PLUS NINE FOUR – An Interview with Shana


How does it feel to open up your third café in Colombo and how different was it from the other two cafés? 

PLUS NINE FOUR has been in the making for the past 6-8 months so it feels great to finally have it open to the public! There were plenty of times I thought it wasn’t going to happen but I can safely say the blood, sweat and tears were worth it. I feel that PLUS NINE FOUR is definitely more an extension of us (mum and I) and our personalities than our other two cafes. We’ve learnt a lot in the past two years opening up Café Kumbuk and Kumbuk Kitchen and we put that to great use this time around.

Obviously the name PLUS NINE FOUR is something different and its confusing for people as to why we didn’t want to have it under the Kumbuk umbrella. Seeing as we are in partnership with Soul Coffee on this project we wanted to choose something a little different and quirky and ultimately diversify the brand. PLUS NINE FOUR focuses mainly on locally sourced coffee and come June we’ll be adding some simple and delicious hot food to the menu. The space itself is quaint and lovely with a secret garden vibe to it that we love so much (except in Monsoon season).


What makes Plus Nine Four stand apart from the other two spaces that belong to the Kumbuk family? 

Its got its own flavor and feel to it, in terms of design, atmosphere, food and drink offering. Most people who have come across PLUS NINE FOUR in its early days had no idea it was linked to Café Kumbuk which is kind of the reaction we were after. Kumbuk will always be our first love but there’s always room for something different.

Soul Coffee has been making its name around the Island as one the best coffee brands in our country. How did this partnership come about and what makes their coffee so special? 

We’ve been working with Soul Coffee for over two years now. We partnered with them to provide coffee to both Kumbuk cafes and we instantly hit it off! Rinosh is a good friend, great landlord and he knows his coffee so we are super happy to be in partnership with him and his team. I love the fact that Soul Coffee is grown and roasted here in Sri Lanka. They work with small holder farms and plantations to source select coffee beans. The coffee is grown without using any environment – devastating monoculture practices and they follow ethical farming standards. They’re also fellow Good Market approved vendors so that helps. Drop by the café and taste the goodness for yourself!


Did you do the interior and design of the space by yourself or was there someone behind the creation of the space? 

I worked with Avisha de Saram Interiors to conceptualize the space and then liaised with various different makers to fabricate the various different pieces you see in the café. We wanted to go for something quite airy and cozy. I love the fact that all our cafes are open plan and don’t depend on AC to keep them cool. Big shout out here goes to Robert from Idea Hub who made the most incredible coffee counter for us – not easy considering the odd slanted walls we had to work with!

Hot food started at PLUS NINE FOUR in June. Can we expect to see a larger menu soon or will it be limited to the items on the menu now? 

The PLUS NINE FOUR hot food menu is small but delicious! We’ve focused on finding special gourmet ingredients from small scale suppliers to create simple yet sophisticated dishes. Our topped toasts are incredibly popular, using bread from, we hope to expand this range over time. We’ve got a fantastic kiri toffee brioche French toast and soon we’ll be releasing our ash plantation burger and lamb naan. The food should be tasty and simple!


From what you've experience so far, how has the new space been received by the community of Colombo? 

I think those that have visited dig it! They like the chilled vibes, the coffee and most importantly the space itself. I think there’s plenty of room in Colombo for more cafes and we are glad to be offering something new to the community of Colombo.

What is your favorite drink and dessert on the menu? 

Favourite drink has got to be the Passionfruit and Mint Iced Tea – super refreshing in the heat and goes easy on the sugar! As for dessert – it has to be the chocolate coffee ice cream tart. Our pastry chef Pulina has done a fantastic job getting our dessert menu going and we can’t wait to see what else he’s got up his sleeves.


A Gap Year At Café Kumbuk

If school was a tough 13 years and you thought you needed a bit of a break before you nosedived into another 4 years of college right away, you probably relate better to this. I had decided to take a gap year in advance, but when I finally graduated, I had no clue what I wanted to do during that year! My rationale behind taking a break was so that I could explore my strengths and weaknesses better; to take an informed decision of what I wanted to study in university. What started off as merely a part-time job at Café Kumbuk, which started on the day I graduated coincidentally, transformed into an experience that proffered so much more than I expected.

