It feels like we are currently going through open heart surgery with our old kitchen completely gone. Unfortunately, our old mud-built kitchen has had its time. It has given us so many incredible moments and delicious food over the past 14 years making it one of the best places for traditional rice & curry in Sri Lanka. Even though we are starting a new chapter with a new kitchen it is difficult to move on without appreciating the old and don't worry, the curry isn't going anywhere!
Back in 2009, when Nihal first started this project, we didnt have road access so we had to use building materials found on site. One of those materials was clay which was often used to build houses in traditional rural villages. It is not so common nowadays but what Nihal realised was that this is what tourists will love - rural village traditions including buildings. He wasnt wrong!
Clay, which is made out of local mud is an amazing building material. It is much cheaper and more sustainable material than cement and provides a cooler interior. However, it doesnt last very long and after standing strong for 14 years, the kitchen started to fall apart.
Despite our plans to re-do the kitchen in 2019, we were held back by riots, April bombings and then COVID. The last 5 years haven't been great but the good news is that we are finally doing it!
With a new kitchen will also come a new lounge and working space for anyone working remotely. Imagine sitting among the trees, listening to the birds while having a fresh smoothie made from our local fruits and spices that grow in our garden. That is what we are going for - a healthy and peaceful environment surrounded by greenery while being looked after by our local community. Our local cuisine will still be at the heart of our kitchen but we will expand our menu to use more of the beautiful spices and plants that grow around us.
So when will this become a reality? Well, the internet is already sorted so you dont need to look for a cafe in some chaotic city anymore. You can do this right here, in the middle of the jungle. The lounge and the new kitchen will take a few months longer and with the opening set for February, it is more likely to be towards the end of February. But dont worry, the food is still as good as always but for the new menu you might have to wait a little longer.
Here are some photos of our progress so far. Fair to say its coming along nicely!