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High on Tea at Tea Avenue – One Galle Face

High on Tea at Tea Avenue – One Galle Face

When Tea Avenue situated at One Galle Face announced about their vegan high tea option for Poya days and weekends, we were simply over the moon! 

So off I went with Chalani, Nipun and Thimali from SLYCAN Trust. The trio are not vegan and the idea was to get a genuine response about vegan food. 

Tea Avenue recommends you to make a reservation before coming in and you can do it by calling them on their Whatsapp number. The café is nice and airy with hand sanitizer and health guidelines mentioned right at the entrance. 

As mentioned before, Tea Avenue has been offering vegan high tea only for a short period of time and could not offer us a printed menu, for inspection. However, Mohammed, our server was quick to explain to us about the selection. 

The High Tea was served in a platter with 5 savoury items and 3 desserts followed by a cup of tea.  The artfully displayed platter served two and was priced at Rs 2400/- 

The savoury items included a spinach quiche, bruschetta, crispy potato roll, spinach/spring onion wrap, mini vegan burger. The sweet selection included a brownie, tiramisu and fruit cocktail. This was the first time the trio from SLYCAN Trust has had a vegan spread and they were quite intrigued about it. There were a few mmmmms and hmmmmms and many a question was directed towards me. There was a variety of teas on offer and we had a selection of classic, chai, berry and lychee teas.

Now comes the taste test. 

My personal favourite was the burger, it was super flavourful and had a nice balance of spice and crunchy freshness. Chalani liked the Spinach quiche and Nipun liked the Crispy potato roll. The Bruschetta had a thinly sliced roasted carrot at the base to act as vegan bacon. While in general it was a nice touch, I think it could have had a touch of balsamic vinegar to up the game. 

We unanimously gave a side eye to the spinach wrap. It was our least favourite of the selections as there was already a green element in the quiche. I am sure Tea Avenue would take our feedback into consideration. Over all, it was a nice spread and we enjoyed the munching.

The true winners however, were the desserts. My oh my, the brownie certainly got some well…. brownie points. It was crunchy on the top and moist and squishy in the middle. In fact, the trio felt it was even better than the classic non vegan version. It had accents of coconut and some other unknown magical ingredient. Personally, it was the Tiramisu with its ginger biscuit base that was the game changer. Being a dessert snob (ashamed to admit, but true), this for me was pure excellence. The ginger biscuit added an oomph to the creamy decadence of the dessert. Further, adding the fruit cocktail into the dessert mix was a clever move as the peach, strawberry and cherry bites acted as a palate cleanser in between the two rich desserts. 

On a serious note, we are delighted to observe more and more restaurants and cafes opening to the possibility of including vegan and vegetarian options to their menus. Understanding the need to serve humane and cruelty free food is a great win for not only for those who follow plant based food diets, but for animals in general and the world we live in. However, it is equally important to note that despite being meatless, vegan and vegetarian food can still be nutritious, full of flavour and textures. Therefore, offering bland or basic vegan versions of meat based food is also not acceptable. This requires innovation and food experimentation which is good for the industry as well as our health. 

That’s why we LOVE and appreciate the comprehensive feedback form presented to us by Tea Avenue in order to help them better their vegan food service. This further exemplifies their commitment to serving not just any vegan food, but vegan food that is both tasty and enjoyable. 

As for the trio – they all agreed it was a ‘different but enjoyable’ experience worth trying again and again. Different doesn’t necessarily mean bad and for me, this is an absolute win. 

So, make that reservation and head over to Tea Avenue – One Galle Face next Poya day or weekend and try the Vegan High Tea. Let us know what you think about it. 

TTFN for now, stay safe and eat plant based food! 

Ordering From Out During the Pandemic – Lamprais with Shey

Ordering From Out During the Pandemic – Lamprais with Shey

Deriving from the Dutch lomprijst and closely related to the Javanese dish lemper, Lamprais is a gift of Sri Lanka’s Dutch Burgher community to the world. It is quite simply made by wrapping a flavour induced rice with a group of meat and vegetable curries in a banana leaf and baked in an oven. There is no specific recipe for this dish and is a time consuming and arduous process that is handed down the generations. Each family would have their own version, but the different types of meat used in the dish remains the king. 

So how could you make a well loved meat based favourite suitable for vegetarians or vegans? This is where tenacity meets experimenting and while traditionalists would shudder at the thought of a completely plant based lamprais, vegetarians are always in search of a lamprais that makes their hearts sing. 

While there are many restaurants and cafes offering vegetarian and rarely vegan lamprais, it does not always meet with approval. Often it is either too oily or has not matched the rich but delicate balance of spices that comes hand in hand with a lamprais.