It definitely taught me a thing or two about timing!

If you were never a morning person, finally having finished school you badly want to sleep in till noon, but having a job (or rather keeping your job) means you have to make it to those 7:30am shifts religiously – even on weekends! In fact, this can help you become as close to being a morning person as your body would allow which becomes helpful when you have to wake up for early classes or just to revise before an exam. Timing also meant that you show up to the time you commit. This is understandably not always possible due to the precipitous traffic on the roads, but it is always best to keep your co-workers informed of any delays ahead of time.

Confidence is always a good thing to pick up.

Working in client servicing – that is being the first face that a customer sees when they walk into the establishment – meant that you had to be presentable and confident to engage and interact. This makes the customers’ experience better, but can be an introvert’s nightmare! Kumbuk encouraged us to go beyond the general niceties and engage with clients a tad more; this often meant that guests were comfortable enough to share stories, ask for directions, get a local’s tips on navigating the island etc. while I would improve on my communication. This is a very handy skill to pick up for when you venture out into an unknown country and have to mingle with people from so many different backgrounds. It makes your overall settling in experience a lot easier. Same goes for when you actually go to work after your degree!

You start to realise the importance of completing those chores that you kept avoiding!

Part of the job meant that you have to clean floors, do the dishes and dust off everyday things in the café – a job that you can conveniently avoided at home! Although this seems so trivial and might not be likeable, it goes a long way when you have to move out and live on your own. Prolonged engagement helps you identify when things need cleaning. It was almost intuitive when the shelves needed cleaning or the floor needed a quick sweep. Likewise, you know when your fridge back in college needs to be cleaned out. It also keeps you organised so that you don’t drown yourself in a clutter of physical things as if the studies weren’t tough enough!

The connections you make can go a long way…

The people you meet: your employers, your colleagues, your clients – they are all important connections you make. Technically known as networking, this can help in so many unimaginable ways! Having to work with people day in and day out means you build a lot of friendships and have a lifetime of memories. If you also follow a good work ethic and impress your employers, you will always have a glowing reference when you need one for that dream job!

These are just a few takeaways that my time at Kumbuk offered me, not to mention the extensive technical knowledge on the administration and function of a café that I learnt. Admittedly, I had some cool mentors who invested their time in me as well, but if you really want to make the most of a gap year, you can regardless of where you are! You really don’t realise the importance of all the knowledge and skill you gain until you get to college. When you eventually do, you’ll realise you’re a step ahead and that’s a good place to be.  

By Ashan Wijesinghe



Although fairly novel in Sri Lanka, communal dining or the concept of sharing a table at an establishment is currently trending in many parts of the world. A practice that was most common during the French Revolution has received a facelift lately with many budding eateries following suit; however, it has earned a fair amount of criticism. Café Kumbuk’s communal table has received both criticism and praise; but to us it is the absolute heart of the café.

When conceptualizing the café, we had a few main concerns – we didn’t just want to create a café, we wanted to come up with a space where people could vibe and connect with each other. This was a mammoth task considering the square footage we were working with and the one solution that was almost obvious was a communal table. Although hunting for a specimen to fit our milieu was a nightmare, we stumbled upon the best fit for us at an antique warehouse. We had to fill it in and do a little DIY before we could place it in the café, but it fits right into our cosy space, so it was worth it. This dining situation not only livens up the environment and gives Kumbuk its distinct look, but is also economical for a small business like ours. We have been able to do more covers in the same space with the presence of the large table. These same numbers would have been highly unlikely had we placed several smaller tables down the middle instead.

