Roti rendezvous | Daily News

Roti rendezvous

The place is undeniably chic. Tucked away from the busy High Level Street leading from Colombo University to Nugegoda, this small but cozy venue located in Pamankada Road, Kirulapana, boasts of one of the most well loved food items in the Sri Lankan menu – roti.

Creamy Prawn Tortilla. 

Starting off their roti venture in a restored kombi van, partners Shemal Camball and Dilumi Athauda decided to introduce their products to the mass market by opening a restaurant ‘The Roti Cafe by the Travelling KOMBI’ due to the demand they got for their tantalizing rotis.

“We did a lot of research on the subject before we started this venture and discovered that apart from rice and bread, rotis have a lot of demand among Sri Lankan foodies. We also discovered that there are separate food outlets for items like pizzas, burgers, rice etc but there is no place solely for rotis,” Shemal explained on how the team stumbled upon the idea of inaugurating a café for roti.

Whipped up by Tasia Careem, who is also a partner and the head chef of the cafe, The Roti Cafe by the Travelling KOMBI has a variety of rotis from paratas, to naan, godamba and tortillas. Over 15 verities of fillings ranging from spicy to sweet and meat or seafood based to vegetarian are on offer.

Hot Butter Mushroom Paratha

“Some of these are roti based desserts. All their products are launched after a massive market research. We make sure that the quality and taste is up to standard in each dish before we add it to our menu. One of our signature dishes is the hot butter mushroom. We have a menu which ranges from Chinese to oriental, western and Sri Lankan,” he said adding that they are more of a fusion restaurant rather than a Sri Lankan oriental outlet. 

They also offer coffees, milkshakes, mocktails and teas to go along with the food. The Chocolate Mug Cake is another favourite among the Roti Café customers. Each meal comes with generous helping of prawn crackers.

The décor and furniture are environmentally friendly as they are made from wood and recycled products. Books, toys and games are at hand to grab off the shelf and amuse yourself as you unwind with food and beverage of your choice.

The venue is able to accommodate around a dozen customers indoors while around 16 can be seated outdoors. This ambiance gives it the perfect setting for small get-togethers and celebrations like birthday parties, farewells and hen parties. The restaurant is open for lunch from noon to 3 pm and for dinner at 4.30 pm to 10 pm. They are closed on Mondays. They also host regular mic nights and are looking to expand their entertainment zone to quizz nights, game nights and to project sporting events on a big screen.

Chocolate Mug Cake

One of their future goals is to have ‘rotis on wheels’. They wish to include smaller versions of their meals so that people can eat on the go similar to short eats.

“We are experimenting on making rotis with kurakkan and atta flour so we are hoping to cater to the health conscious crowd too,” Dilumi said.

Shemal adds that one of the steps that they are taking in expanding their client base is to introduce a Maldivian roti to their menu.

“There is a massive Maldivian market in Sri Lanka. We are still experimenting whether the base can be made and kept overnight,” he expressed.

A noteworthy feature in their menu is the ‘Giant Roti Challenge’. This roti which is three feet long and three feet wide can be consumed with a friend along with a bucket of 1 kg crab, beef or chicken curry. If you and your friend re able to finish the meal within 60 minutes, you need not pay for the meal. So far no one had been able to win this competition.

The partners hope to expand their concept to other areas of the country like Kandy and Galle in the future.

Holding an open mic night. Pictures by Ruwan de Silva


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