What: A Sri Lankan restaurant that’s rocked up next door to Dishoom, on the Kingly Street site formerly occupied by Claw.
Who: Kolamba is the brainchild of husband and wife team Eroshan and Aushi Meewella, who both grew up in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo. Despite having a background in interior design and property development, opening a restaurant has been something Eroshan, in particular, has been keen to explore for a couple of years now. Between them, Eroshan and Aushi have drawn on the food of their childhood to ‘showcase the abundant flavours and colours inherent to [Sri Lanka’s] cuisine’.
The food: The menu features a selection of small and large sharing plates, with the focus on allowing diners to create a meal that combines Colombo’s melting pot of culinary influences: Sinhalese, Tamil, Moor (Muslim), Burger (Dutch) and Malay communities are all represented on the menu in some form. Prices predominately vary between the £5 and £10 mark, with Eroshan saying the intention is for the average spend to be about £30 per head. The menu is split into six categories, with larger meat and vegetable plates sat alongside a selection of ‘short eats’ and sides. Smaller plates include a dish of hot butter cuttlefish with chilli (£7.50); pilchards fried in breadcrumbs (£4.50); and spiced, savoury jackfruit wrapped in butter pastry and golden fried (£4.20). Main dishes feature meat options of jaggery slow-cooked beef short rib (£11.90); and monkfish poached in fresh turmeric, tomato and coconut milk (12.80). While vegetable options include beans with coconut (£6.90); a polos curry of jackfruit, cinnamon and fried onion (£7.50); and parripu, red split lentils cooked in coconut milk and turmeric, and finished with tempered spices (£6). Side dishes include a selection of sambols – vegetable salads (£2.50 – £3.50); pol roti coconut flatbreads with diced onion and green chilli (£3.50); and hoppers (£2.75 – £3.25).
The vibe: The interior of the 56-cover restaurant is a design collaboration between Studio Fils and Eroshan and Aushi’s Whitebox London interior design business. The emphasis is on organic, earthy tones, with greenery climbing the walls and contrasted against aged brickwork, raw timber and polished cement surfaces.
And another thing: A number of the menu’s signature dishes have been handed down to the owners from people back home, and come with a corresponding story card explaining the recipe’s origins. For example, the jaggery beef comes from a woman who, when she was pregnant in the late 60s, craved her great grandmother’s beef curry to such an extent she journeyed from Columbo to the northernmost tip of Sri Lanka in order to satisfy it. Eroshan says that once the restaurant is more established, he plans to invite those who supplied dish ideas for the menu over from Sri Lanka for a series of supper clubs.
21 Kingly St, Soho, London W1B 5QA