The Grande Gourmet restaurant at Horton Place, Colombo recently opened Ceylon Café, with top Sri Lankan business personalities attending the launch.
There has been an explosion in interest regarding Sri Lanka’s ancient, multi-facetted cuisine which has three types of curry: White, red and black, Chairman Ceylon Café, Niranjan Deva Aditiya explained.
White mild curries are coconut-milk based, red curries have chilli powder or ground red chillies, while the black curries are made by roasting the spices and are traditional curries.
Sri Lankan cuisine has benefited from Arabs introducing saffron, rose water, pilaf and biriani. Portuguese introduced chillies and ‘tempering’ or ‘temperado’, the Dutch introduced recipes rich in eggs and butter, and the Malays Wattalapam, he said.
“Our crab dishes include the world famous traditional Jaffna crabs curry, Chilaw curry crab, Singapore chilli crab, butter crab and garlic roast crab and pepper crab. The good news is that you don’t need to spend lavishly to enjoy our crabs,” said Deva Aditiya, who along with his chefs, have spent time researching the menu.
“The best rice and curry and the best crab dishes in Sri Lanka,” stressed Harry Jayawardena at the opening of Ceylon Café.
The restaurant is designed in the Louis Napoleon style of France with some references to the banquet given by Sir Charles de Soysa to Prince Alfred, Queen Victoria’s son, in 1871 at Alfred House. The restaurant has the ambience of old Ceylon, hence ‘Ceylon Café’ is indeed an apt title.