The Irish Bar and Grill
Updated: Dec 2, 2020
While it is about as Irish as sweet and sour chicken, The Irish does offer a pleasant, convivial pub atmosphere with good service and decent pub food.
Address: 63 Park Street, Colombo 00200
Phone: 011 269 4399
Covid Care: none evident.
While they fail dismally at being Irish, they have created a pleasant pub atmosphere with good pub grub and pleasant service and so have created a pleasant place for a few beers and something to eat.
Your first impression will depend very much on whether you were looking for an "Irish" pub and whether you have ever been to a decent Irish pub in your life. If you were hoping for something Irish and have anything to compare it to, then your first impression is going to be profound disappointment. Calling it "Irish", having a green colour menu and describing the meatballs as "Paddy's Balls" does NOT make it Irish; nor does hanging a couple of pictures of Bob Geldof and Colin Farrell, though we must acknowledge that at least now the Irish Stew is now offered in lamb as well as beef.
If and when you get over the disappointment of no Irish beer, almost no (real) Irish food, no Irish music and no Irish sports or entertainment on the TV (cricket is not big in Ireland), however, and you try to imagine that the place is a pub in Sri Lanka - not so hard to imagine, to be fair - then you might relax and find yourself asking questions like "who are in India playing in the cricket?" and "When was that photo of Bob Geldof taken, he looks so young!"
While The Irish does a poor job of being Irish, they do a pretty good job of being a pub. The ambience is pub-like and welcoming, there's sports on the TV, music in the background (a bit loud for the older generation maybe but the Sudda Teens were happy) and there is a decent choice of food on the menu - even a selection of tapas (as Irish as Paella.....)
As alluded to, the menu is quite extensive with calamari, satay, bruschetta, nachos and in a nod to the Emerald Isle there is colcannon. There's also a selection of soups and salads.
For mains there is a Europe-wide choice including pizza and pasta, tortillas, sandwiches, and a selection of chicken dishes, pork and beef including schnitzels and stews, and seafood.
As for drinks, there are no Irish beers available, it's Lion or Carlsberg or a few other imported bottles. The spirits at least includes a selection of Jameson whiskeys.
We skipped the starters and chose a chicken Caesar Salad, a grilled mandarin salmon steak and we decided to try an Irish Stew - of the authentic lamb variety.
Chicken Caesar Salad Grilled Salmon Steak Irish Lamb Stew
All three of the dishes were good, better than average, and all were fair sized portions.
The chicken Caesar salad contained nice and crispy lettuce, tender chunks of chicken and was drizzled in a creamy Caesar dressing which mixed well together.
The salmon steak too was good, though just slightly overdone but thankfully had not gone dry. The accompanying side vegetables were still crunchy while the mashed potato was rich and creamy and the mandarin sauce on the side was a nice combination.
Last time that we came, there was only a beef stew available which was a bit disappointing; now they have added a more authentic lamb and it is a reasonable effort. The lamb was fairly tasty and the broth itself was a little thin and bland but not bad. The stew was offered with either rice or bread rolls, we chose the latter and they were small but fresh and were good for dipping!
Overall, the food is good, given in decent portions and quite quickly. Satisfactory pub grub.
Ambience and Service
The place recreates a typical pub fairly well with a bar at one end for stool seating and to chat with the bar staff, or table seating to sit alone or with friends. The walls hold posters of Irish scenes and token Irish celebrities, while the two or three TV screens are playing sports (cricket when we were there) and a DJ played current music.
The service was welcoming, they acknowledged us as we came in and quickly approached the table that we had selected to bring us menus and take the order. At least the warm service is as you would expect from an Irish!
The prices are a bit higher than similar casual places, but it's probably fair to say that the food is also a bit above average.
Starters begin at just under Rs1000 and go up to Rs1200 for satay for crab cakes.
Soups are all around Rs800 and salads around Rs1300.
Main courses range from around Rs1700 for something simple, to Rs2500 for a bigger dish, and up to Rs3500 and beyond for steak or a lamb shank.
Overall if you accept the place as a pub, a watering hole, and you can get over the fact that it has little actual Irish about it, then you should find yourself enjoying your time there. The staff make an effort to be welcoming and friendly and will take good care of you and the food is wholesome and tasty. Just don't hope for a pint of Guinness!