That’s what makes Lamprais by Shey ever so special. The pack contained aubergine curry, ash plantain curry, seeni sambol, TVP (soya) curry and not one but two cutlets. The spice induced rice was fragrant but not overpowering. Each curry complimented the other and was very filling. The banana wrapping brought in its own fragrant magic. We enjoyed every bite.  Most of all, we were pleasantly surprised when we received our order by noon.

A vegetarian lamprais is not always easy to master and we are pleased to say that we were not disappointed at all.

We do recommend Lamprais by Shey and remember, pre-ordering is necessary. We are glad we found this gem amidst this pandemic and glad to support home based businesses. 

Suramya Hettiarachchi 

Ordering Out During the Pandemic – Copper Lamp

Ordering Out During the Pandemic – Copper Lamp

Copper Lamp is a delightful cafe found on Hotel Road, Mount Lavinia and has a variety of vegetarian and vegan options. With the pandemic, we once again opted for delivery and were delighted with our order.

The menu Indian, Asian Fusion as well as western options which worlds well for a group of individuals with varied tastes. Orders can be placed directly to the cafe or be ordered through food delivery companies as well. 

‘Manchurian Balls’ served as our side dish and these are what you would call flavour bombs. These bite-sized indo-chinese delights were perfectly coated in a sauce but served dry. A portion contains six and is quite filling on its own. 

The garden salad is ideal for the health conscious and each ingregient was served separately  rather than tossed together. It was fresh, light and wholesome.  

The 18”  thin crust margherita pizza came piping hot, was perfectly baked and was an overall favourite.

Another crowd favorite was the pesto pasta. The penne pasta was cooked al dente and was tossed in a creamy pesto sauce. You can call the restaurant and omit the cream if you wish. Nothing was overpowering and we used the pizza crusts to dip into the leftover sauce. Yum!

Last but not least is the hefty Manchurian Burger. The burger is packed with manchurian balls, salad leaves, tomatoes, onions and their dressings and links the East with the West. Served with a pack of thinly sliced potato chips, this brings on happy sighs.

A gust of wind could make the thinly sliced chips fly. That’s how thin and crispy they were and we loved it!

We at MMSL are glad to support local restaurants and it is a pleasure to see Copper Lamp offering such an extensive range of vegetarian options. It is a pleasure to know that they are willing to accommodate vegan requests too. 

Suramya Hettiarachchi 

Ordering from Out During the Pandemic – The Vegan, Boralasgamuwa

Ordering from Out During the Pandemic – The Vegan, Boralasgamuwa

The Vegan is another cafe found in Raththanapitiya, Boralesgamuwa which serves purely vegan food and has an array of Western and Asian fusion cuisine. According to the co-founders of the cafe, The Vegan was established for both vegans and non-vegans to hang out, have fun while enjoying delectable vegan food. Here, you can be assured that the food is pure vegan and that you can have a query-free and stress free meal.

While it was not possible to dine in during the pandemic, The Vegan delivered food for their hungry clientele. The food is delivered warm and is packed with flavour. Our choice as a side was the Devilled Tofu, which was fried tofu, tossed with crunchy veggies and a spicy soya sauce. The tofu was crunchy on the outside and tender in the middle and was very well coated with the sauce. We loved it and it has since become one of our go-to dishes. 

The foot-long Mock Meat Submarine was filled with a healthy serving of mock meat, salad leaves, tomatoes and grilled onions. The mock meat is made in house and is very well seasoned and tossed in a special sauce.  It did not take too long for us to gobble it up.

Our next dish was the Spaghetti Arrabiata which had bell peppers, capcisums and olives tossed in a chef’s special tomato sauce. Be warned – this dish was spicy and we felt it could be a tad milder. Did it ditter our hungry souls from consuming it? No.

Next on would be the mushroom kottu. Generously loaded with veggies and mushrooms it was the mouth watering aroma that hit us first. This is not your traditional wayside kadey, street food style kottu dripping with curry. This kottu has a Chinese/Sri Lankan twist with its chillie induced soya sauce and packs a punch. I felt it might be a tad too salty, but this could be a personal preference. 

The food at The Vegan is filled with flavour and celebrates all that is fun and nice in vegan food. It is a sensory explosion because the aroma of their food is as we mentioned before mouthwatering. The food comes in foil containers and the submarine was wrapped in a coated brown paper. They recommend diving into the food while warm. This we agree as some elements might feel dry if consumed cold. All we can say is vegan or not, this is a place all foodies should visit. 

Suramya Hettiarachchi 

Lunch with Sulo – The Vegan Kitchen with Sulo, Raththanapitiya, Boralesgamuwa.

