Land of Kings (Battaramulla)
We've eaten at this Game of Thrones themed restaurant a few times and it has always been good. The Battaramulla branch, known as "Castle Black" was opened late in 2020; the first, original branch is in Kaduwela.
Address: No. 1096 Pannipitiya Road, Battaramulla
Phone: 070 339 9599
Directions: On the road from Battaramulla Main Road to Pelawatte, it's just after Prestige Autos and Santa Dora Hospital, shortly before Lavinia and the bridge to Pelawatte.
Covid Care: Staff wear masks. Hand sanitiser available.
Outside the door stand two knights, each about seven feet tall, leaning on their swords. In the daylight this looks interesting but at night they are lit up from below and their eyes glow red, turning it from interesting to, well, imposing? Slightly threatening? Anyway, they haven't stopped anyone from entering (yet!) so you can step through into the restaurant.
Inside, there is a replica of the GoT Iron Throne, positioned at the top end of the room, to look along at the bar and the downstairs tables. Guests are welcome to sit on it for photos but we wanted to have a look around. The room is quite long and narrow; on one side is a long bar counter and on the other, along the windows, are three or four tables. At the far end of the room are a couple of more secluded, cosy tables, then stairs going up, nicely decorated with GoT banners.
The Upstairs is wider and more spacious, with a row of tables along the windows opposite several tables with chairs and sofas. Pictures of GoT characters adorn the walls. Overall the upstairs is more decorated and feels more spacious but downstairs is also comfortable - and has the iron throne!
The menu offers a diverse, eclectic choice of food. There is European, including an Italian section; Asia, including a Chinese section; American; and of course Sri Lankan. Some of the dishes have Game of Thrones themed names.
For Appetisers, there's five to choose from including spring rolls, cheesy fries or scallops.
There's also a choice of six soups including winter vegetable, minestrone or Tom Yum, and four salads including a Russian salad.
The Italian Pasta section offers a standard choice of pasta, risotto and lasagne but also has a gnocchi as well.
The main courses include European classics: pork chop, lamb chop, chicken breast and grilled fish. There's a range of fried rice, chop suey rice, noodles and kottu dishes, Sri Lankan curries and an extensive Chinese selection as well.
There's a choice of burgers too including the signature dish, claiming the title of "The Tallest Burger in Sri Lanka", no less than 11 layers of chicken with cheese, egg, fries and bun.
After all that and there are, surprisingly, only a handful of desserts on offer but probably nobody has room for dessert after demolishing the tallest burger!
There is also a small "Black" section, presumably from the Caste Black moniker which includes a black pizza and Castle Black sandwich.
For drinks there is a selection of soft drinks, juices, teas and mocktails; they are not yet licensed.
On two separate visits we tried the Winterfell Vegetable and Coriander soup, chicken spring rolls, vegetable kottu and a sesame chicken with hot orange sauce.
For a winter vegetable soup, I had expected something with pieces of vegetables floating in a broth but what came looked like a thick pea soup. I gave it a stir; it was thick, perfectly smooth and creamy with just a few, tiny pieces of vegetable visible. It had quite a rich flavour; no single vegetable could be discerned in the taste; rather, it was a blend of veggies, overlaid with coriander. After a few spoonfuls I realised it was a little tangy, nicely so, in a winter warming way.
What was particularly satisfying was that, as it was quite thick, I managed not to spill any onto my shirt. I could wear a hazmat suit and still spill soup onto my tie, but this all stayed in the bowl and on my spoon. Delighted!
The other time, I started with the Chicken Spring Rolls. These were excellent; the pastry was particularly light and crispy, while the chicken and vegetable filling was thick, the veggies crunchy and the chicken moist, tender and flavoursome. I briefly tried the accompanying sweet chilli sauce but actually enjoyed the taste of the spring rolls without.
For the mains, the first time I tried the vegetable kottu. This was a good sized portion and with plenty of vegetables; carrot sticks and pieces of spring onion were spilling out. The taste was delicious, rich, only slightly spicy.
The sesame chicken is another winner. The pieces of chicken are lightly coated in a sesame flavoured batter and the thin, crispy sesame crunch perfectly offsets the tender, juicy chicken pieces; it's another winner. It comes with a "Hot Orange Sauce" and I learned quickly that here, "hot" means spicy. The flavour is overwhelmingly of chilli and garlic, the orange flavour lurks beneath. I would have preferred a stronger orange taste and milder chili taste but that of course is personal preference.
Everyone has always been friendly and welcoming. The iced tea is mixed to my request, the food arrives reasonably quickly and is presented nicely. The first time that I was there, the chef came out to discuss the food. All very good.
The prices are varied, like the menu. The soups range from Rs400 to Rs680; appetisers from Rs690 to Rs1320. The burgers range from Rs520 to Rs850 except for the Tallest, 11-piece burger which is priced at Rs3499. The rices, noodles and kottus are mostly between Rs350 and Rs600, with some speciality ones higher. The European main courses are around Rs1180 to Rs2880. The Chinese chicken, pork and vegetable dishes are around Rs500 to Rs1000 while the seafood ones range from Rs820 to Rs1380; scallops slightly more and the crab dishes Rs6660.
My soup and sesame chicken cost me Rs1240 and the spring rolls and veggie kottu Rs1040.
All in all, I liked Land of Kings - as you can tell, since I have been back and more than once. Apart from the nice, thematic décor and pleasant, friendly team, the food has all been very good. There's plenty of reasonably priced dishes and there's some speciality ones if you want to treat yourself (or someone else!).