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Desserts by Vic – No 24/10 Sri Siddhartha Road, Colombo 05

Desserts by Vic – No 24/10 Sri Siddhartha Road, Colombo 05

I have a confession to make. I am a dessert snob. There are some desserts I would only eat from certain places and it upsets me if desserts are not given the respect they deserve. (Yes, dessert is a person to me) Part of the reason why I am an ovo lacto vegetarian is also because of desserts. Now, Sri Lanka offers many vegan desserts which are coconut milk and treacle based and as far as I am aware except for bibikkan (coconut cake) Sri Lankan cuisine does not offer any baked vegan goodies. This was why I was both excited and dismayed when I saw post after post of vegan versions of popular egg and dairy-based cakes on social media, all baked by Vic. Excited because I’d rather eat a cruelty-free vegan alternative and dismayed that I just won’t be satisfied. 

Run by a brother-sister duo, this little shop is currently located at their residence in Siddhartha Rd, Colombo 5. Vic is the baking genius while Vidya runs the business and marketing side of the operation. Interestingly, the duo is not from the food and beverage sector. Born and bred in Sri Lanka but studying and working in Australia Vic by profession is a doctor while Vidya is a lawyer. 

Working in community medicine exposed Vic to the potential health and environmental hazards of meat-based diets which prompted him to turn vegan. His sweet tooth, however, inspired him to experiment and try out vegan alternatives to popular desserts and this resulted in a career change as far as he was concerned. 

Ramesh and I had no idea what to expect but were certainly gobsmacked at the sight of such a vast and diverse array of goodies. From Brownies to cupcakes and dessert cakes they had the works. Well visually, the cakes could easily pass off as any egg/dairy-based cake. I could see the amount of time and care Vic had put into creating these eye candies. 

Be it Death by Chocolate, White Velvet, Chocolate Fudge, Tiramisu, Coffee Caramel cakes or their range of cupcakes including triple chocolate, coffee cupcakes and the mocktail Pina Colada, Margarita cupcakes along with their boozy versions I think I went into a sugar-induced coma just by looking at them all. Did I mention the range of brownies they have and the chocolate coconut fudge? 

Artfully displayed, our eyes gazed from one delight to another that we got overwhelmed. 

Settling for Vic’s favourite White Velvet Cake, the crowd favourite Death by Chocolate, a Margarita cupcake and chocolate brownie we got the goodies packed in no time. 

While you cannot quite have the desserts then and there as there is no seating, nothing stops you from eating them then and there. I must confess finding the place requires a bit of navigation, but the signboards help and if you have google maps to direct you, it does not get too complicated. Furthermore, Desserts by Vic is also on Uber Eats and seems quite a popular option for vegans. 

Vic insisted that he tries to locally source most of his ingredients except for egg replacers. He also uses vegan butter produced here in Sri Lanka which is wonderful as well. Now for the taste test. 

It is always important to have the right mindset when you eat vegan versions of certain non-vegan food. Expecting the same is usually bound to end in disappointment. But Desserts by Vic did not disappoint. Packed with flavour, both cakes were a delight and though a little dense as expected with vegan cake, the flavour more than compensated. I felt they were a tad too sweet for liking, but that is a very personal preference. The brownie was also really gooey and chocolatey and I would buy them again. I loved the margarita cupcake the most, but the Death by Chocolate and White velvet were close seconds. 

Speaking of seconds, we might have to visit Desserts by Vic to try out more of their goodies and in the meantime, to hop over and enjoy their incredibly yummy desserts. You won’t be disappointed. 

Until the next vegan food review, it is TTFN from us, Suramya and Ramesh 

Run by a brother-sister duo, this little shop is currently located at their residence in Siddhartha Road, Colombo 5. Vic is the baking genius while Vidya runs the business and marketing side of the operation. Interestingly, the duo is not from the food and beverage sector. Born and bred in Sri Lanka but studying and working in Australia, Vic by profession is a doctor while Vidya is a lawyer before they decided to leave it all behind and move back to Sri Lanka. 

