Published 19 June 2022
This October, the Sri Lankan chef Cynthia Shanmugalingam will open her debut restaurant, Rambutan, in Borough Market. Heavily inspired by Cynthia’s Tamil roots and her time exploring and cooking in her homeland, the 60-cover, two-storey restaurant will focus on regional dishes typically found in the north of the country, designed in the post-colonial style of Sri Lanka’s most famous female architect, Minnette de Silva.
Cynthia will use produce sourced from the market, pork from regenerative farmers at Gothelney Farm in Somerset, mutton from Philip Warren in Cornwall, and grains from Sri Lanka. A daily changing menu will feature street food snacks from Jaffna, including spicy fish buns and mutton rolls, while larger dishes will include lamb chops, crab fried rice, and grilled mackerel with turmeric and tamarind. There will be curries, hoppers and rotis too.
Cynthia said: ‘London’s Sri Lankan diaspora is doing amazing things in music, fashion and art right now, and I hope that with Rambutan, I can add food to that list. It’s really exciting to draw on our ancient heritage, but also to create dishes that are entirely new. I believe I’m the first British-Sri Lankan female chef to open a restaurant in central London and I’m just thrilled to be able to represent the extraordinary creativity and warm hospitality of all the Sri Lankan women who taught me how to cook.’
Rambutan will open in October. Until then, a summer pop-up, ‘Rambutan Ice’, is ongoing, with a soft serve collaboration with Soft ’n’ Swirly. Flavours include kithul nuts with jaggery, alphonso mango with coconut and toasted rice, and Ceylon tea with Milo and banana.