Returning to roots

Saturday, 2 October 2010 00:28 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Cassandra Mascarenhas

Looking to make a difference on World Tourism Day earlier this week and promote Sri Lankan tourism through cuisine, the Ceylon Continental Hotel unveiled a mind-boggling buffet consisting of nearly 200 authentic Sri Lankan dishes.

The management had stopped at nothing to make the whole experience wholly Sri Lankan and has looked into every painstaking detail. Beautifully complemented by the interior décor all done by the hotel staff themselves, the buffet was indeed 100% Sri Lankan with even the liquor used in the 20 signature cocktails which were interestingly made mostly from indigenous fruit all sourced locally.

Although the hotel has promoted Sri Lankan cuisine on a smaller scale by having a special Sri Lankan food corner at their international lunch buffet, they now hope to diversify in terms of offerings and dishes.

The scrumptious spread was the truly satisfying result of the hard work put in by nearly a dozen chefs headed by Chefs Ranjith, Vincent and Suresh all of whom made a difference and added their own personal touch to the buffet by including several original dishes of their own creation.

Patrons both Sri Lankan and foreign were absolutely astounded by the variety and diversity of the buffet starting with the soups and salad bar, the soups accompanied by platters of what is known as ‘roast pang’ as well as the usual little buns.

The biggest problem with the main course was how one could sample all the dishes available – along with three different types of rice alone there was also red and white string hoppers, pittu, rotti and four different varieties of hoppers. The most interesting from all these had to be Chef Suresh’s invention which he called the herbal hopper which looks just like a normal hopper only in a shade of light green, a result of the herbs added to the mix.

Also included in the main course were dozens of vegetable dishes, interesting combinations of curries, chicken, meats and an amazing spread of seafood which served fresh as it was made right there at one of the many action stations.

Finally came what in my opinion is the best part of any meal, the desserts where once again the chefs had done themselves proud. Piles of traditional Sri Lankan sweets and sweetmeats and platters of fresh fruit lay tantalizingly in a corner, tempting the already stuffed patrons to taste the delicious delicacies. One of the best offerings had to be Chef Ranjith’s innovative dish, the ‘pol’ pancake which consisted of rolls of pancake filled with sweet coconut, then coated dessicated coconut and sesame seeds and fried right there at yet another action station and served topped with treacle and chopped cashew nuts – a heavenly dessert indeed and a great hit with all the patrons.

The buffet which was opened on September 27 will go on until October 3 and is very reasonably priced at Rs.1000 per head.