Kiku Colombo has always been a restaurant we have been wanting to review and while the pandemic has stopped us from enjoying its much sort after ambience, we are lucky to be able to order through delivery companies.
Kiku offers western cuisine with a Japanese influence and the fusion works beautifully. The menu has many vegan and vegetarian options and we love their oat milk and juices. If you are an ovo-lacto vegetarian there are many egg options available as well.
The plant-based options are clearly defined making ordering quite easy. We have often found it difficult to navigate through menus and this makes life very easy for those following plant-based diets.
Having skipped breakfast we were looking for something that is filling and opted for the vegan savoury waffle. The plant-based waffle was not dense as we expected it to be but was as fluffy as any egg and dairy based waffle would be. We loved the crispy parsley that was used to garnish the dish. One crunch and that was gone.
The waffle was served with a crunchy oyster mushroom and we loved the vegan mayu mayo whip and the spicy teriyaki drip. A perfect balance of the sweet and the umami. We do recommend you eating it warm to fully enjoy the taste and to slightly warm it if you are having it for laters.
The vegan peanut butter brownie that we grabbed for desserts was dark, rich and decadent. We loved and it and look forward to ordering it again as we felt the chocolate to peanut butter ratio was just right. Bravo for that.
Did we mention the oat milk at Kiku? Yum! This plant-based milk is made in house and is served ice cold in glass bottles. It is thick which came as a surprise to me as I was used to a thinner consistency. This of course is a purely personal preference.
We at MMSL are happy to observe more and more restaurants catering to the various lifestyle and dietary needs of their customers. This is brings about the change that would result in a more inclusive restaurant culture in Sri Lanka.
All in all, Kiku deserves a long review with us being at the premises to truly enjoy the food with the restaurant’s ambience. There is much talk about its interior and how light and shadow play a big part in the dining experience. Here’s wishing safer and better times for us to proceed with this wish.
While the pandemic has altered the lifestyles and livelihoods of many of us, there are also ventures that have popped up and are for the betterment of others aka foodies like us. The Jar Bar is one such business. Operating purely on Instagram, it is the brainchild of the creative genius Shifani Reffai. It is quite simply a few vegan and vegetarian smoothies and puddings that she makes herself using locally sourced ingredients.
While it may sound simple enough, this review is not just about the yummy food, but also about the sentiment and sustainable approach she has taken to creating this brand. The Jar Bar has some unusual seasonal flavour options for its smoothies. These include jakfruit and rambuttan. The products are made with either no sugar at all or natural sweeteners as much as possible.
Image credit – Shifani Reffai
The Jar Bar uses glass jars as packaging that they encourage to repurpose as much as possible. They even take them back for second orders. They do not contain any stickers or brand names to limit packaging waste. Jars are then presented to you in brown paper bags with unique prints and a personalised message to the person who ordered the goodies… or so we thought. Each bag contains one Shifani’s original drawings depicting elements of nature. Each order has a unique picture and ranges from birds, animals, insects and even waves.
Image credit – Shifani Reffai
Now for the taste test. We ordered The Dark Matter Chocolate Biscuit Pudding, Mango party Smoothie, Creamy Vegan Mash Jar, Big Brother Hummus and the seasonal special Rambuttan Smoothie.
Image credit – Shifani Reffai
The Dark matter Chocolate Biscuit pudding is not vegan as it contains dairy products, but is decadent and not at all sweet. We have no idea how she managed to insert all those layers in, but it looked really pretty.
The Creamy Vegan Mash is Shifani’s take of the classic potato mash sans the dairy. Rich, creamy and with tiniest hint of coconut, this was really yummy. We ate it off the jar, used it as a dip and even a filling for some toast sandwiches. Yes, you guessed right. We loved it.
Hummus is every vegan’s go-to product. Rich with nutrients, it is also a versatile spread that often replaces butter. While not everyone can get it right we are happy to say that The Jar Bar hummus is delightful. The garlic reigns in this mix and we loved it.
