Laidback luxury at Table by Taru

  • Chef Iro is back at Taru Villas 

The newly restored Taru Villas Lake Lodge welcomes Uditha Iroshan Wijewardana, better known as Chef Iro, who is returning to Taru Villas, where he once served as the youngest Consultant Chef on the island nearly 14 years ago. 

Currently operating as the Corporate Executive and Culinary Development Chef for 13 of the Taru Villas (Pvt.) Ltd. properties, Chef Iro has been tasked with the post pandemic revitalisation of the property, and he shared with us that he has curated a team of culinary experts who are definitely up to the task. 

Dropping in at the Lake Lodge at Alvis Place, we visited Table by Taru to try out some of Chef Iro’s famous dishes, and to have a quick chat about Chef Iro’s plans for the restaurant and what surprises lay ahead for new and old guests who wish to patronise their establishment. 

The stylish boutique space is self-explanatory in its “laid back luxury” paved with beautiful interiors – the space was built for guests to enjoy themselves unconditionally in an elegant, casual and relaxed dining space. The restaurant space, which typically holds a capacity of about 54, has both alfresco dining terrace and indoor dining facilities, complete with natural light streaming in creating its dream-like quality. 

A fine dining restaurant adopting a relaxed and casual atmosphere, Chef Iro shared that they have opted to create an environment that is perfect for casual diners to unwind and enjoy a quiet meal. 

In putting together the menu for Table by Taru, Chef Iro shared that many of the dishes were in fact inspired by Nayantara “Taru” Fonseka herself, the managing director of Taru Villas Resorts, and of course, effectively actualised by him and his culinary team. 

Chef shared that curating the menu has been an absolute labour of love, and that they have been very careful to take in customer feedback when putting it together: “When we are coming up with the menu, we sit down and discuss it and try each item numerous times, until everything is perfectly balanced”. 

One key specialty that the Taru Villa properties can guarantee their guests is that they do not use any food enhancing products, he said that there is absolutely no MSG, no food colouring and that they try to deliver organic and additive-free dishes to their guests. He also added that they are most ready and willing to cater to any particular food requests that guests may have, be it vegan, gluten-free they can make these adjustments upon request. 

Chef Iro shared that in their trade “customer satisfaction is always most important when putting together a dish” however he added that: “Also, my own satisfaction is also a big component of that dish” he said, sharing that he must love what he is putting on the plate and that is the philosophy he follows. He shared that it is certainly a success when your customers opt to repeat something you’ve served them. 

He shared that at Taru they often get a 50/50 split between customers who are new and are looking to experience something exciting and those who already have an established relationship with the food they serve, so much so that they are very open to go on a food adventure with them. To try their recommendations and trust in the team to know what they will like. 

Considering that we are still in the midst of the pandemic, learning to live and navigate our new circumstances safely, we asked chef Iro about what he has observed with regards to customer behaviours and people looking to dine out and he said: “People are really hungry to go out” and that it isn’t all that surprising, they miss the little pleasure of life he said, adding also that even at Taru, as per the WHO guidelines, they are fully booked right now. 

Table by Taru is open for breakfast, brunch and noon until 3 p.m. and for dinner from 6.30 p.m. to 11 p.m. 

They also offer high tea. 

Dine in at Lake Lodge, 20 Alvis Terrace, Colombo 03 

Delivery Whatsapp / Call to Order +94 771002001

Since Chef Iro was ready to prepare a few dishes for us, here’s what we tried; 

Pumpkin ravioli, sage burnt butter, salad: 

One of Chef Iro’s famous signature items, going strong for nearly two decades with the original recipe remaining untouched, “clients are loving the consistency of homemade ravioli filled with roasted pumpkin, ricotta, cooked in brown butter and fresh sage” 

French toast, salted malt butter: 

A unique French toast combination served with malt butter and cinnamon snow sugar. The dish is replicated exactly in many of the Taru properties, with Chef Iro adding that “the idea was that if someone wants to enjoy the dish you don’t have to drive to Colombo to have it” 

Niçoise salad: 

A particularly impressive dish representing Taru Villas’ dedication to esthetic appeal, taste and added health benefits. With tuna niçoise known to reduce cardiovascular disorders, stimulate growth and development, lower blood pressure and balance the cholesterol levels, and help in weight loss 

Grilled sea bass, pumpkin gnocchi, green beans, mustard, tarragon sauce: 

Chef shared that this dish has become increasingly popular throughout the years due to its flavour and quality of the meat. Sea bass is often regarded as one of the most flavourful fish in the world due to its oily meat  

Pork ribs, potatoes vinaigrette, salad: 

An outstanding classic, infused with homemade four-ingredient rub and BBQ sauce made with their secret recipe, served with potato vinaigrette salad to balance the flavours 

Basil fawlty: 

One of their popular cocktails from the beverage menu, coconut rum with pineapple, basil, lime, lemon, black pepper, and honey