Although communal dining has been at the brunt of many smear campaigns by many fine dining aficionados, we were determined to build our community café around this very table. The communal table has been a hotspot for interactions since day one; friendships have transpired between our regulars seated around the table; travellers in passing have had many an exchange with their fellow patrons around the same table too. In a culture that focuses more on the food theatrics (stemming from Benihanas, that coincidentally also started the communal dining experience in the 80s) than the dining experience itself, the negativity regarding communal dining is at a minimal. It is especially true of cafes and casual dining spots. After all, I would rather share a table and experience the food than wait an unascertained amount of time for a table.

Although mostly positive, we do get a fair share of puzzled or disgruntled looks when guests have been seated at the long table. We’ve come to realize that more than being displeased at having to share a table, it is the intimidation of having another party staring at you while you silently chomp away that makes people shy away from it. As a rule of thumb, remember that regular dinner party etiquette applies – acknowledge each other with a simple Hello or a nod of your head, take cues from their body language and dive in! You might pick up a few nifty tips and tricks in exploring the island, food and music! Sometimes a communal table can also be a great workstation to set up laptop and get alone time together. With the foodie culture rapidly developing, people also enjoy meeting and getting to know others like themselves that enjoy fine foods, good coffee and a pleasing aesthetic. In these instances the communal tables have brought about many networking opportunities for such individuals too. However, if you’re still not phased by this new and modern gimmick that restaurants are using these days, give it a shot – unless you’ve experienced it, you might not be able to acknowledge it and give it the recognition it deserves. Luckily for you, Café Kumbuk is a chilled out spot to trial this out for the first time!

The Movement


We’ve heard and seen a lot of The Movement over the past few months and almost everyone we know seem to have gone there at least once. Give us a bit of background on The Movement.

Well we've all been really interested in working out since we left high school, and sports weren't really an option in university. We were quite unsuccessful at working out and never really made any substantial 'gains' for years because we didn't have the basics of eating and lifting down. Once we figured that out we made much more consistent progress, and wanted to pass that on. We always wanted to do something in this space and we started talking about it seriously last year. Thankfully it has worked out great so far!

Have you guys always had a penchant for working in the Fitness Industry? What inspired you to get into training?

Well I wouldn’t say we have. One of us is a barrister; the other is an engineer and one a mathematician, by degree at least. I don't think we seriously considered working in the fitness space until well after graduating from university, mainly because we didn't have the credibility that comes from training for 10 years and all the trial and error that goes with it. What inspired us was just that. How difficult it is to get this right: in terms of making body progress. We've all been there- too skinny, working out every day and not seeing any results. Once we realized it was a lifestyle that included eating right, sleeping well and lifting with correct form - our bodies changed. That inspired us to help other people shorten this learning curve; one that most people give up on before they see results. We also wanted to help people achieve bodies they felt comfortable with in Sri Lanka WITHOUT unhealthy crash dieting, which we see a lot of, and is terrible for your body and health. The key to this is communication. Telling people the why? of something as opposed to just to the what? and the how?  We feel like we're in a good place to express this to people.

What would you say is the mission of The Movement?

Results! Not just in appearance but strength and endurance too; in a group setting that is fun, motivating and sustainable. Like I said you may see results from crash dieting to a 1000 calories a day but that is not sustainable. You will falter eventually and feel bad about yourself. We want you to see slow results, but consistently. We want you to feel good while your body is changing, and not constantly feel depleted. Fitness and aesthetics is a lifelong process, it isn't just for 3 months. You are always improving and changing, so thinking about it in a narrow sense and burning out fast seems futile to us. We want to make this a part of your lifestyle.

You guys follow an alternating mix of cardio and weights training at The Movement, would you say that this is the most effective for a modern day busybody lifestyle?

For sure! We do tweak it for different body types and goals though. For example if someone is trying to gain weight they won't do as much cardio. But in general a combination of both is best for appearance and fitness levels. People sometime don't realise that lifting weights at a high intensity is more cardio than actual cardio like running. Weight training has so many minor and ignored benefits like keeping our skin tight, or improving circulation. Also working out in short intense bursts is obviously the most time effective way to train, and because our work outs always change, hopefully that stops boredom from setting in. I can’t stress this enough - you have to enjoy your work outs  to see tangible result! Same with your diet. 

