Botanik Takes You on an Epicurean Journey Through the Senses
Botanik Bistro Bar, Colombo’s favourite rooftop is experiencing a metamorphosis. Set amidst the bustling business, entertainment and shopping districts of Colombo, this dynamic establishment is known for the flair in which it lovingly curates local flavours with global techniques.
First, a little backstory. Whilst the hospitality industry reeled from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the economic crisis of 2022; the team behind Botanik set out to achieve the next level of their epicurean journey amidst these challenges. Fuelled by their sheer passion, persistence and a welcome recognition from Asia’s 50 Best Bars (they were placed #73 in 2021), the team brainstormed new ways to delight us with innovative experiences to tease our taste buds and satisfy our souls.
Having thrived in the local food and beverage scene for nearly five years, the team led by owner Dmitri Jayasuriya felt it was time to shake things up while still staying true to their ethos. And that was the start of their metamorphosis; a multi-sensory experience with a focus on nothing but the holy grail of the culinary world: Taste.
Guests were invited to be a part of this new and exciting transformation with a 12 course tasting menu aptly titled Raw & Burnt, owing to the emphasis placed on local, seasonal ingredients using the most natural form of cooking techniques. Seasonal, tropical ingredients are given a gastronomic makeover by Executive Chef Wishmalak Perera and whipped into intriguing flavours with techniques like curing, pickling, fermenting, and roasting on open fire. No menu is complete without some boozy beverages and the boys at Botanik know this better than anyone – thoughtfully paired wines and cocktails made from local spirits such as Ceylon Arrack and Colombo Gin accompanied every dish.
And the icing on the proverbial cake? Each course was served in a relaxed, intimate setting with a playlist to compliment the culinary experience and transport you right where the main ingredients were sourced from, curated by Resident DJ and Botanik’s Head of Marketing, Clifford Issac. Take for instance, the second course; parrot fish, a tropical delicacy sourced from Hikkaduwa, a sleepy seaside town just outside Colombo, was perfectly cured using narang, local oranges found on the island and served with a light, refreshing citrus, radish and pea puree. The dish was brought out to guests on the sounds of lapping waves reminiscent of the coastal town where it was fished.
Every bite was packed with flavour and just as you’re wondering what’s next, you are alerted to a subtle shift in ambience as the music evolves and borrows from hill country sounds interspersed with the harmonious blare of a train horn - buckle up, we’re heading to the South for a taste of Tuna Ambul-Thiyal with puffed coconut rice crisps, garlic gel and smoked sour plum.
Similarly, every course on this tasting menu reflected the diversity of Sri Lanka and the abundance of vibrant ingredients available locally. From trekking to Puttalam in search of quail to procuring single source cinnamon from a local estate near Hikkaduwa, Botanik’s F&B team focused on integrating our culinary heritage and sustainably sourcing the very best of what our sunny island has to offer. The end goal for Team Botanik is always to deliver culinary experiences that meet and often exceed customer expectations and showcase what a small island like Sri Lanka can offer the world.
Session 4 of Raw & Burnt is all set to take place on 25th March 2023, featuring an exciting tasting menu which will take you on another trip around Sri Lanka to source respective hero ingredients in each plate, following a cocktail and wine pairing menu from Rockland Distilleries. This excellent culinary experience should tide you over until the team is ready to reveal the next phase in their metamorphosis which is just around the corner.