Behind the buzz… | Daily News


Mass of Bees Restaurant opens its doors to foodies

Behind the buzz…

Dasun and Manik Wickremerathne and family
Dasun and Manik Wickremerathne and family

Like bees drawn to honey they swarmed at the newly opened MOB of Mass of Bees Restaurant! Beautiful Sri Lankan-Lebanese model and the winner of 2011 Miss Universe Sri Lanka who represented her country at the 2011 Miss Universe pageant, Stephanie Siriwardhana was there mingling with the crowd in her element. Chaminda Vass who terrorized batsmen with his deadly deliveries also made an appearance. Socialites were there, they too were in their element. Dimuth Karunaratne in whose hands the future of Sri Lankan Cricket is in was also there. Upul Chandana who was part of the 1996 World Cup winning Sri Lankan Cricket team that defeated the mighty Aussies too made an appearance. All in all, it was a gala event!!

It was really a milestone when it came to the foodscape in Sri Lanka. September 25, was when MOB announced itself to Colombo Society as the newest and one of the most exciting food hotspots in Sri Lanka. MOB wants to be known for its deeds and not the words of a windbag! It wants to stand out for its cuisine and unique ambience. And indeed that is exactly what MOB is! Everyone present at that evening thoroughly enjoyed themselves!

MOB is the brainchild of the Queen Bee and Business Magnate, Dasun Wickramarathna, Director/General Manager Lakshaman Silva, who along with Priyanthi Abeyweera conceptualized the idea of a restaurant based on the history of Negombo, one of the country’s most populous and historic cities.

The Portuguese found themselves in Sri Lanka shores accidentally after a storm. Swept from the sea by the winds, they found themselves somewhere near Galle and after they saw the possibilities that the beautiful island of Sri Lanka had to offer, they decided to stay. According to MOB a swarm of bees settled on the first Portuguese boat that was put ashore in Negombo! Therefore, the Sinhala name for Negombo is Meegamuwa – meaning Mass of Bees!

“The original idea was to launch a chain of restaurants in Negombo, centered on its association with bees. Instead we decided to bring the history of Negombo into the heart of Colombo, which has led to the creation of ‘Mass of Bees’ or MOB, under the ETM Leisure banner,” said Silva.

Both Silva and Wickramarathna joined hands in this venture but Wickramarathna came into this venture from an entirely different field – the property development sector. However, the man’s true genius is in the Hospitality industry. Here his charisma enables him to engage with strangers and win them over. In other words, he is a people person. His talent is working with other people.

Lakshaman Silva began his career in the hospitality industry in 1987 at Riverina Hotel. From there he joined Mt Lavinia Hotel and moved to Taj Samudra and Eden Resorts respectively. He then went overseas to take up a stint at the Dubai Grand Hotel, followed by Best Western Hotels and Le Meridian Hotel. He counts his 10 plus years in Dubai as amongst the most rewarding of his career, as it gave him the opportunity to work and associate with over twenty different nationalities from all parts of the world.

Behind Silva and Wickramarathna is a veteran in the culinary industry. He is one of those people who can thoroughly impress you with his knowledge of the culinary arts. Heading the team behind MOB is of course that all important person, Chef Extraordinaire, Dudley Nanayakkara, who brings his almost 40 year career as a Culinary wizard and master chef to the fore as he whips up a menu that is truly and an unforgettable treat for the most discerning palette.

Perennial favorites such as Negombo Pork Curry, Baked Crab, Jaffna Crab with Murunga leaves, the ever popular submarines and burgers, an array of Thai, Indian, Indonesian and Chinese favourites, Street Food, Sizzlers, as well traditional Italian favorites such as Ravioli in Green Pesto sauce, Spaghetti Carbonara, Prawns Provencale and many others are on offer.

Located in the heart of Colombo at the prestigious Atrium building on Balapokuna Road in Colombo 05, MOB is set to take on Colombo’s gourmands raising hits battle cry! Featuring an exceptional menu, MOB has a refreshingly unique atmosphere. MOB is also Green. The restaurant is located in a vortex of natural airflow, eliminating the need for artificial air-conditioning, thus enhancing the ‘au natural’ dining experience. It is an experience that will be memorable because it is an extremely revitalizing. If you want to hold a birthday dinner for a loved one or any other event for that matter, then MOB is the place for you!

“The launch of MOB, on Friday was indeed a memorable experience, while the food served was unparalleled. Capable of accommodating 96 persons at any given time, MOB’s cuisine is ambitious to say the least. With a staff of four experienced chefs, as well as the energetic restaurant staff, MOB will be open from 11 am to 11 pm daily and promises to be the ultimate culinary experience. Outside catering too will be part of the services offered. It heralds a new era of fine dining in the restaurant sector of Colombo. Our authentic Sri Lankan, Indian, Chinese, Thai and Western Cuisine is available under one roof. I am really excited about this enterprise which has announced my entrance into this industry which has so much potential,” explained Wickramarathna.

When asked about the future of MOB and what lay ahead for the brand, Mr. Silva said the ETM Leisure group plans on opening three more restaurants and three unique ‘Beehive’ cafes around Colombo, not to mention the Corandum hotel chain which also belongs to ETM Leisure.

“Currently we have three hotels under construction. A 108 room hotel in Sigiriya due to open in January 2021, a 54 room hotel in Nuwara Eliya scheduled to open in 2022 and a 196 room hotel in Negombo scheduled to open its doors in April 2021. All of them are full- service apartment hotels as we see that this is the future trend,” pointed out Silva.

MOB is definitely a place to visit, no matter what the occasion, and foodies all around Colombo and its suburbs are assured of a gastronomic treat in scenic surroundings at affordable prices.

Pictures by Thushara Fernando