What else would you say apart from exercise and working out regularly that contributes to getting fit?

Your diet of course! I'm sure you've read that it's more about diet than what you do in the gym. That is 100% true. We have the different struggle to most. We find it hard to gain weight, so we have to keep eating food even when we don't feel like it sometimes or are pressed for time. There is always that pressure to have your fifth meal, you know. In the same way if you are looking to lose weight and tone up you really have to strike the right macro nutrient balance between consuming enough protein to help your body repair, healthy fats; and carbs, and being in a healthy caloric deficit at the same time. To be honest, it’s much easier to eat healthy now in Colombo, great healthier restaurants coming up.

After a late night or a long day at work, it takes a lot of willpower to get myself to the gym, how do you stay motivated?

First have a coffee. Second, think about how much worse you'll feel knowing you didn’t work out. There is a crazy feeling of satisfaction knowing you made it to the gym even though you didn’t feel like it and killed your workout. We've all had that endorphin rush post work out, and you’ll end up having a really productive day. We all have a body goal. Keep that in mind and work towards it constantly. What would –your insert body goal name– do? They'd go work out!

Do you thing age is a limiting factor when it comes to getting in an intense and effective workout? Is The Movement geared towards a specific age group?

Age can be a limiting factor if you have injuries or certain conditions. But if you are a healthy older person there is no reason why you can’t do our work outs or any work outs. Obviously we will try and tailor our circuits a little better when there are older people in the class. There are certain exercises (mainly our more intense cardio) that may be unsuitable for older people, but you will be surprised how ridiculously fast some of them progress. One of our oldest clients couldn't do a squat when she first joined but now that she is much stronger and slimmer; she squats deeper, and breezes through the workout that 21 year olds can't complete. It's just a question of sticking with it and being safe and measured in your approach. Obviously don't go straight into doing 60 seconds of burpees on your first day, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try a couple. Once the pounds melt off you'll see how much better your knees and achy joints feel!

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone who’s not happy with their body shape or size?

Make a change. Don't plan it. Don't procrastinate on it. Just do it today!! In this day and age of the internet every bit of motivation and information is at your finger tips. You have no excuse.  



If you visit the café regularly or follow us on social media, you’re probably aware that Kumbuk does an interesting range of delectable Homemade Products. With Christmas around the corner, the list has grown longer; and this year we took it upon ourselves to create enjoyable gift hampers made from the best of local produce and packed with lots of love and care. If you’ve been contemplating getting one for your loved ones or have been gifted one, here’s a little guide on how to use it.


The Kumbuk Seasonal Gift Hamper undoubtedly packs Christmas in a box; with cinnamon pancake mix, brandy butter, poultry rub, mulled wine mix and cranberry and sour cherry chutney – this couldn’t be more true. The poultry rub has all the necessary ingredients to flavor your Christmas Roast, and most importantly that bottle is enough for 2-3 turkeys so you might as well have Christmas Roast for the next few days too! The cranberry and sour cherry chutney too has a spot at your Christmas Roast Lunch, it is divine served over a well seasoned turkey. The mulled wine mix smells like Christmas in a bottle and is great to entertain your guests, day or night. Empty the contents into a saucepan add one bottle of wine, bring to a simmer, serve warm and enjoy in good company. The brandy butter – a strikingly British treat – is generally served over warm Christmas pudding, it melts and oozes into the pud to bring out the exquisite flavours with just a tinge of alcohol. If you’re feeling especially festive you could even set it on fire while it melts.

We love our Christmases so it might seem like we get carried away with all things Christmas in December, but we actually have a decent lot of other products still available all year round. We’ve got our granolas bottled up – all you gotta do is top it with fruits and milk of choice and dig in. We’ve also got pancake mixes that can be easily made at home and a range of flavoured salts and sugars. Many people ask us how to use these salts and sugars. In the case of the salts, it works perfectly as seasoning on meat (especially rosemary and garlic salt) or just add some of the salt into your everyday foods to make it interesting. Similarly use the sugars to sweeten everyday drinks like tea/coffee (lavender sugar adds an interesting flavor to black tea while hazelnut sugar accentuates the flavours of coffee).  Alternatively, sprinkle them over bakes and enjoy!


