cafe kumbuk

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



Introduce yourself and what you do

Hello! I’m Neesha Fernando - a freelance Graphic Designer & Illustrator, currently living and working in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

How did you get started?

As a student at the University of Tampa, studying Advertising and Public Relations, I found myself more interested in the design side of the industry. Curiosity drove me to sign up for more and more design classes, which eventually is what led me to my current career path.

After graduation, I worked for the Tampa Bay Rowdies professional soccer team as their Graphic Designer & Social Media Representative. Following a two-year stint, I found myself craving a change of scenery, at which point I moved back to Sri Lanka. Upon arrival, I was drawn to Ruby Studio, particularly for their work on Tripin magazine - given my love of travel and affinity for editorial design. After gaining valuable experience under Subha Grassi there for three years, I decided to venture off on my own.

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Who and what inspires you right now?

With my expansion into the world of freelancing, I've been trying to diversify my scope of work, particularly with experimentation in illustration and typography. Given this, I regularly frequent online resources such as Doodlers Anonymous and Creative Bloq for both inspiration and tips & tricks. Sophie Roach, Barry Lee, Mulga and Steven Harrington are a few of the illustrators I currently follow closely on social media.

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What was a challenging aspect to getting started?

While drawing cartoons was always a fond pastime for me as a child, I never really thought of design as a profession. I was never the master of figure sketching or a genius with a paintbrush in art class. I thought that my lack of formal art education meant I could not venture down this path. As a result, getting past that initial fear and doubt in my skill was probably the most challenging for me.

Art is not just what most people typically think of as “art.” It’s not just sketching, paintings, sculptures and music. I think it’s very important to remember: everyone has creativity within them – even those of us that think they can’t draw a straight line without a ruler.

Where can others find your work?

You can find me online at: and on Instagram @justferyou




Kavan and I got to know each other when we were schooling here in Colombo prior to those ever so important angst teen years. Since I’ve known him he’s always been drawn towards making art. He studied Fine Art at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design in London; after completing a Foundation course in Art & Design he moved onto the Fine Art Bachelor’s degree at CSM’s then new campus in Granary Square, Kings Cross. Here he shares his thoughts with me on his move back to Sri Lanka, his collection of silkscreen prints (one of which is hanging at Café Kumbuk) and the growing arts scene in Sri Lanka.

1) As long as I’ve known you I don’t think I have ever really asked you you’re your artistic journey really began? When did you actively start putting pen/pencil/paint to paper?

I've been scrawling all over the walls of my house ever since I could. Being an artist is an answer I have always given as I've grown up. It is a bit weird, considering I didn't leave much room for anything else. 

2) Cheers for contributing one of your silkscreen prints to the café wall Kavan! It totally fits the space. What was your inspiration for this particular collection?

The collection of silkscreen prints contributed to the cafe is titled as Contact. It's about the physical process of creating colour combinations on the paper surface. Each resultant layer, although premeditated, has an element of unpredictability to it. I attribute feelings evoked in the Contact series as akin to the physiological experience of another person, be it simply to brush past the arm of another, or to wholly realise them. To interpret those moments and present them as a memory. The first print matched the colour palette of the cafe. 

3) When we were graduating from London and figuring out our next moves I remember you were debating whether to move to Berlin or not. What was it that made you move back to Colombo?

I felt the need to change my circumstance and live in the space and difference of opportunity that a place like Colombo - home - could provide. It's been quite fruitful being here and I am happy to have made that decision. But I think it's good to keep on the move. Considering it again. It's also been interesting to use this time as a chance to try different things by putting certain content out there that has been made in different places, to observe and consider reception and build upon that.

4) Yeah I think keeping things on the move allows you to become re-inspired – which is a beautiful thing. How do you observe the Sri Lankan fine art scene? Is there a lot of new talent coming through?

Contemporary art in Sri Lanka has been growing at a steady rate with many young practitioners speaking about a range of relevant topics through different styles and mediums. Most of the upcoming talent are young voices who have a lot of say, and it's good to note the players on the main stage are doing all they can to help bring about progressive change.

5) What are you currently working on?

I'm trying to diversify my practice, so I'm experimenting with graphic and fine arts. 

