The Good Market and Cafe Kumbuk were two entrants into Colombo’s dining scene that really made a stir with their focus on healthy food. With Lifefood moving out of the Good Market shop, Cafe Kumbuk has stepped into the space for an interesting partnership in healthy eating.
The place hasn’t changed in two years. White walls, wood panelling and very airy. The shelves still stock the best of Good Market’s fresh produce and packaged goods. Everything from bottled chutneys to chillies to lotions. The freezers will give you Carino ice creams, Cherine’s fresh juices, Nai Miris sauce, cheeses and other cold-storage healthy foods. The “cafe” itself is the counter and cooking area at the far end of the building. Patrons get seating outside, four to a table, under giant canopy umbrellas or tables for two along the wall of the building. As long as the wind doesn’t shift the umbrellas around (it does), you can actually have a very relaxed and chilled time. Lakpahana is surprisingly quiet for a tourist spot.
Cafe Kumbuk wasted no time in establishing their identity. The cutlery changed and the signature chalkboard menu made its appearance. That said, not all of Cafe Kumbuk’s menu made the journey from Horton Place. Kumbuk Kitchen deals mainly in vegan and vegetarian items with only a few crossing the line into carnivorous territory.
Honestly, as someone who is very VERY far from vegetarian, let alone vegan, much of the menu didn’t excite me on first glance. But going on some recommendations from friends I gave a couple of them a try; the Peanut Butter Granola Bowl (Rs. 500) from the “Bowls” section and the Avo Toast (Rs. 700) from the “Between Breads” section.
Granola isn’t the tastiest thing in the world but Kumbuk’s Kitchen made something very very edible out of it. This is a generous serving of granola thoroughly mixed with peanut butter with some banana and strawberry chunks tossed in as well. The fruits being fresh was a major plus point. Soggy overripe fruits would have totally killed the dish, but this was tasty and wonderful.
The real genius move was the peanut butter. Every bit of granola was coated in it, and this made every spoonful a real delight. The taste of granola and peanut butter combined and complemented each other really well. The warm coconut milk added a nice sweet and sour tinge to it. If you like granola, you’ll love this, and if you don’t you just might change your mind.
The Avo toast was a great choice as well. This is smashed avocado on turmeric bread, a new and delicious concept to me. The fresh avocado went really well with the turmeric bread and the green and yellow was a treat to the eyes as well. This also comes with spinach, cherry tomato, onion and coriander. All of which was fresh enough to be crunchy with every bite.
The poached egg could have used a bit of seasoning but it was cooked perfectly. What they failed to mention were the little pieces of red nai miris scattered all over the dish. Biting into just one sent my friend panting like a St. Bernard in the tropical sun. So just be warned. Otherwise. this was quite delicious, although it did leave you wanting at least a couple of slices more.
What you see in the picture is a fresh king coconut water with lime, which honestly is a bit absurd for Rs.150 when you can get king coconut on the street for around Rs. 70. However, the Ceylon Punch was great, worth the price and very refreshing. For Rs. 300 you get a nice combo of narang, coconut water, lime juice, sea salt and mint. You could hardly taste the mint and the coconut water only barely, but the classic narang and sea salt combo pulled it through.
Cafe Kumbuk’s new second outlet may be partially vegan, but they’ve done it pretty well. So if you like healthy eating, you’ll have a good time here.