If you ask what my favourite among the lot is, it would be the Spiced Feta. It’s particularly useful around the household in flavouring salads; smash the feta over the salad and drizzle some of the infused olive oil to give your greens a bit more flavor. Top it off with some balsamic vinegar and your salads will be a lot more tempting. Alternatively you could make an interesting dip out of it to go with your chips or to go on top of toast. The superseeds mix is another list topper; it’s easy to make and can be breakfast or dessert! Just add warm water, mix it well, leave it over night and dig in when peckish.


In keeping with the ethos of Café Kumbuk, we strive to make most of our products with locally sourced produced, but are always fresh and with zero chemical additives – we even avoid refined sugars or use palm sugar substitutes. We also have a strict no plastics rule so most of our packaging is recyclable or reusable around the household. If you haven’t tried our products yet, swing by the café and grab some or place your order via email Celebrate this season of giving by gifting gourmet treats, or a carefully curated box of treats – we are taking Hamper orders until the 13th of Christmas so be sure to get yours in right away!

By Ashan Wijesinghe

What a Sloppy Joe!

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The Jackfruit Sloppy Joe introduced to the Kumbuk Kitchen menu earlier this year has won hearts far and wide with its delectable flavours and adaptability to almost any palate. The young jackfruit or polos as we know it got a facelift with this new dish that enjoyed a brief cameo at Café Kumbuk as well. An ideal meat substitute for vegan and vegetarian diets, Jackfruit is loaded with nutrients, minerals and vitamins; amma (mother) certainly approves!

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The jackfruit at its different stages is used for a variety of sweet and savoury dishes in Sri Lankan cuisine. Young jackfruit (polos) is prepared in thick, dark gravy accompanied by steamed rice, a good dhal curry and a greens mix. Ripe jackfruit (kos) is cooked in coconut cream to a thick consistency and enjoyed with dried fish and rice. The seeds of the ripe jackfruit are also toasted and tossed with coconut and jaggery to make a local version of protein balls that are enjoyed by the young and old alike. Slightly overripe jackfruit (varaka) has a sweet, tropical flavor that is enjoyed on its own as a snack or after a meal. With easy access to a fruit that is so versatile, we couldn’t resist giving it our own Kumbuk twist!

To make KK’s Sloppy Joe, young jackfruit is par boiled with local spices, seeded and pulled just like you would meat. The pulled jackfruit is then mixed in an Asian inspired BBQ sauce (a combination of tomato, apple juice, pineapple juice, onion and lemongrass) and topped with a generous serving of bell pepper ketchup and gooey cheese! We serve it on a vegan bun so all you gotta do is ask them to hold off on the cheese if you’re vegan.

Among its many health benefits, jackfruit is loaded with essential vitamins (A, C, E, K & B6), minerals (copper, manganese, magnesium), antioxidants and folic acid. This means that jackfruit has the ability to improve blood production, regulate blood glucose, reduce chances of cancer and improve bone health, eyesight and immunity in general. The seeds especially, have the ability to detoxify your system resulting in healthy skin and hair. Another reason jackfruit deserves a dietary medal of honour is because it is one of few fruits that has absolutely no saturated or trans fats (this however, does not mean that it does not have calories or sugar)! It is also super easy to grow in our climate, and thrives, given the right attention and care.

If you’re jackfruit crazed or looking for a good vegan burger, head on over to Kumbuk Kitchen on Reid Avenue (across the road from the Colombo Racecourse) to grab a good one! We’d encourage you to savour fresh Jackfruit as much as possible while you’re here; you won’t be allowed to take it home because fresh jackfruit is banned from airports!

By Ashan Wijesinghe

Post Workout Food in Colombo

We thought we’d compile this list because we are ever so familiar with the hunger pangs that supersede a good core-crunching workout. Especially when you just want to eat up a mountain but don’t want to lose those workout gains! These are the places we like to hit when we want to dig in without feeling too guilty (note: they are in no particular order).


