Friday, 1 August 2014 00:00
By Sarah Hannan
Since the beginning of July, Harpos restaurants have rolled out the Summerlicious promotion in all six locations and last week I got the opportunity to try out the Summerlicious menu at Colombo Fort Café (CFC) located at the Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct.
Walking into the restaurant, the interior features earthy tones setting a relaxed atmosphere for diners and has alfresco seating apart from the seating setup inside. The restaurant is filled with the aroma of the food and the open style kitchen allows you to have a glimpse of your food being prepared. The menu offers a fusion of Euro-Med fare with a new twist on the flavours.
Commenting on the Summer’licious promotion, Harpo’s Hotels, Restaurants and Cafés Managing Director Harpo Gooneratne said: “Being summer, many travel from overseas to visit family and there are holidaymakers who are visiting Sri Lanka as well. The Summer’licious promotion is all about using fresh ingredients to make good food and drinks, good music and sending happy vibes for all to enjoy. The menus are doing very well at all the venues and to make it more interesting we are refreshing the menus every two weeks.”
While I was getting an overall update about the promotion, Colombo Fort Café Director Operations Alec van Cuylenburg joined in conversation and Harpo suggested that I direct all food-related questions to Alec.
“We are introducing a new menu for the promotion on 4 August. Apart from the items featured for Summer’licious promotion, we have also added new tapas to our menu. The promotion will continue till the end of August. All the items on the menu are prepared from fresh ingredients, from the sauces to the burgers. We bake our own bread and try to grow most of the ingredients from vegetables and spices to fruits,” Alec stated.
Since it was a warm day I wanted to try out the ‘Mexican Strawberry Water’ to quench my thirst. The beverage is supposed to be a popular drink in Mexico and is made of freshly-blended strawberries and lime juice. Alec then presented one of the featured menu items, ‘Ceylon Tacos with Spicy White Salsa Sauce featuring Ambulthiyal Fish’. The Ambulthiyal Fish added a Sri Lankan twist to the tacos, bringing two worlds in one wrap. Being a huge fan of Ambulthiyal, I enjoyed every bite. While I was enjoying the tacos, Alec also se-rved ‘Pinscho Riblets with Spicy Sherry Glaze’. “Most of the time riblets are baked but these riblets are pan-fried. We serve the riblets as tapas and in rack style and if required we can prepare it rack style for a family-sized portion as well,” Alec explained. The riblets were served along with Sriracha sauce and worked as an ideal appetiser and can also complement a mug of chilled beer. It went well with the Mexican Strawberry Water.
Next up was the ‘Big Boy Chicken Burrito with Summer Salad’ and Alec stated that this was an ideal lunch time snack. The Burrito filling was quite wholesome and the Summer Salad again had a hint of Sri Lankan flavour with the added special ingredient of kochchi. The summer salad was prepared with a combination of dry and wet salsa salad.
Having tasted all the featured items on the menu I asked Alec what one dish is heavily ordered at CFC. “Our Simple Prawn Curry is one dish that is ordered the most. We call it ‘curry in a hurry’ as the dish only takes 10 minutes to prepare and is accompanied with a fried egg and pol sambol,” he said, insisting that I try it out.
Two types of prawn are used to prepare the curry; the regular prawn and banana prawn. According to Alec, the banana prawn is similar to the tiger prawn but has more meat. The curry was very thick and well-flavoured and Alec said that they use curd and fish broth to thicken it. Dry coconut is also added for flavour. I tasted the dish with a slice of bread baked at the café. Alec added that the Simple Prawn Curry is ordered along with lamprais and picked up to be sent abroad.
By this time I was really full but with my sweet tooth I could not resist the chance to try out the dessert. While I settled for the Tiramisu, my dining partner opted for the Blueberry Cheesecake. The dessert portions were very generous and the Tiramisu had the correct proportions of whipped mixture and sponge cake dipped in coffee.
The Summer’licious promotion will be on till 31 August and the featured menus are as follows:
21 July-3 August: Ceylon Tacos with Spicy White Salsa Sauce feat. Ambulthiyal Fish, Big Boy Chicken Burrito with Summer Salad and Mexican Strawberry Water/ Passion Fruit Vodkarita
4-17 August: Beef Pinwheels with Arugula Salad, Seared Curried Scallops with Zucchini and Homemade Mint Ginger Beer.
18-31 August: Summer Salmon Cakes with Zucchini Fennel Slaw, Grilled Seer with Orange Fennel Salad and Homemade Pink Summer Beer.
Colombo Fort Café is open throughout the week operating from Sunday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12 midnight. For more information visit http://www.colombofortcafe.com.