A Hipster revolution is overwhelming the beach strip in Negombo, Sri Lanka. An eclectic mix of unintentionally rustic, and high end decadence, the beach strip is bookended by luxury hotels. Despite having spent many days walking the beach strip, there are still many tucked away gems that I've only discovered by word of mouth.
The most recent, and new favourite, is the Zen Cafe. The cafe owners Mr Takashi, has created a space that lives up to its name, and brings all the tranquility of Japan to the otherwise busy streets of Negombo.
The hand painted sign on the front gate announces the Zen Cafe as a 'vege friendly, homemade cafe'.
It's very true that if you look through the gates, it appears at first glance to simply be a tropical front yard, with an overgrown front fence separating it from the outside world. Water features, crumbling stone steps and shady umbrellas, fall together to create a relaxing space. Most sitting areas are outside, catching the coastal breeze. The inside of the cafe is exposed brick and painted walls. Like the menu, the entire cafe is understated and beautiful in its simplicity.
Mr Takashi serves a selection of hot and cold drinks, and the option of a piece of cake. He clearly loves the space he has created as much as his customers do, and I get the feeling there must be many repeat visitors.
The iced tea and iced coffee come deconstructed, with extras ready to add. The iced coffee is simply black coffee, served with milk and sugar syrup.
All in all, the uncontrived atmosphere is reflective in the drinks and well worth a visit as you make your way along the beach strip.