YAMU.lk Review on 9 Church Cross Street
The Galle Fort is lovely, complete with a deep and vibrant multi-ethnic history, lots of well-preserved Colonial architecture, a heavy tourist presence, and a gentle sprinkling of hipsters. All these factors add up to a surprisingly vast dining scene, often quite expensive and uninspiring.
Fortaleza, on the other hand serves up good food, beautiful al fresco ambience, and friendly service. It’s basically the Barefoot of Galle.
Dining & Drinks
We’ve got a couple of staples that we order pretty much every time we’re at Fortaleza – the tuna and the wine.
At Rs.1850, the tuna is as local as it gets, yellowfin from the nearby Galle fish market. It’s fresh, delicately seasoned in soya sauce, seared and topped with sesame seeds. Laying softly in a bed of vinaigrette-drizzled lettuce and tomatoes, the tuna is paired with a wicked little lump of wasabi just in case you need a bit of spice in your life.
We also opted for the Fish & Chips (Rs.1850), as recommended by the manager. It’s probably one of the best fish and chips on the island (that’s right Cheers, you heard me). Your fork breaks away the crispy batter to slide through buttery bits of fish, perfect salting and taste overall. The chips were okay too but I barely noticed them as the fish stole the show.
For dessert we opted for the Cheesecake topped with Passionfruit (Rs.680) . Flavour-wise it was on point, with the tart passionfruit cutting through the sweet and creamy cheesecake. Texture-wise, we thought it was a bit too dense and crumbly. The density did mean that the tiny slice was enough for two to share though.
Other recommendations we’d make include the garlic bread which is not pictured but delicious. Simple local bread is lightly toasted, buttered, and topped with spices and happiness. We’d also recommend you avoid the chicken fajitas, we’re just not fans.
Their wine list is on par with average Colombo prices, and you can get a cheap bottle at about Rs. 3500 a pop.
We also tried a Classic Mojito and Double Espresso (Rs. 500) this time around (one of us wanted to party, the other one of us was willing to settle for just staying awake). The mojito was refreshing and strong, with lots of nice mint leaves perfect for getting lodged in your teeth.
The espresso was equally refreshing and strong, a strong short hit of Italian coffee.
Ambience & Service
There are about 5 outdoor wooden trestle tables, and another few tables under the rafters. It tends to be full during the Down South season (November to February), so either reserve, get there early, or hop up on the bar to get some vino. Fair warning: it gets hot during the afternoon, and you may need to combat the odd mosquito at night.
The fairy lights, beautiful foliage, wooden furniture, and open brick and coral walls within the old building are cosy and twinkling. We also generally love the temporary exhibits that grace the hall (it was the amazing Alex Stewart during our last visit).
The waitstaff as a general rule is super friendly and happy to give you recommendations or general conversation.
We’d strongly recommend Fortaleza for a date night or cosy evening with friends when you’re in Galle. Their food is generally good, but it’s the ambience that sold us.