Festival of Kottu, sans Roti

Mount Lavinia Hotel brings healthy kottu

By Sarasi Paranamanna
Chef Publis gave a whole new definition to our usual ‘kottu’ meal at the Healthy Kottu Festival held at the Mount Lavinia Hotel last week. It was a fusion of innovativeness and multi- ethnic cuisine.
As chef Publis says Sri Lankan cuisine is nourished by several different communities of people like the Portuguese, Dutch, British, Indian, Arab, Malay and Moors. He used this intrinsic quality of Sri Lankan cuisine and presented a unique dining experience for all the guests who are always looking forward for his healthy and innovative dishes.

Using all local ingredients, Chef Publis gave a different meaning to kottu and he said the dining experience was about kottu and not kottu roti. The normal kottu roti we have is made out of Godamba Roti, vegetables, egg, meat, and various spices but Chef Publis made kottu without the roti. This healthy meal was enjoyed by all who came to the kottu festival because of the menu did not include the usual ingredients as used in a normal kottu.
“I want to add a difference to our everyday Sri Lankan meal which is rice and curry. Because there is no variety Sri Lankans think that our cuisine is not that interesting. But even foreigners will be intrigued by this as this is unique, new and healthy,” said Chef Publis. Kohila Kottu, Del Kottu, Kos Kottu, Corn Kottu were some of the dishes that were enjoyed by the crowd.

However, I thought the Karan koku kottu was the most interesting one out of all the dishes because karan koku itself was a new delicacy for most of us. It is a plant usually grown near river banks and making kottu with this was quite an interesting idea and so was the taste. Even the sauce which was used was a local one. It is extracted out of fish bones and all the other sauces like soy sauce, oyster sauce were not even seen when they were making kottu. The taste of these kottu were further accentuated by the tang of the sauce because it was salty, spicy and also it had a seafood taste which added a unique flavour to all the dishes.

The kottus were mixed with rice, chicken, seafood or lamb to our own liking. I would say the healthiest one was the ‘Pala kottu’ which was made out of green leaves. Though I did not quite enjoy the flavour of it, it was definitely healthy as the slightly blanched leaves tossed with vegetables and shrimps were a wholesome meal.

One of the crowd’s favourite was the corn and chicken kottu. The steamy hot kottu tossed and turned with rice, vegetables, chicken and corn was a flavourful meal because it was both spicy and sweet. The spicy chicken and soft corn was a perfect combination and it was healthier than consuming the usual kottu roti. The kos kottu was also a favourite dish among many. Though we think that these ingredients would give bland tastes it was even hard to imagine that the dishes were wholly out of these ingredients because the crunchy shrimps tossed together with soft and steamy kos (jack fruit) pieces was unique and new to everyone’s palate.
Always bringing new ideas to authentic cooking Chef Publis once again gave us another reason to look forward for a truly Sri Lankan dish.
It was only the roti that was missing from the kottu but the rhythmic beat of the constantly clashing metals pieces and the sea breeze made the perfect setting to enjoy a wholesome meal of kottu served in a truly Sri Lankan style.


Pasticcino at Galle Face Hotel

The smell of freshly-baked bread and cakes hits you every time you enter Pasticcino, the Pastry shop of the Galle Face Hotel, Colombo.

The café’s most popular attraction is its’ sandwich bar. Healthy, light and a quick snack, the sandwiches which are made fresh are popular among the office crowd. The tuna sandwich and the chicken barbeque sandwich are the most popular ones. Guests also have the option of mixing ingredients to make a sandwich to suit their fancy for the day. There is a set lunch and dinner menu available as well which is diverse with rice, pies, kottu, bagels, wraps, burgers and pasta all figuring. If it’s a quick snack you’re looking for Pasticcino has a wide range of short eats available. The coconut sambol and cream cheese sandwich adds a local flavour while the quiche Lorraine is available to suit a more Western palate.

Pasticcino also has options to suit a sweet craving. Local favourites like the ribbon cake and chocolate cream cake are freshly baked daily while others such as the White Cherry Brandy Cake can be made to order. With just twenty-four hours notice the Pasticcino is sure to whip up your favourite cake for any celebration from birthdays to anniversaries. However if you require a special made to order cake it is best to sit with the Chef a week or so prior.

Dining out with kids can be a tiresome affair. However at the Pasticcino it is a different ball game altogether. With items on the menu named after popular, favourite cartoon characters coaxing your child to eat should not be a problem. Also kids below the age of eight can enjoy ice cream for free.
The Tea Lounge, overlooking Galle Road arguably Colombo’s busiest road, also a part of the Pasticcino is a popular choice for business meetings. Serving a wide range of teas the tea lounge also serves a range of alcoholic beverages for those looking for a drink during the day.

Executive Chef Rasika De Soyza together with his Pastry Chef Saman have made Pasticcino a popular choice for families, business men and women and teenagers alike for the delicious food available, reasonably priced. The Pasticcino is easily accessible through a spiral staircase leading directly to it from the Regency car park of the Galle Face Hotel..


Beijing Banquet at Emperor’s Wok

Hilton Colombo’s Chinese restaurant; the Emperor’s Wok will prepare authentic Beijing cuisine together with Chef Hok Leung and two guests flown in from Hilton Shanghai courtesy Cathay Pacific Airlines from April 1-10 during dinner.
The dynamic trio will dish out Beijing BBQ dishes such as Macau style pork belly with crispy skin, BBQ Lamb rack Beijing style and for the adventurous diners delicately marinated duck tongue with preserved plum and the ever famous Chinese favourite Peking Duck along with the traditional accompaniments carved in front of you by the hotel experts.

