A kitchen of many an aroma and taste

By Natasha Fernandopulle

A group of friends, calling themselves “foodies”, sit down to have a meal prepared by their friend, who happens to be an excellent cook. While savouring their food, they realise the potential in this idea – that of preparing the food they enjoy eating, for others to enjoy. And so it was that Urban Kitchen was born and is today enjoying steady success.

Situated where the former Arpico Supercentre food court in Hyde Park used to be, the whole area has been re-done to create a very chic and modern atmosphere. The setting is what really catches your eye with white tiled floors and luminous decor as well as egg shell shaped lounge chairs by the coffee bar, which serves some of the best coffee in town.

And if you hear the sounds of the bustling kitchen as you walk past and are curious to see what this place has to offer, you are not likely to be disappointed. The sound and the aroma of the food being prepared by the chefs in the open kitchen in a hygienic environment, prepares you for the pleasurable experience that awaits.

Urban Kitchen combines elements of the food court and restaurant, and serves a large variety of dishes from Western, Middle Eastern, Asian to Sri Lankan (served only for dinner) as well as offering a kids’ menu. Special tie-ups with restaurants have added value, such as pizzas from Regina Margherita prepared in a wood-fire oven using cinnamon wood.

The Laksa seafood and the char kway teow are hits among their customers, says Jerome Labrooy, Director, Urban Kitchen. And among the Asian dishes, the Peking style roast duck with Hoi Sin sauce is definitely worth a try. However, if it is a good old Lankan meal you would like – Sri Lankan food is only served for dinner - there are a number of curries to give you a wide choice.

Considering that it is Wi-Fi enabled, and given its location, lunchtimes are always busy at Urban Kitchen but you have the option of having something on the express menu that is either Sri Lankan or Chinese.
Sri Lanka food aside, everything is available for lunch and dinner and having tasted a variety of dish es what strikes one is that the flavours of each vegetable or meat are very distinctive. Jerome Labrooy who has been in the industry for three decades puts it down to the use of fresh ingredients, most being locally produced. He also assures his customers that no MSG (monosodium glutamate) or preservatives are used to enhance the flavours of the dishes.

“We prepare foods from different parts of the world using around 95% local produce,” Mr. Labrooy says. “We tweak it a bit and we make it ours.” He goes on to explain that they keep the food traditional using simple ingredients making sure the meals are balanced. “ If you love your vegetables I would suggest trying out the roasted vegetable salad with balsamico and parmesan cheese.”

The chicken schnitzel with mushroom sauce as well as the battered whiting with tartar sauce are interesting options, if you are in the mood to try something Western. However if you love Middle Eastern food, you might want to go for the lamb shawarma or even some of their various Mezze preparations.
The aromatic pizzas aside there are a number of Italian dishes on the menu which include the well-loved risotto as well as gnocchi or even spaghetti which can be found in a number of preparations.
Vegetarians need not fear as each category has a number of vegetarian dishes to choose from.

And now to the delicious desserts – Take your pick from the mud cake to the blueberry pie or even the chocolate cinnamon torte, just to name a few. The latter, for this reviewer, was quite unforgettable.
“You don’t feel weighed down after a meal here because the food is simple,” Mr. Labrooy says.

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