Every time I think of Sri Lanka, I remember our visit to Brew n Chew, a cafe in Bombay. That evening was a laughing riot. Well, at least for me and not so much for Pramod.
He had put in a lot of effort in planning an amazing surprise for my birthday but it took him 11 days, to be precise, to spill the beans. (I couldn’t stop myself from mentioning the exact number :D)
But, I’m glad he blurted out that we were going to Sri Lanka for my birthday 2018. That meant, both of us together could plan and make our 3-day visit memorable.
Sri Lanka has a great significance in my journey as a traveller so far and the trip will always hold a special place in my heart. A surprise, that ruined in the most hilarious manner, turned out to be the best first overseas trip I could have ever asked for.
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He had everything planned; from the flights, accommodation to our itinerary. But, he had not looked upon the eateries, which is usually my department, whenever we travel. So, I got on with the job and began my research.
Pramod had a perfect plan sorted for my birthday. It kickstarted in Colombo, which was our base. We then spent the whole day in Galle, one of Sri Lanka’s most beautiful and historic cities. It is a tiny city with a colonial look at every nook and corner.
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Galle is divided into two parts – old and new Galle – since we had just one day in hand, we explored the former. It is peaceful, lively, full of colour and character. It houses the majestic Galle Fort and the very first look of it gives away it’s rich Portuguese history.
Galle, which was first built during the Dutch colonial period, is the best example of a rampant city built by the Portuguese in South and Southeast Asia. While you walk in the narrow streets of Galle, admiring the texture and architecture around you, you’ll for sure forget for once that you are in Sri Lanka.
It’ll feel like you have landed in some old-fashioned European city!
As I have mentioned in my previous articles, I love eating at places that provide you with extra character and charm, apart from good food. When I began my lookout for a place that matched these criteria, I came across Pedlar’s Inn – a small cafe, nestled inside a British-era post office and located in the heart of Galle Fort.
When you enter the Pedlar’s street, you’ll spot the cafe, on the right side, after walking for about 300m. The cafe’s building was built back in the 1700s. The owners of Pedlar’s Inn blended the original features of the colonial structure with a tinge of contemporary design and that led to Galle Fort’s first-ever coffee place that opened in 2004.
When you walk inside the cafe, you’ll stumble across quaint private family dinners, the art, old musical instruments and jewellery galleries on the way. You can also choose to sit at any of the tables outside in the street or under the Dutch colonial colonnade.
There is a black Morris Minor classic parked outside that’ll give you the ‘European feels.’ The car also acts as a shield for customers sitting at the tables in the street from passing traffic.
The place is usually full so if you plan to head there for lunch or dinner, try to reach the cafe before time. When we visited the cafe in 2018, we had to wait for about an hour. There were several other cafes in the same street but we had decided we would tick-off this place on our bucket list even if it meant a long wait.
We then strolled around in the iconic Pedlar’s street, admired the Portuguese architecture that was so nicely restored in every corner. There are so many cute coffee shops, antique stores and colourful boutiques for window shopping.
After a nice walk in the street, we returned to the cafe. Since there was no available table for two, they sent us to their exotic family diner.
As you step in, you feel a quick sense of romance. The ambience will leave you awestruck and flattened. We sat there in silence for a few minutes, tried to soak in the experience before the manager burst our bubble. They finally had a table for two and we were guided to the outside seating.
The outdoor seating had its own charm. We were surrounded by people from various cultures, who sure were having a great time. There was a solo traveller, on his laptop, while he sipped his coffee.
The other tables had either couples or friends who were chatting away. Pedlar’s Inn provides free WiFi but I remember most of the phones were either lying on the tables or were inside as each and every soul around me was living in the moment.
We got a side table with the perfect view of the area and that is why I could observe so much. The good stuff on their menu is restricted to just salads, burgers, pasta, pizza, sandwiches and rice and curry, which certainly is not a good sign for any restaurant.
But, the place is a must-visit for the magic of its atmosphere. You don’t have to order a large meal. They are anyway more than happy to serve just coffee, tea or a beer with a small savoury snack.
Unfortunately, we missed a chance to sip beer in Galle’s iconic cafe because it was a dry day in the country, courtesy their monthly festival Poya, Lunar monthly Buddhist holiday of Uposatha. We ordered two sandwiches with a mocktail and sprite. The food was decent and quite pocket-friendly too.
Thank you, Pedlar’s Inn, for the wonderful experience. Our short time there was unique and pleasant, in otherwise noisy Sri Lanka.