After relocating to its new premises in Horton Place, Cafe Shaze invited media and bloggers to preview what they termed the Shaze experience. While we award full marks for tenacity, the food they served can be best described as mediocre.
Billed as fusion food, we were served Beef goulash / stroganoff on a dollop of avocado mash sitting rather forlornly on a disc of pol rotti. The beef goulash may have fared better on its own, without the mash potato, which wasn't very complementary. They also had pol roti with calamari on a bed of avocado puree, an antithesis to the pol roti with beef ghoulash / stroganoff. The elements collectively afforded vibrancy in terms of texture and flavour, and the avocado puree was actually a great base and worked quite well with the batter fried calamari.
They offered a fish puff which was more puff than fish, and the pastry drowned any semblance of flavour that the fish filling may have had. The sausage puff suffered a similar fate - something that could have been avoided if the pastry was light and flaky, which it wasn’t. The mini beef burger was of a good size but the meat had gristle and it’s saving grace was the dollop of relish. The mini chicken burger was good, but could have been improved with a sauce that brought out the overall taste a little better. Another favourable item was the mini chicken wrap with a yoghurt dressing that tasted quite good. The chicken was quite satisfactorily succulent, although the wrap/roti itself was a little too doughy.
The kebab had over cooked meat skewered between slivers of onion, pepper and a tiny piece of baby corn. Various sandwiches, pastries, kebabs, and other finger food were on offer, but the ones that passed muster were the baked patty and the samosa that had a reasonable amount of spicy filling. Another item which was memorable for the wrong reasons was the mini hotdog. Mini it certainly was, and the minuscule sausage seemed to have taken refuge under a blanket of pol sambol which was rather dry.
We did, however, love their Latte which had the right balance of espresso and steamed milk. It was served without sugar, which is always a good thing since we didn’t have to keep returning it for being too sweet and vice versa.
Considering that Shaze claimed to serve fusion food at the tasting, we felt the creators of the food had been overindulgent by adding a spoonful of confusion, as this is what we were served. Perhaps this is just teething problems, but we do hope that the Shaze Experience could be improved so that diners would want to return!
By: Tina Edward Gunawardena & Rihaab Mowlana
Pics: Nimalsiri Edirisinge