Lunch with Sulo – The Vegan Kitchen with Sulo, Raththanapitiya, Boralesgamuwa.

Vegan Kitchen By Sulo and Meatless Monday Sri Lanka have had a long food history. Having been one of the fore-runners in the vegan restaurant industry, MMSL has partnered with Sulo in many of our plant-based food promotions. 

That’s why going to her newly opened restaurant felt like going home. Situated in Raththanapitiya, which we consider a food haven, this cafe is a labour of love literally built from scratch by the dynamic duo Sulochana and her husband Anjana. 

‘This cafe, from wiring to walls and everything in between was done by my husband Anjana,’ said Sulo. Infact, Anjana is also the muse and inspiration behind Sulo’s venture towards vegan food. Their food story begins when Sulo met Anjana who is a vegan and wanted to make food for him. One thing led to another and they ended up getting married and running a successful vegan food venture. 

Together they have ‘veganised’ many popular non-vegan food from cakes, burgers, submarines to mock meat, vegan ‘sheeze’ and even vegan eggs. Her passion to promote local flavours and spice mixes makes her experiment and innovate recipes to suit not only the Sri Lankan palette but also to the most discerning meat lover. 

Let’s get down to the food and drinks

The Hot Chocolate, Faluda and yummy coffee were served in joyous mugs and were creamy and rich. Not overly sweet they are definite must haves in this cafe. 

Now the food! 

The Vegan ‘Sheeze Kotthu’

The Kotthu was filled with vegetables and was delightfully spicy. The vegan cheese made in house stole the show as it blended perfectly with the koththu. It might not be the dairy cheese one would be accustomed to, but was still creamy and delightful. 

The Nasi Gorang 

The Nasi Gorang was a surprise for us as it came with a fried egg! It looked like an egg and it even had the same textures. But this was no ordinary egg. 100% plant-based this vegan egg is something else. We definitely recommend you try it out. The rice was coated well with the sauces and was accompanied by Sulo’s signature mock meat. 

The Mockmeat burger 

The mock meat burger was generously loaded with mock meat, fried mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, salad leaves and was quite filling! The mock meat was seasoned well and was tossed in a sauce packed with flavours. This burger ticks all the boxes.

The Crunchy Garden Salad!

Packed with a combo of over 12 vegetables and fruits, this garden salad had every possible texture and flavour dancing in your mouth. Made in our presence, the salad contained both fresh and dehydrated vegetables and fruit.The dressing was the winner for us and if you’d like to see how to make this, click right here

This food fiesta ended with a decadent vegan french toast topped with fruits, nuts and an excellent chocolate sauce. 

The best thing about dining at Sulo’s is the pleasure of knowing that your meal is completely vegan. All ingredients are carefully scrutinized and researched which takes away the pressure of eating out for any vegan. Food is fresh and quite often picked from her own garden. The spice mixes are made in house and even the dehydrated ingredients are all her own. All in all, all, this is a definite go to place for all vegans.

Noodles at Thai Colombo City Centre Food Studio

Noodles at Thai Colombo City Centre Food Studio

Remember our visit to Mala Hotpot? Well right next to it is Thai where they serve some scrumptious …well… Thai cuisine. Thadsha was craving for some noodles and we decided to pop across to grab a bite from there as well. Here too, the menu was quite limited, yet it covered some crowd favourites such as rice and noodle dishes, salads and Thai curries. We opted for the veggie noodle and green papaw salad and informed that we did not want any ingredient containing fish, meat or egg. While we cannot assure the noodle is vegan, we can say that this was a good vegetarian option and certainly a win for plant based cuisine. The ordering process was quite simple and straight forward and all we had to do was to chat and wait. 

The meal was prepared pretty quick and contained noodles mixed with an array of vegetables in a mild yet flavourful sauce. As much as vegetarian and plant based food is more and more popular in Sri Lanka, you do need to be mindful that there are certain condiments that are often disregarded and overlooked as being vegetarian. Chili paste is one such condiment. We forgot to mention about it and there it was nestled in all its fiery glory in the corner of our dish. Of course they were quick to rectify the matter and tucked in we did.

The noodles were cooked beautifully and the umami flavour was just right. We loved it. Filled with cauliflower florets, carrot, a healthy dose of spring onions and tofu, it was a delight. The green papaw salad containing julienned carrots, green papaw, bean sprouts, tomatoes was crunchy and fresh with a handful of roasted peanuts scattered artfully on the surface. Another win. Yum!

So, if you are looking for a quick meal with a generous serving of vegetables this will suit you well. Affordable, filling and plant based, it certainly gets a thumbs up from us. 

Until our next food adventure, TTFN!