Working in community medicine exposed Vic to the potential health and environmental hazards of meat-based diets which prompted him to turn vegan. His sweet tooth, however, inspired him to experiment and try out vegan alternatives to popular desserts and this resulted in a career change as far as he was concerned. 

Ramesh and I had no idea what to expect but were certainly gobsmacked at the sight of such a vast and diverse array of goodies. From brownies to cupcakes and dessert cakes they had the works. Well visually, the cakes could easily pass off as any egg/dairy-based cake. I could see the amount of time and care Vic had put into creating these eye candies. 

Be it Death by Chocolate, white velvet, chocolate fudge, tiramisu, coffee caramel cakes or their range of cupcakes including triple chocolate, coffee cupcakes and the mocktail Pina Colada, margarita cupcakes along with their boozy versions, where I think I went into a sugar-induced coma just by looking at them all. Did I mention the range of brownies they have and the chocolate coconut fudge? 

Artfully displayed, our eyes gazed from one delight to another that we got overwhelmed. 

Settling for Vic’s favourite white velvet cake, the crowd favourite Death by Chocolate, a margarita cupcake and chocolate brownie we got the goodies packed in no time. 

While you cannot quite have the desserts then and there as there is no seating, nothing stops you from eating them then and there. I must confess finding the place requires a bit of navigation, but the signboards help and if you have google maps to direct you, it does not get too complicated. Furthermore, Desserts by Vic is also on Uber Eats and seems quite a popular option for vegans. 

Vic insisted that he tries to locally source most of his ingredients except for egg replacers. He also uses vegan butter produced here in Sri Lanka which is wonderful as well. Now for the taste test. 

It is always important to have the right mindset when you eat vegan versions of certain non-vegan food. Expecting the same is usually bound to end in disappointment. But Desserts by Vic did not disappoint. Packed with flavour, both cakes were a delight and though a little dense as expected with vegan cake, the flavour more than compensated. I felt they were a tad too sweet for liking, but that is a very personal preference. The brownie was also really gooey and chocolatey and I would buy them again. I loved the margarita cupcake the most, but the Death by Chocolate and White velvet were close seconds. 

Speaking of seconds, we might have to visit Desserts by Vic to try out more of their goodies and in the meantime, to hop over and enjoy their incredibly yummy desserts. You won’t be disappointed. 

Until the next vegan food review, it is TTFN from us, Suramya and Ramesh. 

The Pure Kitchen – 78, Rosmead Place, Colombo 7  

The Pure Kitchen – 78, Rosmead Place, Colombo 7 

It was a photograph of a chalkboard sign that drew us to The Pure Kitchen, in Rosmead Place, Colombo 7. Sent to us by our friend Dennis, who was passing by, we thought we’d take a chance and set off for brunch. The creative and quirky signboard immediately caught our eye where a bright orange carrot stood out as the letter ‘I’ in otherwise grey lettering. Situated in Jawatte Road until a few months ago this restaurant now nestles inside the fabulous Fern BnB. The January heat was really baring upon us and we welcomed the cool, calming effect we had as soon as we entered through the doors. The restaurant is a nook on your right and can seat about 10 – 12 people in one go. The vibe was soothing and calm with shades of green, mustard and browns used for décor. Beautiful hand-painted vines adorned the walls all adding to the calm. 

Ramesh and I were cheerfully greeted and was immediately attended to. We also noticed that Pure Kitchen was on Uber Eats considering the steady flow of orders they were getting, it looked as if they were a crowd favourite. We dived into the ordering process immediately and asked our server to help us in choosing a vegan meal. The menu offers Super Bowls, Specials, Salads and healthy treats. The vegan meals are clearly indicated with the ingredients listed for convenience. There aren’t too many vegan options, but the chef is flexible in serving you a vegan version of the dish of your choice. 