Nestled on the lakefront in Col. 3, Life Food is a cozy little café serving up super good, healthy meals for the food fanatic. If you’re hardcore, you could even try running over there, build up your appetite and then dig in! Our favourite is the ‘Honey Honey,’ a salad bowl with avo, honey-mustard chicken, feta, cherry tomatoes, salad trimmings and a killer dressing! It really is a treat, honey! There are loads of other great dishes on the menu too, including some kurakkan roast paan sandwiches; try the ‘Smooth Operator,’ a sandwich of basil, chicken and avo mayo. As you may have picked up, these guys are one of the few places that go crazy with the avocadoes and we just love it.

Life Food is open from 7:30am to 9:30pm (8am to 9:30pm on weekends and on most public holidays), so that’s definitely a plus! They’re also the only place we’ve seen in Colombo that serves up Kangen water with the meals. If you know the science behind these ionized waters produced through electrolysis, then you know what the craze is all about.


With a couple of branches around town and in the South, Calorie Counter is a health food giant. One peek at the menu and you’ll realize they do live up to the name! The number of calories in each dish is highlighted next to the dish so you can actually count the calories you ingest just as the name suggests! They have a wide range of options to choose from, including fresh salads, open-faced sandwiches and some nice steak options! Go for the salmon steak, one of the best fish dishes in town. Some might say the sandwiches are a tad dry, but then again they are counting calories, so we’re not complaining!

Calorie Counter too, is open from 7am – 10pm which is great for us busy bodies that tend to hit the gym at all odd hours of the day. With a branch in Galle, it’s also easily accessible on vacation, lol.


Our cozy 2nd outlet on Reid Avenue serves up some of our signature dishes all day round. In front of the racecourse, inside the Lakpahana compound, right next to the Good Market Shop is where you’ll find Kumbuk Kitchen; it’s really not as complicated as it sounds though! The best part is, it’s easily accessible from most places that we usually go to workout, be it running around the track surrounding the Independence Square and Racecourse or TRX next door. They too go crazy with the avocadoes, pairing it with hummus, prawn salads, tex mex dishes and classic avo on toast (a brekkie dish at Café Kumbuk). Or you could head over for a high protein bowl of Peanut Butter Granola or Beet Hummus; great to replenish the energy used up at your workout.

Kumbuk Kitchen stays open till 7:30pm on Wed/Thurs/Fri but is generally open from 8am – 5pm 7-days a week, including most holidays!


Having recently launched a new and improved menu, which we are absolutely raving about, their foods are mainly plant based and they have a huge variety of vegetarian and vegan options all of which are super affordable. They use healthy, high quality ingredients and make everything in house or through artisanal local suppliers. They also have a lovely kid’s menu which helps tremendously when traveling with the babies. We love their new fishcakes and poached egg breakfast dish – its filling, ever so tasty and totally guilt free! If you’re looking for a super healthy lunch then definitely try one of their salad bowls, our favorite is the one with spinach and sweet potato fritters – SO GOOD. Their juices and smoothies are perfectly blended and always taste fresh. Milk and Honey café is a great place to help you keep up a healthy diet throughout the week.

Heads up tho, their kitchen is only open from 9:30am – 6:30pm (all week round), so you gotta make it in time for that post workout meal if you’re an evening person.


There’s nothing we crave more after a workout than a good juice and Good Life Café does that oh so well! You can expect to find plenty of pre-made cold-pressed juices in their chiller for a quick grab and go. The apple-pie juice really does taste like apple-pie without all the extra calories of course and the lemongrass and pineapple is energizing and zesty fresh. Their mango tango smoothie bowl is the perfect wholesome healthy breakfast – you can call and pre-order! One of our go to smoothies of theirs is the choco-loco which is great when you’re craving something sweet but still good for you. If you’re looking for almond milk and Greek yoghurt then you can find it at Good Life Café but best to call up and pre-order just to make sure.

They’re generally open Tue – Sun from 8am to 8pm. It’s a Good Life with Good Life, really!



