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Recently, we dined at Park Street Mews,a new bistro style restaurant with a lounge and dining space, on Park Street in Colombo 2. (Legally, new restaurants can only open in streets named Park).
From the outside, it looks just like a sidewalk cafe abroad which I loved. Sri Lanka, with its nice nighttime weather, should be full of these. Inside, the space which looks like a converted warehouse is huge. The decor is an odd mix of polished cement floors, exposed brick walls, leather sofas in multiple colours, a multitude of lamps, steel and glass fronted display cases and wood carvings. If this smorgasbord of styles is insufficient, there is a private dining area which is positively Pollockian.
They don't yet have a liquor license so you can bring your own. There's no corkage but your bill has to be at least LKR 2000. At dinner, at least, this is not difficult. Appetisers and soups are around LKR 500, mains go from LKR 850 all the way to LKR 1900.
We had the grilled fillet of local beef (LKR 950), the rack of imported lamb (LKR 1900), the pork loin (LKR 850) and the prawns (god knows). The beef and prawn dishes were good but basic while the lamb was a little dry and the pork a little too sweet.
When we asked about the prices, we were told that they could not sell it any cheaper because the ingredients were so expensive. I would like to divert here for a rant.
Sri Lankan restaurant menus depend too much on basic dishes prepared with expensive imported ingredients. If cuisine has become enough of a priority in our lives that we pay USD 10-20 for an entree, shouldn't our restauranteurs reward us with more innovative approaches? How is the rack of lamb at Number 18 any different from those at 1864 or Mews?
Restaurants abroad are more concerned with fresh, local ingredients that are prepared and sauced spectacularly. There, we pay not for ingredients but technique on the plate. Here, there seems to be little to none of that even though our labour costs are much lower.
I believe this is because our restauranteurs seem to devote more money, time and thought to interior design than cuisine design, which needs as much, if not more, creativity and passion. My brother, a chef from the US, was here for just a few months and did an eight course tasting menu for us with ingredients from Colpetty market that put most restaurants here to shame. Someone like Pradeep Jeganathan could be easily consulted in creating such innovative recipes with local ingredients.
Thankfully, the Park Street Mews has menus printed on paper and plans to update them monthly. The next time I visit - and I will: the restaurant is located just right for business lunches/dinners - I hope this spectacular space can have food that matches its design ambitions.
Restaurant: The Park Street Mews
Address: Park Street, Colombo 2
Phone:(011 if calling from a cellphone) 2300133
More Photos: Park Street Mews on Picasaweb