Rocco’s has been a prominent restaurant in Sri Lanka, offering Italian cuisine. Ever since it opened on Nawala Road, Rajagiriya, it has been a reliable hotspot for authentic, delicious Italian food, especially their unique range of gourmet wood-fired pizzas.
Several years down the line, having become an industry staple, Rocco’s opened up their second outlet on Gregory’s Road, Colombo 7 little over a year ago. While very much reminiscent of the warm welcoming first outlet, the Gregory’s Road property boasts a lot more space and focuses on dining in.
Before we get into the numerous offerings brought to you courtesy of their Colombo 7 restaurant, let’s get to know the dynamic duo behind Rocco’s’ name, Judy Wikkramatillake and Krishanti Perera.
The two lovely ladies are the primary reason for the longevity the Italian place has enjoyed, touching the hearts of anyone who steps through their doors. Judy and Krishanthi are business-savvy and charismatic, but most of all, they are two lovely Lankan ladies who love food and love hearing about your love for their food.
Speaking with both Judy and Krishanthi, they shared that their fated friendship began thanks to their husbands who were childhood friends. In their exploration of their shared passion for good food, making the rounds in Colombo and what it has to offer, they came to a crossroads – they were finding it slightly difficult to find their beloved Italian food the way they liked to have it, and so, like the cool entrepreneurs that they were, the two friends decided to make it themselves. Starting off at Krishanthi’s backyard, they began to offer pick-up and deliveries for pizza, lasagna, and an assortment of desserts, which we will get to in just a moment.
Following a year of intense learning, they opened up their first outlet, and eight years down the line, here they are with their second outlet – a gorgeous venue with a garden space perfect for corporate gatherings, inclusive of two private rooms able to host 10-15 persons, or for your brainstorming sessions if Covid-19 has barred you from going to office. Rocco’s at Gregory’s Road has the space for you, and you can be sure your safety is their utmost concern as the restaurant has adopted all necessary safety guidelines to guarantee safety.
Considering that we were at one of Colombo’s’ hottest pizza places, we opted to try out some of Rocco’s more popular toppings: The Romano consisting of pepperoni, sausage, jalapenos, onions, and mozzarella, and The Florentina (the vegetarian option) consisting of spinach, bell peppers, olives, mushroom, ricotta, and mozzarella. We were told that these are amongst some of the Rocco’s exclusive toppings – Judy’s very own innovations – and both toppings were nothing short of perfect, although we did have a preference; The Florentina quite literally tastes like nothing you’ve ever had before, and perhaps this is the illusion created by all the greens, but you feel healthy eating it. Then when the cheeses hit, you don’t really care if it’s healthy or not.
Leaving aside the sustainable cinnamon wood used for their wood-fired oven, the hands-on approach adopted by the owners who make it a point to be at the two properties five days a week in order to get to know their customers personally, and the ever-growing list of verity, one thing Rocco’s does better than most in the industry is their refusal to compromise on using quality ingredients; both Judy and Krishanthi, being foodies themselves, shared that they believe there is no point if you are going to compromise on your ingredients.
This belief also comes through in their absolutely magical deserts; amazingly even to this day, the desserts are made entirely by the two ladies, using tested recipes they have been using to entertain their guests at home. They once again came in with a multitude of choices and we went with two of their highlights: Tiramisu (espresso-soaked sponge fingers with layers of creamy mascarpone cheese and the cassata) and homemade three-layered creamy neapolitan ice cream (almond, chocolate, and tutti frutti). You cannot do justice to how these two desserts tasted with words; you simply must try it, especially if you prefer not-too-sweet desserts with light airy ingredients that leave you extremely satisfied.
We can continue to rave about how awesome Rocco’s is. We highly recommend that you do yourself a favour and pay Rocco’s at Gregory’s Road a visit. The place is pandemic-safe to take a break from your routine and simply treat yourself. If you’re lucky, you will run into the two inspiring ladies, Judy and Krishanthi; if you do, be sure to have a chat – they’ll be happy to share an empowering tale of developing a homegrown business into a franchise offering close to home or delicately prepared meals that feel good and keeps your soul fed.
Photos Eshan Dasanayaka