Peking ducks are raised for the sole purpose of making the food. Peking duck is processed in several steps.
First the ducks are rubbed with spices, salt, ginger coated with honey mixture, red vinegar and Chinese wine and then kept hung in the air for some time. Then the ducks are roasted in an oven, or hung over the fire till they become golden brown. After the duck is roasted, the skin becomes golden and intensely crisp. While hot, it is cut into squares and served with thin pancakes, called Peking doilies. Gigi De Silva, the hotel’s Marketing Communications Manager said, “We are looking forward to giving our food connoisseurs an authentic treat of a Beijing banquet at our very own Chinese restaurant which caters to a large crowd not only to the Chinese community but also to locals who appreciate good Chinese food in Colombo.”
For more details and for reservations, please call the food & beverage office on 2544 644 or log into www.colombo1.com


Choco Luv: For the love of chocolate

By Shabna Cader
It’s easy to get tired of tea and coffee nowadays and choice of milkshakes on the market aren’t really tempting either. “I’m not the tea and coffee kind of person either and people used to tell me that I needed to drink milk at least; but even plain milk wasn’t something I enjoyed,” admitted Ishfa Nawaal, Director of Choco Luv.
“One day I decided to add some Nutella into the milk and it honestly turned out pretty good. I had in the meantime also heard about a similar concept from friends who live abroad including in the Maldives and I wondered why it wasn’t adopted here,” she added. And that led to the introduction of Choco Luv!
This new hangout or rather cafe is the new kid on the block. All the milkshakes include a certain amount of chocolate and ice-cream. The choice of adding ice-cream isn’t milk is purely because the icy blend is creamier and far more fitting to make milkshakes with. Other additions to the menu board include popular brands of chocolate like Ferrero Rocher, Nuttela and Kinder Bueno. And there is an array of added flavours including hazelnut, almond, mint and pistachio which made the milkshakes all the more delicious.

“We didn’t want to introduce the same kind of milkshakes that are found in other cafes and bars. We wanted something different with our key ingredients being the chocolates and ice-cream. We want to give our customers a twist to their milkshakes and a one-of-a-kind experience at Choco Luv,” said Ishfa. These milkshakes are the outcome of a combination of Cargills Magic ice-cream and internationally recognised brand Ferrero Rocher.
The ‘chocolate’ shakes start at Rs. 180 upwards and are not priced more than Rs. 250 so the yummy treats are afforded and satisfying at the same time.
Choco Luv is the perfect place to hang out not only with your friends but also with the entire family. The cafe is open from 2pm to 10pm from Tuesday to Sunday, so even parents who work during the day can come, relax and unwind after hours with their kiddies.

Range of shakes
Ferrerro Fantasy – Crisp hazelnut and milk chocolate blended together with vanilla ice cream to make a delicious milkshake that all you Ferrerro fans out there are definitely going to enjoy…
Nutty Nuttella – The original hazelnut spread! Now a milkshake, with the unmistakable flavour of hazelnut cream made all the nuttier with a sprinkle of nuts. A definite hit!
Oreo Delight – A delightful combination of Oreo biscuits and ice cream, you don’t need to eat biscuits when you’re hungry, simply gulp down an Oreo milkshake instead.

Kinder Moments – Hazelnut cream filled wafer with a chocolate covering combined with ice cream to bring out a crunchy milkshake that you can munch while you drink it.
Moonlight Delight – Mint choco chip ice cream blended together with tic tac drops to make it all the more mintier… A sure love at first sip!

Chocolate Magic Milkshake – Chocolate ice cream shake with chocolate sauce and a choco wafer to go with it.
Magic Vanilla Milkshake – The simple yet enjoyable milkshake 100% ice cream with your choice of extra toppings chocolate sauce/strawberry sauce/wafer stick/ extra nuts
Strawberry Milkshake – An all time favourite, still highly in demand by all young and old (with a topping of your choice)


Traditions come alive at Cinnamon Lakeside

According to the contemporary American martial arts master O. Fred Donaldson, “Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn.” The Kiddies’ Camp at Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo is designed around this concept. Children go to school to learn because they have to, but make fascinating discoveries at Kiddies’ Camp because they want to. Every month since October last year, the hotel has provided children below twelve with an environment conducive to learning through play.
Based on a fresh theme every month, Kiddies’ Camp has managed to capture the fleeting attention spans of a cross section of children. This month the crew welcomes Avurudu early with an ‘Avurudu Pola’ theme. It will give the kids an opportunity to experience the essence of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year in a child friendly manner.
Children will be invited to participate in games such as Kotta Pora, Kana Mutti, a bun eating competitions and even an Avurudu Kumaraya & Kumari competition. Even the tradition of ‘ganu denu’ will be demonstrated to them to ensure local traditions do not fade with time. The activities on the cards are not exclusively for children. Mums and dads will be invited to share in the fun too with specific games that will be arranged for the young at heart.
Beginning this March, Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo partners with Tomahawk who will offer a lucky child a bicycle at every Kiddies’ Camp. The bicycles are available in various sizes, and an appropriate one will be gifted to the winner.
The hotel’s chefs have planned a kiddies’ menu of traditional treats such as Kavun, Kokis and Thalaguli as well as Western food including an ice cream station. The buffet will consist of food children love to eat, so no child goes hungry.
On March 27, let the kids don the traditional clothes and embrace the occasion. Kiddies’ Camp begins at 3 pm and the fun goes on until 6 pm. Tickets are available at the hotel and are priced at Rs. 750++++ for children between two and twelve and at Rs. 1,200 for adults. For inquiries or reservations contact 2491016.