[Colombo, Sri Lanka] Lunch at Colombo Fort Cafe, Old Dutch Hospital Complex

8-year-old Colombo Fort Cafe is one of the interesting culinary places to explore among Sri Lankan food entrepreneur, Harpo Gooneratne’s stable of restaurants. Located within the historic 400-year-old Old Dutch Hospital Complex which has been well-restored and turned into a dining-cum-shopping precinct, the restaurant has a line of al fresco tables overlooking one of the neat, well-maintained squares within the complex. It was a pretty warm day, so we opted to sit inside in the air-conditioned part of the restaurant, which included the bar.

Chef Lasantha Silva churns out an interesting Mediterranean menu (spanning from Greece to Italy & Spain). But we were only in Sri Lanka for a short period, and wanted to maximise our exposure to Sri Lankan cuisine - so, we opted for the local options on the menu:

  1. Black pork curry - quite a respectable rendition here, with tender pork-belly cuts in a rich, mellow dark curry sauce, redolent of spices and tamarind (which gave the gravy its trademark dark hue).

  1. Seer fish in creamy mustard curry - the cooking was perfectly-timed, resulting in tender, not overly dry or hard fish as we’d half-expected. The mustard cuts through the richness of the curry gravy, striking a nice a balance of flavours for the gravy, which went perfectly with the rice.

As with local dishes we’d tried elsewhere, the food seemed oversalted. Loved the whole atmosphere inside though - casual, yet with an aura of history.

Colombo Fort Cafe
Old Dutch Hospital Complex
Echelon Square, Hospital Street
Colombo 00100, Sri Lanka
Tel: +94 112 434 946
Operating hours: 7am to 10pm, daily

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Fish market.
Credit: Ramesh SA, Flickr