Image credit – Shifani Reffai
Now the Rambuttan Smoothie was the interesting one. While part of the fun is tearing the rambuttan skin off and scraping the flesh off the seed with your teeth, it’s not for everyone. The Jar Bar does the work for you and blends it into a pulpy drink. It’s not completely smooth and retains the bite of the rambuttan flesh but keeps the flavour intact. I absolutely enjoyed it. Now we wait for rambuttan season.
While the menu is not extensive, we love the concepts behind The Jar Bar. Combining healthy comfort food with local flavours, sustainability and art this unique venture is one of a kind. Do check them out on Instagram to order.
Sri Lankans are known for their love for savoury snacks or ‘short eats.’ No tea party or children’s party would be complete without an array of these snacks laden upon tables to be enjoyed with a warm cup of tea. It is worth mentioning that there is nothing short about these flavour treats as it is impossible to resist the temptation to nibble on as many as possible. While most often these short eats are homemade, with today’s fast paced world it is not always possible to spare those extra few hours to come up with a feast. It is even more difficult to manage to get an array of completely vegan options.
We have already featured The Vegan Kitchen by Sulo before, but this short-eat pack deserves a separate review. Sulo is perhaps one of the only cafes that supply vegan short-eat options and we at Meatless Monday feel really happy to have been able to get our hands on these yummies.
We ordered a four short-eat combo and the yummiest vegan cupcakes ever. They came arranged in a box that can be served as it is or of course presented as you wish.
First the savouries. The pack consisted of Vegan Pizza, sandwiches, samosas, rolls and sausage pastry. The pizza sauce was lovely and was topped with veggies and an in house ‘sheeze’ sauce. It has a coconutty aftertaste, but it works very well! The samosas and rolls had a veggie/potato stuffing which was both yummy and filling. The sausage pastry contained Sulo’s very own vegan sausages and was glazed with her special sauces.
The tofu mayo sandwich for me was a winner. It looks like a typical Sri Lankan boiled egg sandwich and far as texture is concerned, it is almost the real deal. All the flavours were on point without an overpowering eggy taste to it. Which for me was perfect. Little chunks of soft tofu tossed with vegan mayo, onions, green chilies, tomatoes with hints of mustard and pepper. This is me sighing of happiness just thinking about it.
Then comes the cuppies. Our cuppy combo included, coffee cupcakes with caramelized nuts, choc-chip cupcakes and passionfruit cupcakes with passionfruit curd. The cakes were soft and moist with the icings soft and yummy. I felt that the icing did not include a coconut based butter and was quite thankful for it as it is a personal preference. However, Sulo accommodates anyone who would prefer coconut-based butters.
Did we enjoy the short eats and cuppies? Yes we did! Do we recommend it? Yes! Her short-eat boxes are super popular and she regularly supplies some amazing short-eat combos.
These tasty treats brought a smile to our faces and peace of mind during these troubled times and we are glad to be able to support local businesses during the pandemic. .
If there is one place in all of Earth that could be a vegan haven, that would be Sri Lanka. Blessed with a wide array of vegetables, fruit and dairy alternatives, our traditional cooking is truly 100% plant-based. Sri Lankan curries are cooked in coconut milk and most of our sweets are also coconut-based. We are also blessed to have traditional agricultural methods that are completely organic and developed in line with resilient and organic farming practices.
Ranbath is situated at Sri Sambudhdha Jayanthi Mw but is also available through food delivery apps. They offer healthy, wholesome vegetarian meals made from organic vegetables and fruit. While it is called vegetarian, the bulk of the food on offer is actually vegan.
We ordered a nutritious mixed kola kenda (herbed rice porridge) and string hoppers for breakfast and a lovely rice and curry pack for lunch.
We are very thankful that the food comes wrapped in lotus leaves and packed in a cardboard box to minimise polythene use.
The kolakenda was a burst of flavour, warm and herby. We chose kurrakan string hoppers which was accompanied with a fiery pol sambol ( coconut sambol) and kiri hodhi (turmeric and spice induced coconut milk) The flavour combo worked very well and we really enjoyed it. The string hoppers were not dry and was perfect dunked in the kiri hodhi.
