Galley 52 – a tidal wave of flavours

By Shanelle Bandara

Galley 52, located in the heart of Galle Fort, is a postmodern and contemporary eatery which serves a variety of dishes such as Pan Asian, Mediterranean, and Indian cuisines with a Sri Lankan twist.

The eatery is managed and owned by The Food Cartel, a management team that has an outstanding 30 years of experience running and managing restaurants in Dubai.

Interestingly, Galley 52 sports a décor which is reminiscent of old ships.

Our host for the day was The Food Cartel Managing Director Dillon Daryanani and he went on to elaborate as to why the eatery was built around this particular theme.

“We’ve been inspired by the concept of a ship as it is related to the fort and the harbour here (in Galle), and many of the dishes here are linked to that.”

Furthermore, the name “Galley 52” is derived from the fact that “galley” refers to the kitchen of the ship or even a type of ship that requires multiple oars, which ties in masterfully with the overall theme of the place.

The ambience of the place is chilled out, with soft background music to accompany; it definitely puts the mind at ease and takes away one’s worldly woes.

As we entered Galley 52, we were welcomed with a set of “magic towels” which looked like almost edible tiny, white pellets that expanded into mini towels upon pouring water onto it.

It is definitely a unique experience to all weary travellers who enter hoping for a meal but end up with much more.

After this fantastic experience, we were offered a variety of delectable dishes and a drink.

Pink lemonade

We were first offered pink lemonade, a mocktail which was a sort of pink fizzy drink topped with pomegranate seeds and a few lime slices.

The drink, although sweet, was not overbearingly sweet, which hit the right spot.



Coconut shrimp

The coconut shrimp was a portion of deep-fried shrimps with desiccated coconut served as a batter around it.

Who knew shrimp and coconut could go together so well! The taste of the two complemented each other spectacularly and was extremely flavourful.


G-52 life boats

The G-52 life boats are freshly cut pieces of cucumber stuffed with stir-fried minced chicken and hot basil.

The cucumbers are definitely a treat in this insufferable heat as the juices ease into your mouth and cool you down.

But hold up! It is not just some flavourless and bland cucumber; the chicken and the basil add a touch of flavour that somehow manages to spice it up a notch.


‘Kade paan’ bruschetta

This dish is made with authentic Sri Lankan-tasting bread with a topping of tomato and olive oil.

It tasted like a general piece of bread topped with tomato, nothing too special, but not bad either.


‘Colonial Galle’ biryani

The biryani was served with fresh curry mutton, saffron rice, potatoes, and coriander.

Although I personally do not like mutton, I thoroughly enjoyed this particular dish.

The meat was cooked just the right amount, making it not too chewy and not too tender.

The rice, on the other hand, was brimming with flavour due to the saffron.


Pol roti taco

This particular dish which is to be in the menu in the future is a coconut roti topped with salsa, giving it a Sri Lankan-Mexican combo.

The salsa lacked taste, but the craftily made pol roti definitely made up


Chicken korma

The chicken korma is chicken breast cooked in creamy gravy and served with a side of flat iron chapatis, sour mango pickle, and kachumber salad.

This dish was a personal favourite as the chicken was so succulent and the gravy complemented it all too well.

The chapatis were thin and light, making it so much easier to digest.



Pad Thai

The pad Thai, another future addition to the menu, is a dish cooked with shrimp, noodles, and tofu.

The mix of these ingredients gives a sense that you are eating an actual pad Thai from Thailand, but with a Sri Lankan touch.


Overall, the food, ambience, and service were a truly remarkable experience. Galley 52 is also listed as No. 2 of 165 restaurants in Galle, according to TripAdvisor, which is an amazing feat considering that they have been open for less than a year. Daryanani explained that the food is “honest” as in that there are no preservatives or any other short cuts taken. It is authentic, fresh food and the dishes we tasted were a testament to that.


Photos: Saman Abesiriwardana