The best ingredients and culinary traditions from the four corners of Sri Lanka culminate at the Black Pepper. The latest dining experience at one of Colombo’s trendiest hangout spots indicates that there is nothing quite like our Island fare.
Words Keshini de Silva
Walking past the amber surroundings of the Dutch Hospital Precinct, one encounters the colonial façade that is home to the elegant Black Pepper restaurant. A honey-coloured crab claw waves passers-by to a stop and leads them to the elegant restaurant perfumed by the aroma of our Island spices. This logo is symbolic of the two reigning ingredients; Sri Lankan Black Pepper and Crab.
The black and white interior of this restaurant complements the mouthwatering and richly coloured dishes, that are undoubtedly the star here. Pencil sketches that adorn the walls confirm that the Sri Lankan Black Pepper is the reigning spice. At night, the interior twinkles witha pale yellow glow, that shines with the promise of exciting gastronomy. The pulsating rhythms of jazz that soothe the soul sets the perfect atmosphere for joyous chatter while candles add a touch of romance to the experience.
Lounging in comfort, diners can glance down at the bustling cobbled streets or watch the hot action at the open kitchen from their seats. On weekends, the setting is sprightlier with live music echoing from the high gallery on the mezzanine level. The cosy private dining area on the mezzanine floor is ideal for a family dinner or even a business lunch.
The distinctive multi-cuisine concept behind Black Pepper is the brainchild of Dr Earl Gunesekara, Chairman of the Earl’s Court Group.His desire was to showcase the best of the Island’s flavours through the fusion of rich culinary traditions and endemic ingredients. Thus, by combining Sri Lankan black pepper with the Island’s crab, the kitchen prepares the restaurant’s signature Black Pepper Crab.
Going further to showcase our truly traditional tangs, Black Pepper brings to the table the best flavours from the four corners of Sri Lanka. Therefore, the Jaffna Crab Curry aptly represents the North, the Negombo Clay Pot Prawn Curry conjures images of the Western coast, their Tangalle Seer Fish Head Curry embodies the flavours of the South and of course their traditional Batticaloa Mutton Curry is the culinary symbol of the East. South East Asian influences such as the Garlic Butter Prawns Cantonese style and Singapore style Chilli Crab add a diverse twist to the menu. The dishes are lip-smacking delights that cater to various palates; a realisation of Dr Gunesekara’s unique restaurant concept.
At Black Pepper, diners have complete authority over their meals. Diners can select their preferred side dishes, carbs, spicy sauces and even classic condiments to accompany the seafood and meat curries. Of course, staff are always on hand to render you their recommendations. A complementing wine degustation and beverage list is also available.
Your love affair with the sweeter tastes in life will surely continue with great gusto, as the restaurant serves Sri Lankan dessert favourites such as Watalappan that will ensure diners end their dining experience on a high.
Once the tables are laden with steaming clay pots and dishes plated with great finesse, it is time to don your apron on, grab your cutlery and indulge… As you progress through the meal, one thing will be certain, at Black Pepper you can experience Sri Lanka on a plate!