Spice up your life with tantalizing food | Daily News

Spice up your life with tantalizing food

Jacqueline Fernandez is a combination of beauty from head to toe with excellent business acumen. Chef Dharshan Munidasa is a maestro in the kitchen. The two have come together to create Kaema Sutra, an exciting new age Sri Lanka Bar and Restaurant at Shangri La Hotel. Daily News attended the opening last week and experienced the delightful ambience and environment of Kaema Sutra in the company of Chef Dharshan Munidasa and Shangri La Vice President and General Manager, Timothy Wright.

 

Munidasa has a wealth of experience when it comes to food. He founded Nihonbashi and the Ministry of Crab. These two highly popular venues are actually two of Sri Lanka’s most successful restaurants. Both are on the list of Asia's 50 Best Restaurants. Munidasa’s current crowning achievement is Kaema Sutra at Shangri La. Shangri La has set benchmarks for the hospitality industry.

Shangri La is the only five star hotel that has actually reached out to an external restaurateur to open out a restaurant within its premises.

Vice President and General Manager Timothy Wright, expressed his sincere delight at the opening of Kaema Sutra saying that the creation of Kaema Sutra has been a most interesting journey.

chicken drumsticks

“It has been a lot of hard work putting together this relationship. It has been an excellent idea to invite Munidasa to come in with his expertise and help us create a Sri Lankan restaurant here in Shangri La. We are obviously new to Sri Lanka, so it made sense to partner with the most acclaimed restaurateur here in Sri Lanka. We are very pleased and proud to work with Dharshan and his team,” said Wright.

Wright said opening a Sri Lankan restaurant has always been on their minds. “Shangri La is new to the country that is why they reached out to a Chef like Dharshan Munidasa,” he said.

“So we needed the expertise and the understanding. I love Sri Lankan food and I have been to his restaurants and had discussions with him. I appreciate his passion for quality. This has been very important for us in opening the restaurant so the spicier the better. The dish I like the most is the prawn curry and there is a Sri Lanka twist on the pizza. So that is very unusual and very interesting,” stated Wright.

Chef Dharshan Munidasa

Jackie Fernandez is Chef Dharshan Munidasa’s celebrity collaborator in the venture. When it comes to Ministry of Crab his collaborators are cricketers, Mahela Jayawardena and Kumar Sangakkara.

“Firstly they were all friends. That is how I met Kumar at Nihonbashi and the Ministry of Crab idea came up. I met Jackie at Ministry of Crab. The idea of Kaema Sutra came up and I asked her to be a part of it. So she got involved. Kaema Sutra was a name given to a TV show! And I wanted the rights for the restaurant after the TV show happened. But the TV show never happened. Kaema Sutra is the direct translation of the Malay ‘art of cuisine’. So it was a nice twist,” said Munidasa

When it comes to his food, Munidasa lists ingredients as the most essential component in cooking.

“We live on an island and the sea is right in front of Shangri La. But we still buy fish in cans and I don’t understand why! First I think the access to great ingredients is now a privilege. If you have the patience to spend some time and money to get good ingredients that is where good food starts.

"When you have good ingredients you will want to use sharper knives. You need to have more finesse in the cuts. Sri Lankan food is about being functional and when you treat each dish individually they have wonderful flavours and that is what we are trying to celebrate,” pointed out Munidasa.

Munidasa is of Japanese and Sri Lankan origin. He has brought some items in Japanese menus to Sri Lanka. He said a lot of Japanese cooking will also be incorporated. “Of course the tools are the most important in Japanese cooking such as good knives. You need more talent and the correct equipment,” he said.

“There will be Japanese traditions in respect to ingredients and kitchen utensils. I think Sri Lankan food was cooked in clay pots that did not have a good lid, because they wanted to get the moisture out of the ingredients.

Savoury pastries

"When you get the moisture out of the ingredients you extend its shelf life like Ambul Thiyal. When you use stuff like fish, that you can eat raw, you realize you don’t have to cook that long. It is soft and succulent. And then the equipment comes in. We are approaching cuisine in two different ways. The clay pots addressed a preservation issue and now I am addressing a flavour and texture issue. The tuna Ambul Thiyal is cooked at your table. We bring raw tuna, to the table and we cook it in a clay pot. Good fish does not smell. There is nothing to hide,” said Munidasa.

Why not drop by at the Shangri La Kaema Sutra and enjoy a great meal while watching the sunset and sipping cocktails! The ambience is just right. Munidasa’s meals are terrific. They are mouthwatering and innovative. So bring the family over or come alone and you will be treated like royalty by the friendly staff ever willing to make your stay memorable! Kaema Sutra Shangri La is the destination!

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