I’m always on the lookout for something interesting, original, and new, so yesterday on the way home I noticed a spot that seemed more likely to be found in L.A. than Colombo–a drive-in donut shop. That’s right, Gonuts (1 Castle Street, Colombo 7), is the capital’s newest (and only, as far as I know) donut shop, and if that is not novelty enough, my interest was really piqued by some of the innovative flavors they were selling. Along with sweet sensations like strawberry cream, chocoholic, and butterscotch cookies, there were a few savory donuts on the menu–namely chicken tandoori, chicken & cheese, and spicy tuna–which you just know I had to try. Sri Lankan Pizza Hut is famous for throwing such toppings as spicy chicken, mutton, or even biriyani on top of their pies, but we’re talking about donuts here, dammit! So today I made a special trip over there just to see how these ‘nuts stack up on the flav-o-meter.
On the outside, they resembled ordinary jelly-style donuts (sans hole, of course) with that soft, puffy dough that squishes and compresses when you bite into it. First up was tandoori chicken. Sinking my teeth into it, I quickly hit a layer of actual red, tandoori chicken strips. Yum. But what surprised me even more was the layer of crunchy cabbage below that. Though a nice textural counterpoint, why did they have to add cabbage to tandoori chicken? TMI–Too many ingredients. Just give me the nicely seasoned chicken and leave it at that.
Next up was the chicken & cheese. I was expecting real chicken like the first donut, but bit into this one only to find a skimpy layer of what seemed to be bits of chicken bologna on a an even thinner layer of cheese spread (think: Velveeta). Any flavor was masked by the thick dough.
With high expectations adjusted for donut number three, spicy tuna, I took a bite, but was pleasantly surprised to find a nice, spicy fish filling, similar to what you would find in a fish cutlet or patty (two popular Sri Lankan short eats). In fact, this donut reminded me of malu pan, or fish bun, another well-known Sri Lankan short-eat. This one also had some chili powder sprinkled on top for good measure, and, of the three, it was probably my favorite.
For dessert, the raspberry delight and strawberry cream were certainly decent, but I can get all kinds of sweet donuts at home. Plus I’m not trying to come back from a couple weeks in Sri Lanka looking like the Pillsbury Dough Boy. Donuts might be a welcome addition to Colombo’s culinary landscape, but I came here to sample some spicier fare. It’s good to know, however, that if I ever get a hankering for some ‘nuts, all I need to do is pick up the phone (in Colombo: 0114951515).