Mount Lavinia’s new ‘meatery’

Saturday, 16 March 2013 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By David Ebert

The seaside suburb of Mount Lavinia is for me perhaps the ideal place to live in – just a short hop across the road to the beach and dotted with shady little avenues and lanes. Having spent the most formative years of my life there, I’m happy that it still remains the busy little suburban beachfront town of my childhood.

The one big positive difference I’ve noticed over the last couple of years is the never ending choice of little restaurants and eateries that have mushroomed along the Galle Road and of course the beach. Mount, as people refer to it, has quickly become an alternative dining destination of sorts, with a range of new spots to discover even considering the distance for those who live across town in Colombo.  

My most recent discovery ‘Backyard BBQ’, situated on the corner of Station Road, Mount Lavinia, is what I would call a carnivore’s wet dream; offering an extensive menu filled with large portions of mouth-watering beef and pork ribs, as well as chicken and pizzas too. Just one look at its menu on facebook and I was convinced that I had to try it out immediately.

The man behind the concept, Ross Buultjens, is better known as one of Sri Lanka’s DJing stalwarts, having played to crowds in most of Colombo’s nightclubs for many years. So I was curious to find out why the sudden change in career: “DJing is a tough job when you’ve done it for as long as I have, the long hours can take a toll. So I decided to try out my second love, which is food and cooking it for people to enjoy just the way I love to eat it.”

Buultjens works better hours these days, opening shop at five in the evening and closing up at midnight after a hard day grilling and frying up a meat storm singlehandedly.

“Everything on the menu except for the pizzas are recipes I learned from my grandmother and aunt who were known as the best cooks in the whole family. So as a kid, I would hang around the kitchen whenever they cooked and they gave me an education of sorts in cooking.”

I couldn’t wait to try it out and found myself ordering the half rack of barbecued pork ribs, the crumb fried beef chop and the highly recommended raspberry, chocolate and cream cheese topped dessert pizza aptly named ‘Baby girl’s sweetest thing’.

Just standing in the kitchen watching Buultjens at work grilling and frying up my order was a lesson in patience and self control. The heavenly smell of marinated meat on a grill, being generously brushed with the Buultjens family’s special spicy barbecue sauce made me hungrier by the minute.

Buultjens business model is a very simple one as he explained: “I just want to do something that no one else has done before because I don’t see the point in following someone else. My idea is to make my food affordable to anyone and give them a proper serving for their money. Every meat dish I serve weighs in at about 500 grams of meat and this guarantees that my customers don’t leave my restaurant unfulfilled.”

With my order done, I first tucked into the pork ribs with a vengeance – six inches of meaty ribs served with coleslaw and mash that turned out to be perfectly done, the meat pink and juicy on the inside and not the usual tough, stringy, nearly fossilised ribs I’ve had elsewhere, and I knew I’d picked a winner.

The crumb fried beef chop was next, a huge chunk of beef, tender meat with a crispy outer covering of breadcrumbs and served with a helping of coleslaw and mash. I was fit to burst by the end of it and thoroughly satisfied.

My next challenge was what Buultjens claimed was a hot favourite among the ladies – the ‘Baby girl’s sweetest thing’ dessert pizza. Nine inches of fresh raspberries, chocolate, cream cheese and strawberry glaze on hand-rolled pizza dough and served cold, which no single person I know could ever finish by themselves. My verdict after two slices – decadent and scrumptious!  

All in all a very fulfilling and albeit excessive meal on my part but Backyard BBQ is definitely a place I’d drop by again whenever in the vicinity. A menu with an extensive choice, big portions and most importantly value for my money, make Mount Lavinia’s new addition a big hit in my book.


Pix by Lasantha Kumara