Hotal Colombo Opens, Bringing Sri Lankan Cuisine To Soho


November 30, 2018 | BY Wilson Fok

Black Sheep Restaurants’ second opening of the season takes a stab at Sri Lankan cuisine

As Artemis & Apollo warms up the Star Street precinct, Black Sheep Restaurants is returning to Soho with yet another new opening. Hotal Colombo, the restaurant group’s first Sri Lankan restaurant, is opening on Elgin Street this month.  
Celebrating the colourful, vibrant food culture of Sri Lanka, where casual eateries flourish on the streets all over Colombo, Hotal Colombo mimics the roadside eateries frequented by locals, offering snacks, quick bites, and a gathering place to unwind throughout the day. The name ‘hotal’ is a wordplay on ‘hotel’; though the venue clearly does not offer rooms for boarding, it represents the palatial names locals in Sri Lanka give to canteens favoured by many. 

This quirkiness is also reflected in the tropical dining space, where pastel blue and pink brighten up the narrow strip of a dining establishment. Head chef Gisela Alesbrook, a Sri Lankan native, takes the helm of the kitchen of this 40-seat restaurant, with passion and fondness to share the cuisine of her homeland. Guests can sample a variety of “short eats” such as bone marrow varuval with pol roti and beef chilli fry, as well as crispy bowl-shaped pancakes named hoppers, served alongside a selection of kari (curry) such as the establishment’s signature fish kari, also great accompanied by masala dosa and yellow rice, as well as pol sambol, a coconut-based chutney. 
Hotal Colombo’s cocktail selection makes use of the abundance of South Asia’s tropical fruits, blending them with unique liquors (such as Ceylon arrack, a liquor similar to whisky that is made from the coconut sap) to create concoctions such as Ranatunga Peacock, as well as Bloody Mirissa, a twist on the classic Bloody Mary flavoured with lime and Sri Lankan chutney.  
Guests can indulge in a tropical feast with a sunny soundtrack of Baila, a dance music genre native to Sri Lanka with Portuguese influences. Hotal Colombo is now open for dinner from Tuesdays to Sundays for walk-ins only. 
Hotal Colombo, G/F, 31 Elgin Street, Soho, Central, Hong Kong; +852 2488 8863 

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