I ordered a Spinach and Chia Green Juice and really wanted to try the Tofu and eggplant bowl, but since it was unavailable I settled for a Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad while Ramesh had an eye on the zoodles. The zoodles came in with either chicken or prawns, but our server ensured that they could do a vegan version. Made out of zucchini, zoodles replaces pasta and is a wonderful gluten-free, healthy option. He also went for the watermelon juice. Pure Kitchen has some lovely smoothies if you are vegetarian. 

The drinks were delivered first. So I confess, I had some trepidation about the juice as I am not a fan of spinach. I eat it only in a dhal curry and still make faces. But with the first slurp through the metal straw, it was love at first slurp! Yes, there is a slippery weirdness to it. But it works. Do be brave and have it! Ramesh who preferred a safer bet enjoyed his watermelon but was also pleasantly surprised by the green gooeyness. 

The food arrived in ten minutes and I was informed that the chef had not included the feta cheese mixed dressing that comes with the salad and used a different house dressing to suit my vegan needs. 

Tabbouleh is a Mediterranean salad that contains finely chopped vegetables and herbs (especially parsley) it is usually served with bulgur wheat but Pure Kitchen serves it with quinoa. The quinoa was well cooked and the dressing had the right balance of olive oil, lime, salt and pepper. It was also a generous serving! 

Ramesh’s zoodles were topped with a yummy tomato sauce. Zoodles: zucchini + noodles is a gluten-free variant of a pasta/noodle. It was quite delightful and the flavours just burst in your mouth. My only disappointment was that the zoodles were not long enough. It’s a personal preference bu zoodles for me, has to be long. Of course, Pure Kitchen makes it a lot easier to eat and perhaps that just goes to say that there is no pleasing some people. (Me – sorry!) 

For dessert, we opted for a slice of the Vegan Chocolate Cake. Quite a generous portion and oddly familiar, we inquired if it was baked in house and found out that it was supplied by Butter Boutique. (Mystery solved!) Pure Kitchen is also another venture of Rukshi Nethikumara who owns Butter Boutique. It was absolutely delicious! This could go well with vegan ice cream and a fruit coulis. (Hint, hint!)  

Overall, we absolutely loved Pure Kitchen, from the ambience to the service it was a soothing and calm experience. The food was healthy and yummy too. A healthy mind and a healthy body are all we need in the hectic lifestyles we lead and Pure Kitchen offers them both.

Until the next yummilicious vegan food review it is TTFN from me, Suramya.

Milk and Honey Café – Colombo 7

Milk and Honey Café – Colombo 7

Horton Place, Colombo 7 is turning into quite a foodie paradise with many cafés and restaurants opening over the past few years. The Milk and Honey Café however, has been serving an extremely vegan and vegetarian friendly menu for quite some time and this review is long overdue. 

The Milk and Honey Café is extra special for me as a mother of bookworms as it is tucked behind a bookshop that has a carefully selected array of books, toys and outfits for children. In all, it has two elements I love most in life, food and books. It is quite conveniently located and has parking at the front of the store. Two things hit you as you enter the store. The smell of new books and the aroma of food. One word to describe it – heaven.  

Thadsha, Ramesh and I headed straight to the café which has both indoor and outdoor seating. The lemon and amberealla trees outside were laden with fruit which eventually make its way as ingredients in the food that is served here. 

The menu is numbered only with no fancy names attached to it and has both vegan and vegetarian options and with the ingredients printed clearly against each dish. The best part is you can speak to the servers and change the ingredients to suit your needs and if you come here with omnivorous friends and family, they have the option to add fish and meat items. This is a lovely turn around, where normally non meat eaters are given a limited menu to choose from in other eateries. The menu is divided in to sections named as All Day Breakfast, Mains, Salads, Wraps and Desserts.  Many ingredients are interchangeable and the servers are well versed with the menu to help you with your order.

We ordered the crowd favourite watermelon lemonade, the number 12 from the mains containing roasted beetroot and onion salad with homemade paneer, parsley and cashew served with sourdough (Rs 750) , a Number 16 – rainbow bowl with Avo, halloumi, mushroom quinoa, roasted pumpkin, roasted beats and onions, marinated raw kale and pickle (Rs 900) A number 17 containing beetroot falafel, chick pea falafel, hummus, tomato salsa, okra salad, cauliflower rice, green salad and pickles (Rs 900), a number 23 from the wraps with a falafel, hummus and tomato salsa (Rs 600) and the number 4 of the desserts which is the café’s take on a sago pudding (Rs 450). 

