By Dimithri Wijesinghe
Photos Pradeep Dambarage
On our way back from an impromptu trip to Sigiriya, we came across “Road To Rock shop’ in Café” or “R2R” situated on the road to the Sigiriya Rock Fortress; the name of the restaurant is a double entendre. The place is also very difficult to miss, considering how its modern, more urban structure really pops amongst the greenery and more traditional businesses in its vicinity.
It was established in August 2018, when tourism was at its very peak. Hasantha Jayasuriya, the owner of the establishment, provided: “We had a really good run for about eight months and then the terror attacks happened, and since then, unsurprisingly, things have been difficult.”
He said that his concept for the restaurant is primarily geared toward backpackers and independent travellers, with some specialised coffees and great local teas on offer, accompanied with a diverse shop with Lankan memorabilia and crafted silver jewellery made available.
We simply cannot stress enough how aesthetically pleasing the interior is; its simplistic and spacious design is calming, and lulls you into a sense of relaxation. It’s certainly the ideal place to take a break from a long journey, wind down, and most definitely try a cup of coffee and spend some time.
Unfortunately, according to Hasantha, he had to send the majority of his 25-person staff on holiday. Currently, he is trying his best to play a part in rebuilding the once tourist-heavy industry in and around the Sigiriya-Dambulla area. He said: “We are hopeful that the Government will help us in rebuilding what we once had.”
When we first walked into the restaurant, while the place looked great, we didn’t have the highest of expectations in terms of the food, as we had assumed their chefs may have been on leave due to the slow business environment. However, we were pleasantly surprised when we met Tharindu Kanishka Adikari, a former chef at Cinnamon Grand, with experience of over 14 years.
What we tried
Here’s what we tried at Road to Rock. For a party of three, we ended up consuming a lot of food, and before we get into it, we would like to point that out as a testament to how enjoyable everything was.
Whenever you travel to different parts of Sri Lanka it is a must that you try the rice and curry dish, as it’s always different to the way you are used to – same curry, totally different taste. So we tried the traditional rice and curry on the menu, and it didn’t disappoint.
Being tomato enthusiasts, we chose to try both the tomato soup and pasta arrabiata, both of which were delicious. The tomato soup was especially great with fresh tomatoes blended into a nice creamy texture, and had a soft citrusy flavour; it was a real highlight. The pasta too was soft and balanced perfectly well with the sauce, and the portion was almost ridiculously big.
Additionally, we also tried a cheese omelette and tuna sandwich platter. The sandwich was a little disappointing as the bread was slightly dry. However, the tuna salad was fresh and light. The cheese omelette was probably the cheesiest omelette we’ve ever had; it was bursting with cheese and cooked to perfection.
Suffice to say, if ever we find ourselves headed down the Dambulla-Sigiriya road, we will most definitely make a stop here.
Address: Sigiriya Road, 21124 Inamaluwa
Open 8 AM – 5 PM