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Shoulders by Harpos: Elevating Colombo’s Culinary Scene with Greek-Inspired Innovation

2 March 2024 12:00 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Colombo, a city known for its diverse and flavorful culinary offerings, welcomed a unique addition to its vibrant food scene, Shoulders by Harpos. Nestled in the Havelock City Mall, this cozy eatery is breaking new ground by introducing Greek-inspired cuisine with a contemporary twist. In an exclusive interview with the culinary mastermind behind Shoulders, Shehan Setunga (AKA, Juppè), we delve into the origins, inspirations, and the innovative approach that sets this restaurant apart.

Shehan Setunga's Culinary Journey:

The story behind Shoulders begins with Shehan Setunga, whose culinary journey traces back to his childhood spent in his grandmother's kitchen. Influenced by her homegrown produce and traditional cooking methods, Setunga's passion for food led him to pursue culinary education in Malaysia and Australia. Notably, his time working with George Calombaris of MasterChef Australia fame shaped his approach to cooking, inspiring him to bring his knowledge back to Sri Lanka.

The Birth of Shoulders by Harpos:

Setunga, in partnership with renowned Lankan restaurateur Harpo Gooneratne, Harpo's daughter Asherah, and her husband Shehan Gomez, opened Shoulders as a testament to innovation and collaboration. The name reflects the restaurant's intimate ambiance, encouraging patrons to dine shoulder to shoulder, fostering warmth and camaraderie.

Shoulders' menu is a fusion of Greek inspiration with Sri Lankan twists, creating a carefully-curated blend of flavors, textures, and cultural influences. Notably, 90% of the ingredients used are locally sourced, showcasing the commitment to supporting the local culinary landscape. Signature dishes, such as slow-cooked lamb shoulder and flaming saganaki cheese, exemplify the inventive approach to Greek cuisine.

Setunga emphasizes the importance of regular menu refreshing, allowing room for experimentation and improvement. The response from patrons has been overwhelmingly positive, with a significant number of repeat customers eager to explore new dishes and savor their favorites. The mixologist duo collaborates seamlessly to craft an array of delightful drinks, contributing to the overall fresh and engaging experience.

While Shoulders focuses on Greek-inspired innovation, Setunga expresses a broader vision to modernize Sri Lankan cuisine. He challenges the notion that innovation contradicts cultural authenticity, believing that embracing change can add to cultural richness. Setunga envisions a future where Sri Lankan cuisine takes its place on the global culinary stage, drawing parallels to other evolved cuisines like Greek, Thai, French, and Italian.

Shoulders by Harpos emerges as a beacon of culinary innovation in Colombo, pushing boundaries and offering a unique gastronomic experience. Shehan Setunga's commitment to modernizing Sri Lankan cuisine reflects a broader vision to inspire young chefs and redefine the future of the island's culinary narrative. As Shoulders continues to captivate the taste buds of its patrons, it paves the way for a dynamic evolution in Colombo's restaurant space, leaving an indelible mark on the city's gastronomic landscape.

 

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