Rare’s festive treats match unreal quality with unbeatable prices

Saturday, 7 December 2019 00:05 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

White Chocolate Cranberry Almond Croissant, Rs. 500 

Trio of Beef Sandwiches, Rs. 500 

Peppermint Mocha, Rs. 400

Marshmallow Fluff Hot Chocolate, Rs. 300 


By Madushka Balasuriya

Welcome to value city, first stop Rare bar + kitchen at Residence by Uga Escapes. Now I understand, looking at Uga from the outside, situated on prime Park Street property, its elegant post-colonial architecture looming in the midst of the Colombo business district, there comes a certain trepidation when wanting to simply walk in for a quick bite

Indeed, Rare itself has played a role in cultivating this image with its premium-priced, premium quality fine dining dinner offering. But there is another side to Rare, one which seeks to offer that same quality but at price that everyone can enjoy – after all, what is good food if not shared?

This policy of affordable excellence is already in place with Rare’s excellent breakfast, which Daily FT has previously called the best in town, but in curating its festive treat menu Rare has truly outdone itself.

Starting on 6 December, all the way through the Christmas period, the Rare Bar & Kitchen will be serving up a variety of savoury and sweet treats at prices that will make you spit out your proverbial eggnog. The prices range between Rs. 250 and Rs. 850 nett (you read that right); read on for more on what you can expect.


The menu itself isn’t terribly expansive but it doesn’t need to be – this is a bar after all – but what they do serve, they execute extremely well.

To start off with the savoury items, there’s really nowhere else to begin than with the delicious sausage rolls (Rs. 500). While the presence of sausage rolls on a limited menu would normally set off alarm bells, these are not your standard bakery-around-the-corner sausage in pastry. Instead, the filling is a very generous portion of minced sausage, enveloped by not-too-thick layers of expertly-crafted pastry. What really makes the dish is the homemade cranberry sauce, which adds an element of sweet and sour that will keep you coming back for more.

A close second to the sausage rolls is the outrageously tasty trio of beef sandwiches (Rs. 500). Presented on a mini open-faced bun – one given a Christmas makeover with a greenish hue – comes a serving of sliced steak, shiitake mushrooms, caramelised onions, and a splash of teriyaki sauce. It is as good as it sounds, and one you do not want to miss out on.

Finally we have the quintessential Christmas meat: ham. The spiced honey glazed ham (Rs. 500) is everything you would expect it to be; juicy, tender, succulent, and other such adjectives. The meat is also delicately spiced, enough to give a nice little kick but not so much as to take away from the experience. The addition of thin, biscotti-style bread, alongside a serving of pickled gherkin only serves to further elevate the complexity of flavours and textures, making for a well-rounded experience.


Moving on to the sweet stuff, Rare has you covered in spades here. See, they know what they do well, and Christmas is simply an excuse for them to do more of them same, but with a bit of festive flare. 

On Rare’s usual menu, the almond croissant and caramel donut are the undoubted standouts, so it’s no surprise to see these reprise their presence on Rare Bar and Kitchen’s festive treat menu – but with a Christmas-y twist. 

The almond croissant (Rs. 500) sees the addition of white chocolate and cranberry, a flavour combination you’re unlikely to find anywhere else in Colombo. It’s also massive (!) meaning that for lighter eaters this could easily be a shared dish.

The caramel donut (Rs. 250) meanwhile eschews the one-large-donut formula in favour a more quaint four mini donut platter. Each decorated with a drizzling of white chocolate topped with red and blue dots of icing, it is truly a festive delight. The dough, perfectly baked and gently fried, also bursts with that quintessential donut flavour, one that gently spars with the sweet caramel and white chocolate, but both parties don’t overpower the other.

The final sweet shout-out goes to the éclairs, a pair of Chocolate & Mint and White Chocolate Raspberry (Rs. 500). Quite frankly, everything you need to know is in the name, with the fillings of each éclair more than generous; each bite is guaranteed to see filling ooze out the sides, while the fillings themselves are ideally complemented by the soft éclair pastry.


Usually the beverage section of a review is a little bit of an afterthought, much like the role of beverages themselves in a meal; an accompaniment to your meal, nothing more, nothing less. But at Rare, they’ve clearly gone to great lengths to ensure that even if all you have is a drink, you’ll leave just as satisfied.

The experience begins with the menu itself, neatly segmented into a ‘naughty’ and ‘nice’ list signifying alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

Of the alcoholic variety, without question the veritable must-try is the Spiced Cranberry Hot Toddy (Rs. 500). We don’t know what exactly has gone in here – whisky, cranberry, and the visible cardamom pods, were all our uncultured palates could decipher – but my goodness is it an experience. Served warm, with brown sugar and cinnamon dusted on the rim of larger-than-usual cocktail glass, there will scarcely be a better way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon.

The standout from the ‘naughty’ list – and this was a tough choice – goes to Gingerbread White Russian (Rs. 500). Is it a drink? Is it a dessert? Who knows and who cares! All that matters is that it is extravagant in all the right ways. 

Vodka, Kahlua and cream is the usual White Russian recipe, to which Rare has added chunky white chocolate flakes and crumbled bits of gingerbread biscuit. The effect is one that ensures, from first sip to last, you’re guaranteed a mouthful of white chocolate and gingerbread. Like we said, value.

Among the other notable mentions are the Cranberry sour (Rs. 600) – the whisky sour’s more festive, laid back, sibling; the Marshmallow Fluff Hot Chocolate (Rs. 300) – they’re not lying when they say it’s ‘fluffy’; and the Gingerbread Latte (Rs. 300) – the beverage set aside for that one friend who doesn’t want a dessert disguised as a coffee.

The Rare Bar & Kitchen’s festive treat menu is available all throughout December right up until the 31st. So don’t be shy, take your friends and loved ones to undoubtedly the greatest value for money food offering in Colombo. You can contact 0766215675 for further inquiries.

Pix by Upul Abayasekara