Culinary Ceylon: an authentic food journey

Overall rating: 4/5
Culinary Ceylon takes a brand new slot in the Colombo fine dining scene. Offering “home-cooked” family recipes, passed down from the proprietor’s ancestors, Culinary Ceylon aims to deliver an exploration of local culture and cuisine, guided by a curator or a host who will explain the origin of each dish and share the best of their knowledge and stories of the food; a treat that would most likely be enjoyed by tourists.
Lunch and dinner sittings will be available at Culinary Ceylon and a maximum of 20 pax can be accommodated; prior reservations should be made.


The ambience here caters to intimate dining. The sitting area is elaborate with trendy furniture and dim lighting to add to the intimate environment. The ceilings are done with batik cloth and “goni”, further highlighting the local feel.

What we tried:

Culinary Ceylon offers three kinds of arrack-based cocktails – namely Yaal, Purana, and Manik. The cocktails are served in small tea glasses, representing the culinary habits of Sri Lanka.
The Yaal is made out of tamarind juice, lime, mint, and arrack. It was a little leafy to begin with but the tamarind and lime gives a nice sweet and sour taste. Purana is a blend of achcharu, lime, and arrack and this was a beautiful orange specimen. The achcharu and the arrack blended quite smoothly; however, it was significantly spicy. Manik was a sweet passion fruit cocktail. This was a particularly sugary drink, but it tasted great while it was also perfect in cutting the spices in the food.

The menu

Culinary Ceylon hosted a seven-course meal, and we tried them all. The host/curator for the evening was Glen Jalendran and he took us through the fascinating backstories of each dish.

Dish 1: Crab Rasam

Spiced with pepper and coriander seeds for flavour, Crab Rasam has a tamarind base. It was served hot in a small cup with chilli and crab meat at the bottom of it. This is a very spicy dish. The pepper and tamarind flavours were strong, with a hint of coriander; it was the perfect appetiser.

Dish 2: Isso wade/ ulundu wade and hot butter cuttlefish, grilled sweet potato topped with eggplant salad

The isso wade was a fine ball with a prawn in the middle. This was very crispy and the flavour of the lentils was brought out by the sambol it was paired with. The hot butter cuttlefish was a stunning pale yellow and was the highlight of this dish. It was crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, and the cuttlefish was fresh, chewy, and flavourful. The ulundu wade, again, was crunchy and spicy.
The grilled sweet potato and the salad were aesthetically placed on a wooden plate. The salad was juicy and flavoured with lime, mustard, and mint and was the ideal complement to the grilled sweet potato. The whole thing was a wonderful fiesta of flavours.

Dish 3: Black pork curry, stuffed pol roti with lunu miris/seeni sambol

The pork stuffed in the roti was served like a burger while the seeni sambol and lunu miris were the dips. The seeni sambol had a pleasantly sweet and spicy flavour. The lunu miris was however the star. Flavoured with chilli and pepper, this was spicy but the perfect blend of everything. It went ideally with the pol roti.
The pol roti was soft and tasted of fresh coconut. This was the perfect combination with the black pork curry. The pork was perfectly cooked.

Dish 4: Chicken Lamprais

The lamprais contained rice cooked in broth, a prawn balachaung, chicken curry, eggplant and ash plantain curry, fish cutlet, and seeni sambol. Served in a cute little box made with cane and a wrapped in a banana leaf, the lamprais wins all the points for presentation. The rice was rich with the flavours of the five curries mixed together. The fish cutlet was moderately spicy but complemented the rest.

Dish 5: String hopper kottu with roasted chicken wings and chilli parata with tangy tamarind sauce

The string hopper kottu and the chilli parata kottu were made into a compressed ball, served with the chicken wing and two sauces. The tamarind sauce was quite prominent here and added a sweet edge to a rather spicy dish. The chicken wing was deep-fried and crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside. It went perfectly with the sauces.

Dish 6: Crispy thosai with tomato chutney and coriander coconut chutney

The thosai was served in a traditional thosai dish with a banana leaf at the bottom. It had a pleasant cumin and buttery taste as you bit into it. The coriander chutney was coconutty and smooth. However, the tomato chutney was the highlight of this dish. It was sweet and spicy with a hint of cardamom.

Dish 7: Pol Pani Pancake and buffalo curd and treacle

This was the perfect full stop to a wonderful meal. The curd and pancake were served side-by-side and looked heavenly. The curd was out of this world. It was soft, creamy, milky, and sweet at the same time. Mixed with a few spoons of equally divine treacle, it just melts in your mouth. The pancake was soft and fluffy and was perfect with the stuffed coconut cooked in treacle.

Our verdict

The dining experience at Culinary Ceylon is similar to a quick culinary journey around the island. At a price of $ 70 or Rs. 12,292, this complete experience includes unlimited servings of a seven-course meal and unlimited cocktails of your choice.
Would we go again?
Of course we will and we highly recommend Culinary Ceylon to first-timers in the country.
The founder of Culinary Ceylon Amrith Desoysa stated: “We are aiming to offer a food experience to those who want to get a grasp of the history and culture of Sri Lanka. We have designed and host a seven-course meal. Furthermore, we are also conducting a cookery class, hosted and conducted by trained professionals. We feature a visit to the market, where guests will get an inside look of how the vegetables and meats are picked prior to the food preparation process.”
Vegetarian: Options available
Toilets: Available/clean
Parking: Limited but available
Contact: 0712191111
Instagram: @culinaryceylon

By Pujanee Galappaththi
Photos: Krishan Kariyawasam