In many ways Sri Lanka is where the Pavilions story started. Using Cornwall as a base to earn money and travel the world, owner Rob Green set off for Sri Lanka in 2004. Befriending an organic tea grower while travelling around the island, Rob earned himself a loan of Orange Pekoe tea to sell back in the UK. A tea stall was opened on London’s artisanal food market in Borough, contacts were made, a cafe was opened in a park and the rest you probably know.
Like any great story, its starts with people. The warmth Rob received in Sri Lanka really rubbed off, before long (and very early on in the Pavilion Cafe’s history), the kitchen was for the most part staffed by Sri Lankans, all trained in-house after starting off as kitchen porters. The occasional dahl was made for a staff meal, there really was a sense we were missing a trick.
Our breakfast features the Sri Lanka breakfast staple of string hoppers (Iddyappam) a type of rice noodle and coconut sambol, a mixture of freshly grated coconut, fried onion, chilli flakes and lime. Reflective of the many different vegetable curries found in Sri Lanka, our chefs adapt weekly to the changes in the growing patterns of English farms to create a seasonal veg curry. Add a bowl of lentil dahl with Sri Lankan spices such as fenugreek and top it off with a hand made roti bread, and you’ve got it – the Pavilion Sri Lankan breakfast.
The Sri Lankan influence has permeated throughout our business . There’s also a twist on the old(ish) East London mainstay avocado on toast, served with our hand-made coconut sambol in the park. If you can’t make it to the park then we serve plenty of dahl with sambol and roti for lunch at our Columbia Road and Broadway Market bakery shops.
The story of the Sri Lankan breakfast continues, it’s been five years now and its popularity continues to grow. We’d like to think its success is its story, the people, the ingredients, the love. Come join the story.