Colombo’s best restaurants
(All images snapped on the Huawei P20 Pro)
Weekend in Colombo? Or a holiday in Sri Lanka. I’d recommend reserving a day to explore some of the city’s culinary experiences. I never tire visiting this city with a relaxed and friendly vibe. There’s a new energy that is sweeping through the city. Colombo’s got its mojo back and the city’s dining scene is a big part of this revival.
Kaemasutra: Dharshan Munidasa, one of Sri Lanka’s best-known celebrity chefs collaborated with Jacqueline Fernandez for a whole new take on Sri Lankan cuisine. The restaurant is one of the many dining options within Colombo’s finest new luxury address – the Shangri-La. The culinary team reimagines quite a few emblematic Sri Lankan dishes. The black hopper is my favourite dish here. It’s an audacious take on one of Sri Lanka’s – the hopper (or the Appam). A squid ink infusion transforms this into black and it’s served with a dollop of buffalo curd from the country’s South and a drizzle of Olive oil topped with sea salt. Shangri-La, Galle Face road.
Dutch Burgher Union (VOC Cafe): a large section of this colonial-era club is open to the public. It’s also one of the only restaurants in Colombo where you can sample Burgher cuisine. The small but influential Dutch Burgher (translates to citizen in Dutch) community – with mixed Sri Lankan and Dutch descent, keep their culinary traditions alive. Try the lamprais (takes its name from the Dutch word lomprijst or packet of food). This flavoursome dish features meat, curry and rice wrapped in a banana leaf and baked in an oven. Do end your meal with the watalappam, (my favourite in Colombo) and wash it all down with their home-made ginger beer. Reid Avenue
Ministry of Crab: one of Sri Lanka’s best known restaurants, Ministry of Crab or simply MOC is a venture of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawaradene, two of the country’s most accomplished cricketers. It’s housed in the historic Dutch hospital building; the interiors retain the charm of a bygone era – there’s no air-conditioning here.
Sri Lanka’s king-sized crabs are a gourmand’s delight. Do try the Garlic Chilli crab that finds the balance between fragrant Italian Olive Oil, Sri Lankan chilli flakes and Japanese soy. MOC has just opened its first restaurant in Mumbai. Dutch Hospital, Fort.
Park Street Mews: this hip new F&B strip was once a warehouse district. It’s now home to some of the most trendiest restaurants in Colombo. Hidden in a cul-de-sac with cobbled floors and fairy lights, this has become a weekend magnet for Colombo’s expats and working professionals. It brings a wide range of international dining experiences into a charming zone. Kuraku, an authentic Japanese eatery and the casual Italian diner – Park Street Trattoria, are some of my favourite stops here. Park Street
While you’re in Colombo – Do make time to:
- Stop at the Grand Oriental Hotel, a 19thcentury establishment that is a shadow of its formal self – the bar offers sweeping views of the Colombo port. The Gin and tonic is a long standing tradition here.
- Walk through Pettah market. Colombo’s busy market area is also great for street food like the Kothu-paratha and fresh fruits tossed in a fiery chilli and salt mixture
- Do breakfast at the historic Galle Face hotel. This 19th Century landmark takes you back in time
Stay: The Shangri-la Colombo is the city’s newest luxury hotel. Located along the iconic Galle Face Road, it offers sweeping ocean and city view and multiple dining options including Shang Palace, the city’s finest Chinese restaurant