On a Monday afternoon, Iyanthi, Ramesh and myself from Meatless Monday Sri Lanka headed to Jetwing Colombo Seven for a late lunch. We headed straight to the restaurant on the ground floor. Since it was past lunch time, the restaurant was empty and we could taste their delicious meatless food in a relaxing ambiance. The dining area has both indoor and outdoor spaces, and we selected a table next to a window. Even though the hotel is located in the middle of bustling Colombo, the restaurant makes you forget all about it. The use of clay pots and clay tiles (ulu) on the walls is astonishing and certainly helped bringing a sense of calm.
Soon after getting seated, we were served with the menu, including a some vegetarian dishes and a separate vegan menu. Compared to the vegan menus at other Jetwing Hotels, this only had a few options. Out of the three mains on the vegan menu, we ordered the savoury couscous pittu and the vegetable tagine, plus one vegetarian dish, fried udon noodles, from the main menu.
As for the drinks, there were not many vegan options except for fruit juices, and so we requested one of the drinks to be veganized. We ordered a strawberry milkshake, a mango smoothie and a banana smoothie with coconut milk replacing the dairy.
Fried Udon Noodles with an assortment of mushrooms (Vegetarian)
Udon noodles are thick wheat flour noodles that have been fried with a medley of vegetables and a black bean sauce. The dish included vegetables such as beans, cabbage and carrots that were nicely cooked and fried and garnished with mint leaves. The black bean sauce was nestled underneath all the vegetables and noodles, which means that the dish benefits from a proper stir-up and mix-up. The sauce gave the whole dish a nice salty flavour, and the freshness of the mint leaves balanced everything out.
But while digging into the dish we realised that the dish was missing one of the key ingredients. Mushrooms!! We notified the waiter and were offered a new dish, but since we were in a hurry and already halfway through the dish, we opted to have the mushrooms brought out separately. The restaurant staff promptly presented us with a side dish of boiled and fried button mushrooms which gave the dish good texture and an extra bite.
The portion was normal for fine dining at a hotel restaurant and very filling regardless of its size.
Savoury Couscous Pittu (Vegan)
The menu described that the dish would be served with “Kalu Hodi” (a gravy made with Sri Lankan spices), pol sambol (coconut sambal) and cutlets. However, when it was served it came with Sri Lankan style lentil curry instead of coconut sambol and only one cutlet. 😀
Couscous being a North African food made as Sri Lankan “pittu” with Sri Lankan curries created a perfect fusion dish! The couscous pittu was delicious. It had grated coconut and capsicums of all three colours cut into very small pieces. The combination of kalu hodi and lentil curry was incredible and supplied the couscous pittu with gravy. The cutlet was crispy and fresh. It had a mixture of mashed vegetables with spices and was perfect when mixed with the lentil curry and the kalu hodi. We thought the lentil curry was a great replacement for coconut sambal because of the dry nature of pittu, but we wish they had served more than one cutlet (as stated in the menu).
Vegetable Tagine (Vegan)
The spicy saffron couscous was served with a tomato-based curry (tagine) with chickpeas and a couple of varieties of muskmelon, pumpkin and capsicums topped with some corrender leaves. It was sided with some pita bread as well. Tagine is known to be a slow cooked North African dish named after the clay pot it is prepared in. It had a mild sour and salty taste mixed to the main base of tomato sauce. Having it with the spicy saffron couscous only made it better. Every bite was very flavourful and satisfying.
Mango Smoothie (Vegetarian)
The mango smoothie was nice and creamy, with the mango flavour seeping through the smoothie. It wasn’t overly sweet which made it a refreshing and flavourful drink on a hot Colombo afternoon.
Strawberry Milkshake (Vegetarian)
The strawberry milkshake had a perfect blend of strawberry flavour, ice cream and milk. It was certainly a delicious drink to clear the with a very flavourful vegetable tagine to clear the palate.
Banana Smoothie (Veganized)
This is not a vegan drink in their menu, but we requested to have the dairy milk replaced with coconut milk to make it vegan. They were happy to accommodate this request. It was a perfect combination and replacing dairy with coconut milk gave it a perfect tropical flavour where we could feel the coconut taste seeping through the thick smoothie. The coconut milk flavor didn’t overpower the taste of banana as some might expect.
All drinks were served with biodegradable paper straws which is a sustainable choice. As the Meatless Monday team promotes sustainable consumption, we’d like to appreciate even the smallest difference any restaurant or cafe can make towards the cause.
There were three deserts in the vegan menu, fruit platter, baked pears and mango coconut chia pudding. Chia pudding definitely seemed to be vegan as per its description, but we wanted to try the baked pears. The description said walnuts, honey with pineapple sorbet. Although honey is not considered a vegan food, this was in the vegan menu.
We checked with the lady who served us and requested them to avoid using honey in it so it would be a vegan dessert. In our mind, we expected a few pieces of baked pears topped with walnuts and pineapple sorbet.
But to our surprise, the baked pear was on top of a cake which definitely had eggs in it. When we inquired about it, they informed us that the cake had no eggs or animal products, but the explanation seemed less than sure, which is why we are going to categorize this as vegetarian even though it was in the vegan menu. If you are a vegan and want to give this a try, you could check with the chef themselves or opt for the chia pudding.
Overall, the food at Jetwing Colombo Seven tasted delicious and satisfying. If you are looking for a quiet place to have a late lunch or spend an evening with work colleagues, drop in here and give their meatless options a try to contribute to a sustainable future.