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Colombo Social

A Sri Lankan restaurant with lassi cocktails and roti 'tacos' that supports asylum seekers.
By Libby Curran
December 04, 2019
By Libby Curran
December 04, 2019

When it comes to venturing out for a tasty feed, you don't have to ask us twice. And when that meal just happens to be raising funds for an excellent cause as well? Well, there are wins all round — which is the idea behind Enmore's newest culinary addition.

There'll be plenty of winners at Colombo Social, which opened on Enmore Road. As a social enterprise eatery, it's lending a big helping hand to Sri Lankan asylum seekers and refugees, assisting them by providing employment opportunities and supporting their integration into Australia.

The restaurant is the brainchild of Australian-born Sri Lankan Shaun Christie-David, who has teamed up with friend and hospitality veteran Peter Jones-Best. Inspired by Christie-David's own experiences feeling like an outsider during his childhood, the venue will recruit and train asylum seekers and refugees, as well as offering ongoing support through what's often a pretty rough transition period. Colombo Social is working with refugee support agency Settlement Services International — and not-for-profit suppliers.

A meal here won't just help out folks doing it tough, though — it'll also open diner's tastebuds to a whole world of new flavours. In celebrating diversity, Colombo Social is dishing up a bold, colourful menu, melding authentic Sri Lankan flavours with clever tweaks and a bit of modern Australian fusion flair.

You'll see that in Colombo-born Head Chef Chamara Pathiranage's menu — like the rich lamb bone marrow roll, the chilli mango-glazed fried chicken and a Sri Lankan-style 'snack pack' with devilled potatoes, pulled lamb and curry gravy. You also won't want to miss street snack staple kottu (chopped) roti, or the roti 'tacos' which come loaded with spiced soft-shell crab, mango salsa and fried curry leaves.

A range of cooling cocktails rounds out the fun, with sips like the Invisible Mango Lassi – a milk punch concoction fusing Ceylon Arrack (a traditional Sri Lankan spirit), with custard, Sri Lankan tea and mango.

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