I was finding it quite tricky to find a class that works for me! I wanted trainers that would keep me inspired and motivated. I also wanted a workout that would leave me feeling exhausted but also incredibly good. I found all the above in Tanuja and Hasithas Kinetic Fitness classes. I was curious to find out what her fitness motivations are and how she stays on track – which I personally find quite tough to do!

Tanuja started her career as a trainer in 2010 when she got her personal training license from Premiere Fitness in London, UK. She then went on to work with an exclusive gym called Gymbox before moving on to train artists from the TV show The X Factor (UK). She grew up in London, spent a few years in New York and is now living in Sri Lanka. We are certainly lucky to have her! Apart from fitness, if you haven’t heard her already – Tanuja is an incredible singer.

1) Tanuja were you always interested in working in the fitness industry? What inspired you to get into personal training?

I was always an athletic person and enjoyed competitive sports and sprinting. However what lead me to becoming a trainer was losing my father and brother at a young age. I hit an all time low and used physical training to help me out of what then seemed like a black hole of depression. The training literally changed my life and I decided at that point I wanted to help other people to live to their full potential. I went back to school, re educated myself and have never looked back.

2) What is the mission of Kinetic Fitness?

Our mission at Kinetic fitness is not simply helping people to get muscles and get fit.  We are trying to help people to achieve a feeling of overall wellness. We use a number of resistance training systems as well as yoga, meditation and pranayama and dietary consultation to help you to understand how these things are all connected and when used in coincidence will help you to achieve an all around feeling of wellbeing. Most importantly no matter at what point you are in life it is never too late to start and become the best version of yourself. 

3) I saw you in the studio boxing the hell out of your partner the other day haha! What is your personal favourite workout? What is effective for your body?

I personally have a number of different ways that I workout and I feel this keeps me most balanced. I try to do a little yoga and meditation everyday as this really helps me to stay focused and connected and helps to release a lot of the tightness I have, which helps me with my other training.  On certain days I lift weights, on others I do TRX training and then sometimes I love to box. 

4) They say getting fit is 80% diet and 20% exercise - do you agree? Is there anything specific one should cut out to achieve their body goals?

I agree that diet plays a huge roll but I do also feel that working out is essential not only for physical but for mental wellbeing. I personally think sugar in all its forms carbs, sweets, booze should be reduced in order to keep bodyfat low. I also don't think it is good to eat red meat in huge quantities. A lot of people are getting on this paleo diet thinking they need to eat their body weight in red meat and this makes them healthy. But I think there are a lot of health risks involved in eating in this way especially cholesterol and heat disease. I think loading up on the veggies and lean organic chicken and fish as well as beans and pulses as forms of protein are far more sustainable over your life. 

5) How do you stay motivated? On hangover days its the toughest thing in the world for me to pull myself out of bed and get to the gym - do you find yourself having days like this and how do you combat it?

I stay motivated because working out not only makes me look good but also feel good. Hangover days are tough but getting a good sweat on post drinking binge works wonders. But if you don't make it out to the gym on some days don't beat your self up. We are all human. 

6) If you're working hard to achieve your fitness goals - do you think cheat days set you back?

Cheat days don't set you back. They are essential for your physiological wellbeing. If you were constantly not allowing yourself to eat the things you love you will end up falling off the wagon and gorging yourself. If you eat healthily the majority of the time and allow yourself a day where you eat what you want you are more likely to stay on track and sustain it over your life. But don't cheat a little every day. Pick a day and stick to it.

7) Whats one piece of advice you could give to women who are not happy with their body shape and size?

The one thing I would say to anyone who is unhappy with their body is change it. Your muscles and body are dumb. You are in control and as soon as you make the decision to start working out and eating properly your body composition will change. If you want some advice on how to do that then come to Kinetic fitness. 

8) Recently you did your Quantum Yoga training - what exactly is it and how does it differ to other forms?

I recently did the quantum yoga teacher training course. Quantum yoga is different because it uses Ayurvedic assessment to help you through your practice. I first help you determine your dominant dosha (body/mind composition). In quantum yoga there are certain sequences that help bring the doshas into balance. 

