comparing well with a similar pie from the UK. And it was a generous portion; I actually felt quite full but I had ordered dessert so it came.


The Chocolate Biscuit Pudding was a small portion thankfully, served with a strawberry coulis and slice of strawberry. It was a nice mix of creamy and crunch, with the rich chocolate taste that you would expect. Nothing special but, as a complimentary dessert, it was a nice end to the meal.


Service

The people in &Co were generally pleasant and helpful. They let me choose a table myself, offered to help with the QR code and online menu but, when I asked if they could get me a printed one, there was hesitation. He answered questions about the free dessert offer and other questions. A couple of times I had to wait to catch someone's eye but overall they were hospitable and took good care.


Prices:

The prices are a little above mid range, as you might expect not only from a hotel but from a restaurant in the vicinity of Dutch Hospital. The items on the bar menu are mostly between Rs800 to Rs1000; salads from Rs750 to Rs890 and the soups Rs575 to Rs625. Burgers are from Rs1250 to Rs1450, pastas from Rs1150 to Rs1350 and Sri Lankan dishes Rs1100 to Rs1400.

My Meaty salad starter cost Rs830 and the steak pie Rs1490

While the prices are above average, the deals make it better value. Rs1490 for the pie, dessert and a mocktail is not a bad deal.


Summary

Lunch at &Co was a peasant experience. It has a nice up-market pub atmosphere, decent service, and the food was good - especially the Steak Pie. Having eaten there a few times before, it does appear to be consistent as well, which is helpful. The lunchtime deals do make it better value. Recommended.

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