We also met Pri Ratnayake founder and owner of the Milk and Honey Café who spoke on how she opened up the café eight years ago to fill up a void in serving healthy, organic food in Sri Lanka. In that sense, the café was quite ahead of the times. She elaborated on the various vegetarian and vegan ready to eat sweets that can be bought over the counter. Ranging from banana bread, brownies, oat cookies, to oat bars all the sweets are either gluten free or has less glutens. Using brown and raw sugar, honey and treacle is another policy Pri endorses not wanting to use refined sugars. 

Drinks

The drinks served with its own steel straws are heartily approved by the Meatless Monday SL Team. A big thumbs up here. The watermelon lemonade was not sweet and was a pleasant balance between the watermelon and lemon flavours and we were told that Kithul treacle was offered as a sweetner if required. There was a lovely array of coffees and teas to choose from as well, you just need to let them know if you need a vegan option. 

Mains/ Salads/ Wraps

Our dishes were served together and the portions were quite large. 

The number 12 on the menu was an absolute delight and perhaps our favourite. The beets had been roasted with herbs and spices and were both delicate yet flavourful. The addition of nuts, paneer and the sourdough bread slathered with a generous dollops of homemade hummus added texture to each mouthful. The dressing gets a special mention with its delightful blend of flavours. However, the ingredients to this will forever remain a secret. This mild and non-spicy salad is quite surprisingly filling. You can easily speak to the counter and make this a vegan version. 

Our number 16 ‘Rainbow Bowl’ was a pretty vegetarian dish, which was once again non spicy and mild served with a beautiful avocado flower placed right at the centre of the plate. The mushroom quinoa was cooked to perfection and the roasted veggies were once again well done. The pickled veggies brought a lovely bite to this salad that went well with the creamy avocado. 

The beetroot falafels were our favourites in the vegan number 17 option. I would have preferred the cauliflower rice to have had some extra herbs and a spicy undertone, but it was still quite yum in the tum. The okra better known as ladies fingers in Sri Lanka was not the slimy slithery blehness of our childhood memories, but were roasted and well flavoured. The chick pea falafel was a bit dry but once it blended with the crunchy salad leaves, the zing of the tomato salsa and the creamy hummus it hit the right places. 

The least impressive of our dishes to me was the wrap Number 23. While it tasted wholesome and healthy with its wholemeal flat bread, salad leaves, tomato salsa and hummus I felt it did not quite carry the magic the other options dished out.  I wish the lovely salad leaves could have been tossed with that amazing dressing they had used for the number 16, and once again the falafels were too dry and the zing of the tomato salsa could not quite salvage it. Curiously, it did not deter us from polishing it off. 

Desserts

The sago pudding was a really yummy vegan dessert rich with coconut undertones and one mysterious element that I wanted to double check on. Traditional sago pudding contains cardamoms but this had a zing to it. Upon inquiry I was told it was kaffir lime leaves added right at the end of the cooking process. Nice! The dessert was both light and yummilicious. The cramalized banana, teamed up with coconut jam or as we Sri Lankans call it ‘panipol’ gives this dessert a lovely texture and combines the sweet and sour elements quite effortlessly. Unfortunately for me, we shared this dessert, a mistake I will not make the next time I head this way.

Vegan and vegetarian food gets a bad rap for being bland, flavourless and boring. The food at the Milk and Honey café with hints of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Asian flavours prove this wrong. While all dishes are mild and non-spicy and truly kind to your stomach, health, animal life and environment it is also a gastronomical delight if you need a change from the oil based spicy Sri Lankan food. Teamed up with it is breezy ambience, friendly staff, it is the ideal place for you to kick start your vegan/ vegetarian journey.

Until next time TTFN – Ta ta for now 😊