Now for the rice and curry. Ranbath is known for using heirloom rice varieties that are dense in fibre and nutrients. They offer 5 curries which is quite a feast. The curries are most often vegetables that are local favourites and we got gotukola, spiced brinjals, manioc, mango curry and boiled jackfruit tossed in a coconut and onion mix. The spice mixes are lovely. Not overpowering nor too rich. Ranbath is serious about their assurance to provide healthy food, so they do not overly use oil in their cooking. We also learnt that you can also choose to have a less rice and more veggies version. How awesome is that?
They also have a super range of breakfast, lunch and dinner options, some super beverages that include fresh juices, vegan desserts and a few traditional sweetmeats. This is truly a wonderful way to enjoy traditional vegan Sri Lankan food.
I wonder why I am always surprised at how blessed I am to be able to enjoy so many vegetables in this rich and fertile country of ours. Perhaps because it is taken for granted and we do not explore all the possibilities that could be at our doorstep. It is lovely to see a local restaurant utilising what nature provides us organically and building a business around it.
As always, Meatless Monday SL is happy to support local businesses. Stay safe everybody
With the global pandemic, dining out has become a thing of the past. That is why we opted for a series of reviews that looked at scrumptious food that we can order from out.
Street Burger has branches both in Colombo 4 and Mount Lavinia with airy spaces with a hip vibe to it. While it caters in general to meat eating clients, the menu does consist of vegetarian options as well.
Both burgers were quite large and were topped with lettuce, tomatoes, pickle, onions, creamy avocado and were drizzled with a mayo dressing. The crumb coated and deep fried patty had a potato base with carrots, corn and peas included. The portion size was perfect and was quite filling. While these are not 100% vegan with the dressing, the overall composition of the burger was amazing and is suitable for vegetarians.
We really enjoyed the burgers and also had the satisfaction of supporting local vendors during these trying times. A big shout out to all the delivery personnel who have also worked tirelessly supporting the community.
Most of all, it is a pleasure to see predominantly meat based restaurants take the time to create brilliant dishes to suit their plant-based clientele. Here’s hoping Street Burger would add more plant-based options to their menu.
A British tradition said to have originated in the 19th century, High Tea is traditionally served at the table and is partaken while seated on high back chairs as opposed to afternoon tea that is served on low comfortable chairs or even in a garden setting. High tea offers a selection of elegant sandwiches, scones and a variety of cakes.
Today, it is offered in many hotels and restaurants in Sri Lanka and are served as both platters and buffets. In February 2021, we decided to visit The Shangri la Hotel. We recommend making a reservation for the hotel to prepare for your specific vegan or vegetarian needs.
The hotel offers two types of tea services and we opted to have the Afternoon High Tea. Served at the Sapphyr Lounge the ambience is charming and is further enhanced by the classical music played live by three young talented musicians.
The platters contained two sandwiches, four savouries, four sweets and scones and were beautifully presented in four tier gilded stands. In general we were quite impressed by the spread, presentation and of course taste. Needless to say, it was quite filling and most of us skipped our dinner.
In terms of presentation, our favourite would be the sandwiches that were presented with an eye for every minute detail. Thinly sliced veggies were placed in colour coordinated uniformity on the layered sandwich and were topped with a charming display of edible flower petals and grains. It was almost too pretty to eat. But we did and it did not disappoint us at all.
The grilled vegetable crostini was topped with a cheese disc and was crispy and filled with flavour. This was universally enjoyed by our group.
The savouries containing a mushroom pastry, vegetable cutlet, and the mini burger were all delicious and filling. While we were initially disappointed with the mini burger for its simplicity, the cream cheese, tomato and crispy iceberg lettuce combo was the perfect foil for the other savouries on offer and was light, fresh, and crisp.
Now, on to the sweets. All were collectively liked, but what we enjoyed the most were the scones. Light and crumbly, it was served with cream, raspberry jam and lemon curd. The lemon curd was a welcome surprise and as the pictures suggest, we kept dipping in for more.
From the ambience to food and service, Shangri La Hotel definitely delivered. The food was fresh, filling and very tasty and we had a very enjoyable evening. It is an experience we hope to repeat.