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The Best Of Hong Kong
Lifestyle News
By Leanne Mirandilla | December 16th, 2018
  • Restaurant
  • Central, HK Island, SoHo
  • Address: G/F,31 Elgin Street,Soho, Central
  • Website: https://www.facebook.com/hotalcolombo/
  • Open Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, Dinner
  • Capacity: 40
  • Open Since: November 30th, 2018
  • Phone: 2488-8863
  • Rating: 3.5
  • Cuisine: Asian
  • Ambience: Casual

Sri Lankan Comforts: Six years ago, Black Sheep Restaurants founders Christopher Mark and Syed Asim would sit together enjoying chef Gisela Alesbrook’s Sri Lankan food, discussing how, one day, they’d open a Sri Lankan restaurant together. That dream cumulates in Hotal Colombo, the group’s newest offering in happening Soho.

Look & Feel: The restaurant’s name reflects the tendency in Sri Lanka to grant casual canteens hotel-like names. Its interiors take inspiration from local eateries, too. Since these canteens are usually found in the back rooms of bodegas or grocery shops, the restaurant’s facade is a colorful grocery shop display. Stepping inside, however, reveals a fun, retro palette of pastels. Seating is casual, with a soundtrack of baila tunes — a Sri Lankan dance music genre — blasting from the speakers.

On the Menu: The menu is short but sweet, divvied up into snacks and “short eats”, kothu, hoppers, dosa and kari, and an array of accompanying chutneys and sides. Hoppers, a Sri Lankan breakfast staple, are bowl-shaped pancakes served with sambol and broth for dipping, while kothu is a mix of roti, vegetables, and meat. The kari — curry — is lighter than Indian curry thanks to the use of coconut milk. The food is accompanied by a cocktail menu inspired by Sri Lankan fruits and flavors, as well as a selection of wines.

Hotal Colombo
Hotal Colombo

Jeng: The fish kari ($108) is delish without being heavy, while the chicken kothu ($98) presents a memorable blend of flavors. The bone marrow varuval with pol roti ($108) — a grilled flatbread made with wholewheat flour and coconut — is a firm favorite among diners so far. The Colombo G&T ($98) was a refreshing break from the spice with its cool cucumber taste.

Not So Jeng: The narrow interiors definitely begin feeling a little cramped when the restaurant is running a full house, especially with so many restaurant staff milling about. But then this is Soho we’re talking about.

Meet the Chef: Head chef Gisela Alesbrook is a Sri Lankan native and specializes in Sri Lankan fare. She’s worked through the gamut of Black Sheep Restaurants’ offerings during her time with the company, starting at Boqueria and doing stints in Chôm Chôm and Maison Libanaise before landing at Hotal Colombo.

Great For: Drinks and sharing plates with a small group of friends. Oh, and spicy food fans, for sure.

FYI: Diners are presented with a bowl of warm water to clean their hands in after their meal — just like in canteens in Sri Lanka.

Check out Hong Kong’s newest restaurants and bars here.

This writeup was based on a complimentary media tasting. The Loop HK doesn’t guarantee/sell restaurant review coverage. See our editorial policy here.