This Sri Lankan restaurant on Soho’s Kingly Street is the brainchild of first-time restaurateurs Eroshan and Aushi Meewella. Kolamba’s interiors are inspired by the green landscapes of the Indian Ocean island nation, which means you can expect to find a mix of earthy tones, exposed brickwork and plenty of plants.
The menu features several family recipes taken from the cookbooks of the owners as well as the kitchen team and is divided into ‘bites’, curries and sides. To start, there are snack-style dishes such as Aunty Nalini’s fish cutlets (rice balls stuffed with spiced fish and potato) and meat patties, before moving on to a range of curries which includes a kalu pol pork variety and a black pepper prawn option.
Much of Sri Lanka’s cuisine lends itself to plant-based dishes and vegetarian and vegan diners do well with the likes of pineapple curry and spicy potatoes fried with chilli and onions. Side dishes include fresh sambols (veggie salads) as well as hoppers, turmeric rice and coconut flatbread topped with diced onion and green chilli.
If you’re wondering about the name, Kolamba is the Sinhalese word for Colombo, which is Sri Lanka’s capital. The city is home to people from the Sinhalese, Tamil, Moor (Muslim), Burger (Dutch), and Malay communities, all of which are represented on Kolamba’s menu.
Both Eroshan and Aushi grew up in Colombo and want their menu to hark back to the childhood dishes that once filled the kitchens in their home. Sri Lankan cuisine is still largely underrepresented in central London, with the current most-famous Sri Lankan restaurant in the capital being Hoppers from the JKS Group. Hoppers’ original location is in Soho, the same neighbourhood as Kolamba, while JKS opened a second Hoppers site in St Christopher’s Place near Selfridges in 2017.