There are a number of classes daily at The Kinetic Studio inside the Prana Lounge. You can get updates about the classes by checking their website at or @kineticfitmove on Instagram as well as They’ve got plenty of new fun classes starting in May like THUMP (boxing class) and Quantum Yoga! See you guys there.


Chef John – On Cooking and Kumbuk


Six months ago I was approached by a young chap called John who was in Sri Lanka on holiday about to return to a job in Dubai. On our very first meeting at the café we discussed his previous work experience and decided that he could help us craft a menu or two whilst here.

Needless to say, what started as a quick project turned into a full time job, we simply couldn’t let him go! John has helped us to turn the Café Kumbuk menu around, plating up food we enjoy and love to share. He crafted and created the veggie vegan menu at Kumbuk Kitchen – supporting the opening team like the superhero he is.

You’ll often see him on his bike, cycling between both cafes with supplies under one arm. Here he chats to us on cooking and Kumbuk.

1. Give us a little rundown of your culinary work experience and why you chose to move back to Sri Lanka?

I am a Chef with 6 years of experience in the Hotel industry. Previously I had worked for the Hilton Hotel Chain both in Sri Lanka as well as in Dubai. During this time I had the opportunity to work for 10 plus restaurants spanning across 4 Hilton Hotel properties as well as being able to represent Sri Lanka for culinary competitions in France and China.

I had been on holiday in Sri Lanka after ending my time in the Hotel industry and I was originally planning to head back to Dubai to work for an independent restaurant as part of their opening team. During this time I had come to see Sri Lanka in a new light: one with an abundance of local produce to work with and a country slowly trying to re-invent its culinary scene. I wanted to be a part of it and took a leap of faith and moved back to Sri Lanka

2) What first sparked your interest to be a chef?

Even after completing my basic culinary training at 17 and being able to train further as an apprentice Chef. I still was not convinced I wanted to be a Chef. It was only when my apprenticeship had led me to work in a fine dining restaurant that I was convinced. The amount of respect shown to ingredients ,the dedication given to each dish and the adrenaline filled atmosphere during dinner service was all part of why I wanted to continue being a Chef

3) What’s your favourite local ingredient to work with and why?

Honestly everything! There are so many amazing ingredients to work with in Sri Lanka. It really is hard to pick just one but a current favourite of mine is Polos (Baby Jackfruit). Shana and myself had experimented on making a mock "pulled pork" and it turned out better than we had expected!

4) How does the restaurant/café scene in Dubai compare to Sri Lanka?

Dubai is Dubai. Hotels, Restaurants and Cafes have carte blanche on the food trends. Picnic style brunches on rooftop gardens to the simple hole-in-the-wall burger joints.Dubai has it all and are ready to cater to all.

In Sri Lanka, restaurants and cafes have one problem in common. Simple ingredients become expensive and difficult to get a hold of and so we are not ready as a tourism promoting country to cater to everyones needs. I hope this changes in the near future.

Apart from this I think many establishments have worked their way around such issues by providing local alternatives to international products thereby creating a somewhat unique tropical inspired food culture. 

5)  What is it about Café Kumbuk that initially drew you to it?

I had approached a few cafes and restaurants for work and Cafe Kumbuk (Shana) was the first to reply. I liked the ambiance of the cafe: simple and rustic. Shana knows her food and this makes it easier as a Chef when creating new menus. I thought this was the perfect setting for me to start from.

6) What is it about the Café Kumbuk menu that’s different to what other cafes are offering up in Colombo?

We try to make at least 90 percent of whats on the plate to be locally sourced. The food is healthy but also tasty and sourcing ingredients locally when and where we can allows us to serve food that is reasonably priced and very filling. We take food inspirations from around the world and we want to translate these dishes using local produce and make our menu as unique as possible. 

7) What’s the next step for Café Kumbuk?

Currently we are working on opening for dinner and we are looking forward to the coming months when we get to re-invent our menu.