I looked at her over my coffee mug
Stealing silent glances
Looking her way
Then looking away
My heart had set up a regular cacophony
As I stared at her secretly
From above the rim of my cup
That I brought to my lips to sip,
The adrenaline instead making me chug
She sat there, serene and beautiful
An ode to perfection itself
Between the gulps I watched and drooled
Oh lord! I felt like such a fool!
I took in a ragged breath
I had to calm myself
I had to let the feeling pass
To wring it, wash it from my heart
I had to fight, wrest my hungry eyes
Off that whetter of fantasies, that queen of delight
That mesmerizing, will-defying Passion Fruit Tart
This week I said that I’d be good
I’d stay off carbs and meat
I’d focus on healthful juices
And on salads. What a treat!
I hope you read the sarcasm
In the verse above this one
Even then, didn’t mean to offend
Tomatoes, lettuce and onions
But the intermittent fasting
From midnight to noon next day
Did me in, up to my chin
Couldn’t keep the carbs at bay!
And so my resolutions of
A healthy body and mind
They just choked, went up in smoke
My force of will became unkind
I ended up inviting in
A thousand extra calories
But dang! I’m quite determined that
Tomorrow I’ll eat only sunflower seeds
So if you feel like you’ve lost
The battle of the bulge
On good days, be resolute
On bad ones, go on and munch.
Let the heart guide you along
The mind is like Cruella*
No one needs a conscience deep
When the belly gods do yell-a!
* Cruella de Vil: a wicked character from Dodie Smith's 1956 novel “The Hundred and One Dalmatians”.
I carry this thing, it sits on my shoulder
Some call it a chip; I call it my boulder
It gnaws at my insides, it makes for low blows
When I’m swirling around in its treacherous throes
I am sometimes deceitful when I feel its weight
Dignity and grace I cavalierly leave at the gate
If it tells me I’m worth nothing, that I’m wretchedly small
I’ll lash out blindly at one and all
I grew up believing this weight that I hold
Of inflated egos and machismo bold
Is an age old legacy that’s been bestowed
From father to son and from son down below.
With time, it has morphed into an ugly avatar
Sometimes the pricks of conscience are stark
But driven by habit and custom and time
I let my massive chip drag me into the grime
I’m weaving this rhyme when I’m feeling lucid
And can see the chip: festering and putrid
Most times though it pokes me with its manly muscle:
I could murder that person who honked at my Honda Vezel!
And so I go blundering and blustering through life
Ego in one hand; in the other an invisible knife
When my shoulder can’t bear the weight of the chip
I unburden, I plot and I rage. I’m insidious.
RESTAURANT: CAPITAL BAR AND GRILL AT THE SHANGRI-LA HOTEL
ADDRESS: ONE GALLE FACE MALL, COLOMBO 3
CUISINE: MODERN, INTERNATIONAL, CONTINENTAL
Ensconced in the modern, luxurious environs of the Shangrila Hotel, this venue is almost a nostalgic throwback to the bars of the 40s and 50s, with a lovely modern twist. From the repertoire of live music to the atmosphere, it is warm, retro and relaxing.
I’ve been a number of times to the bar and admit, i have had a varied gamut of experiences.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT:
-The Parking area is dismally inadequate over the weekend as wedding parties, mall goers and hotel patrons all vie for a spot.
-Patrons are not allowed to make reservations at the bar. So if one happens to walk in later than 8.30pm, there may not be a seat/ table available. If there are a significant number of no-shows, put in a process whereby reserving patrons are called 20 mins before their scheduled arrival time to re-confirm their reservation. If they don’t arrive despite the re-confirmation, give the table to someone else.
THE GOOD STUFF!
-The atmosphere definitely. It is luxurious yet comfortable - one can sit back and bask in the lap of old world charm at quite its best in Colombo.
-The food is quite good for the most part.
-The service is good (I do go on about service because it really makes up half the food and hospitality experience. Having been in the Financial Institutions Customer Experience realm for almost a decade, it is almost instinctive now to gauge every aspect of service delivered, from the front-desk manner of the usher to the culinary/ spirits knowledge of the serving staff).
-The live music sessions have always been fabulous. The last time it was a lovely myriad of jazz, folk and country delivered beautifully.
RESTAURANT: “RARE” AT UGA RESIDENCE
ADDRESS: PARK STREET, COLOMBO 7
CUISINE: MODERN, INTERNATIONAL, WITH A QUINTESSENTIAL SRI LANKAN TWIST
This was my first time for dinner at the Uga.
OPPORTUNITY FOR IMPROVEMENT:
There was really only one aspect that got to me. Only because it is so simple to get right... or wrong:
-The bread basket was sadly full of old, crusty pieces of bread which set a somewhat dire tone for the rest of the meal. The staff was quick to respond and they did bring out a fresh bread basket. That was a faux pas that is so easily/ cost effectively avoided.
THE GOOD STUFF!
-The atmosphere was absolutely scintillating. It was just post a monsoon shower and everything was clean and gleaming. The restaurant overlooks a courtyard that is especially beautiful. We requested them to put a table outside for us so we ate al fresco. It was quite surreal.
-The appetisers were quite fabulous, especially the baked cauliflower. The Waldorf salad was not bad second.
-The main courses were quite good. I had the chicken in lemon grass and my partner had the pork belly.
-The service was quite impeccable given that the restaurant was full and the establishment was short-staffed that evening.
-They had a good/ wide selection of wines available (which is a bit of a rarity even at the better bars around town). And they served it beautifully with a decanter and the works. I’m a bit persnickety about how the wine is stored and how it is served since it makes all the difference in flavour preservation. Good storage ensures the sulphites in the wine don’t ferment and “vinegarize” the wine. Good pouring service, with a decanter or an aerater ensures that the wine breathes as much as possible from a newly opened bottle, for the flavours to really come to the fore.