Hotal Colombo celebrates the colourful, vibrant food and culture of Sri Lanka. A sunny soundtrack of Baila tunes coupled with a cheerful welcome from servers wearing bright tropical shirts whisks diners from lively Elgin Street to a relaxing holiday at the island’s Hikkaduwa beach. A gathering place to kick back and unwind, the everyday canteen is inspired by the egalitarian eateries that spill onto the streets all over Colombo. Often these canteens are called hotels, or hotals (the phonetic spelling of the local pronunciation), despite not offering any rooms for boarding. The vast majority of guests will never stay at what most of us define as a hotel, but at the hotals, everyone is welcome.
Head Chef Gisela Alesbrook, a Sri Lankan native, showcases the underrepresented cuisine with a deep nostalgia and fondness for the food she grew up cooking and eating. At Hotal Colombo, Gisela’s raw talent and local expertise are complemented by the finesse and Michelin-starred experience of Palash Mitra. This formidable combination expresses the inclusive culture of Sri Lanka, where people show their love by feeding others. With an abundance of coconuts, fresh herbs and local chillies, the food is light, fragrant and fiery, true to the generous soul of Colombo.