Bite sized delights

Saturday, 6 November 2010 03:43 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Cinnamon Lakeside has a mouth watering Tapas menu on offer  

If one was to ask me what was Spain’s greatest food creation is I will not hesitate before I say it’s the all out mini tapas. Small enough to be gulped down in one mouthful, tapas is said to have been founded in Andalusia. What started off with a piece of bread, soon topped with ham or cheese balanced over a glass to keep the flies at bay is today an international phenomenon.

By Cheranka Mendis


 Bring to Sri Lanka that taste from home, Chef Ivan Tarrago Sole of Cinnamon Lakeside who has Spanish blood running in his veins has created a 30 dish Tapas menu now available at the hotel’s immensely popular restaurant- 7’0 North. Sole, who was born and bred in Almatret, a small village on the outskirts of Barcelona hails from a family of Chefs. “My grandmother was a chef, my mother a restaurateur. And cooking came easy to me,” Sole said.


 After completing his secondary education, he went on to study at the Escuela de Hosteleria y Turismo (School of Hospitality and Tourism) in Lleida, where he carved his cooking skills. Later on, in 2002, he followed a Dietetic and Nutrition Course at the University of Lleida, U. D. L. Ivan’s promising career has evolved over the years with reputed experience as a Chef de Partie, Sous Chef and Executive Chef while also taking charge as Manager at fabulous restaurants in Spain, Mexico and London. Humble about his beginnings, the Chef told the Weekend FT that he started his career in the kitchen cleaning pots when he was 14 years of age.  

A call change

All it took to drag him down here was one phone call, he says. “One day I got a call and was offered a job at Cinnamon Lakeside in Sri Lanka. I though okay why not and here I am,” he smiles. Sole who loves dhal and roti from the local food says that all recipes have been made by him except for a very special one which has been in his family for a good 60 years or so. Espardenya Catalan: his very special dish passed on from his Chef Grandmother is something anyone’s got to taste- soft to the bite, the flavours leaps out to tantalize your sweet buds. His other specialties, ravished delightfully by yours truly were Pastela Moruna, Fricandó Catalan, Baton-Salmorejo and Shellfish Paella Valenciana among many other such dishes.

Amazing combination

 Anyone who hasn’t tried these already must, I repeat must rush off to 7’o North at once. The restaurant is open from 11 am to 1 am Sunday to Thursday and from 11 am to 2 am on Fridays and Saturdays. You can chill out completely getting yourself lost in the scenic setting of the sun on the river sipping a chilled cocktail or mocktail- do try on the Muscle Hunk, it is as delicious as it sounds. Who thought mixing red bull with a couple of fruit juices would taste so good! With the seating capacity which could accommodate 70 persons on the deck and another 70 on the terrace, you don’t even have to worry about space issues!

 The restaurant also offers some exquisite Mediterranean foods; “a jolly mix of Greek, Italian, French, Middle Eastern and modern food” as expressed by the Chef himself, nothing could bend down the wrong way when it comes to your tummy. Calamari, beef Rossini, seafood platter and the bouillabaisse as well as the Arabic Mezze platter are on top of everyone’s favourite list- dishes that you just might find yourself saying yes to as well.

 Please do not hesitate to embark on a gastronomical ride of the best of Spanish and Mediterranean food at the Cinnamon Lakeside. It is definitely worth your time and money.