Bringing vibrant Sri Lankan cuisine to the Inner West, this social enterprise hopes to help asylum seekers find their feet in Australia.
The dining table. It’s a place to gather, a place to connect and a place to share with those around us. For Sydneysiders, dining out is something we’re all too familiar with. In fact, nabbing a seat at the table of a new restaurant is something most of us are probably planning to do this weekend. But, for some of Sydney’s newest residents, finding their seat at the table can be a difficult and isolating experience.
But one new Enmore eatery is about to change just that. Meet Colombo Social, the new restaurant now open in the heart of Enmore Road. Founded by Australian born Sri Lankan Shaun Christie-David, Colombo Social is an innovative venture looking to support Sri Lankan asylum seekers through employment, training, and integration into the local community. So, how are they planning to make a difference?
The eatery will be actively recruiting asylum seekers, providing ongoing training and support to assist them through this tough period of transition. The venue’s ethos is all about inclusivity and embracing the richness that diversity brings. For Shaun, this is an issue he’s experienced first-hand. “Growing up as an Australian-born Sri Lankan, I remember being embarrassed by the dhal sandwiches my mum packed in my lunchbox and feeling different,” Shaun reveals. “Colombo Social is about embracing all backgrounds in a venue that celebrates the community-driven nature of Sri Lankan cuisine.”
Led by Sri Lankan-native Executive Chef Chamara Pathiranage, the menu is set to be a celebration of bold flavours and colours. Each dish will pay homage to traditional Sri Lankan dishes, reimagined with playful nods to western favourites. You’ll find modern fusions including Soft Shell Crab Roti Tacos alongside classics share plates such as Kothu Roti, Deviled Potatoes and their house-made vegetable curry. As for drinks, expect a vibrant cocktail list with refreshing mixes to complement the spice-driven dishes. Signature drinks include The Invisible Mango Lassi, a clarified milk punch featuring Ceylon Arrack, Sri Lankan tea, mango, and citrus.
Colombo Social is looking to extend its inclusive ethos by partnering with social enterprises and non-for-profit suppliers at every step of their supply chain. They’ve already teamed up with Settlement Services International, a refugee support agency that’s assisted over 4,200 refugees last year alone in the early stages of their settlement journey. As the venue grows, they hope to continue giving back to the plethora of talented, hard-working individuals who now call Australia home.
Colombo Social is open now at 159 Enmore Road. To stay up to date with the latest news from the venue, click here.
If you like the sound of this newest opening, you’re going to love this eclectic Inner West restaurant, Hearth & Soul.
Top image: Papaya