Can’t wait to see what you come out with next!

If you’re interested in seeing more of Kavan’s work then follow his Instagram handle @studio.bala


Ten Tracks we're feeling this April



Masego is a saxophonist that’s able to play pretty much any other instrument put in front of him. If that wasn’t enough – he also sings, raps and produces. The music he makes teeters in a world of sounds that aren’t restricted to any one genre. His track ‘Send Yo’ Rita’ strikes the perfect balance between overbearing and faint trap influences. It’s bound to bring back those 02’ feels due to the JT Senorita sample. The sax solo on the track is sex, my only complaint is I wish there was more of it.

Jazz fusion maestro Stephen Bruner aka Thundercat (underrated and under-listened to) brings the fire on his album ‘Drunk’. He contributed extensively to Kendrick’s 2015 ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ and last years ‘Untitled Unmastered’. Now Kendrick lends his talents to Thundercats ‘Walk On By’. On the track Cat pleads for his partner to stay and work through their relationship woes. In true Kendrick fashion, later he surfaces with a mellowed out flow about sins, condolences and death. It ain’t as morbid as it sounds, trust.


Undoubtedly one of my all time favourite tracks by Tom Misch - dubbed one of the UK’s most exciting producers. He initially gained attention for his ‘Beat Tape 1’, a collection of J Dilla inspired tracks he put online which gained A LOT of attention. In 2015 he dropped his ‘Beat Tape 2’ – heavy on the collaborations offering up a concoction of neo-soul and hip hop influenced tracks. This track ‘In The Midst Of It All’ although incredibly mellow is super capable of seducing bodies onto the dance-floor. It’s the perfect blend of pop and jazz and along with Sam Wills silky sweet vocals its a track you can’t shake off in a hurry.


Love the original Redbone by Childish Gambino, here I’ve shared the Redbone slowed to crawl - which I think I love even more. It’s a full blown funk slow jam of love, lust, reconciliation and wokeness. Donald Glover continues to reign supreme.


Put any instrument in front of FKJ and he’ll work his magic. In ‘Why Are There Boundaries’ FKJ keeps it uber mellow with his smooth like peanut butter vocals layered over what sounds like an old school RnB instrumental, infused with jazz guitar and other rhythmic elements. You can’t help but close your eyes and bop to a track like this – it’s got a hell of a lot of heart! What I love most about this track – its honesty.


An oldie but a goodie! A song written by Smokey Robinson, Pete Moore and Marve Tarplin in 1965. Another super honest track – talking of love, loss and longing. We’ve all been there – it’s a track easy to relate to. ‘Take a good look at my face, you’ll see my smile looks out of place, if you look a little bit closer, it’s easy to trace the tracks of my tears.’


“What ‘Cranes’ reveals is that time doesn’t heal all wounds, but instead you learn to live with the gashes. Solange’s voice is soothing, a balmy dressing for the lacerations. But she’s letting you know there will still be scars. It’s a song that reminds you that there is an ‘it’ you carry around, that you don’t always get the answers and that you don’t always get closure” – What Solange does so well on this track is to strike a balance between joyous and melancholy. There’s loss and there’s victory. - OKAYPLAYER


This song and video gives me an overwhelming sense of nostalgia – Headphones on, on the DLR heading out from Limehouse. Every single time. Bonzai’s lovely lyrics and soothing vocals blend perfectly with MM’s unique sound of organic and synthetic instruments. Throw in steel drums and squelching synths, you’ve got yourself a delicious cocktail of a track to sip on. Super in love with their tracks ‘Lovesick’ and ‘Firefly’ do give em a listen.


“The music on “History Lesson” is almost laughably gentle at first, and Jaar employs a trick favored by both John Lennon (“Run for Your Life”) and Paul McCartney (“Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”), juxtaposing inviting music with disturbing lyrics. Here’s how his history lesson starts: “Chapter one: We fucked up/Chapter two: We did it again, and again, and again, and again/Chapter three: We didn’t say sorry.” And so on. The words are a harsh rebuke of any political system. But the music is tender. And the track is bleak and funny, and naïve and wise, and political and personal. It feels like everything all at once. It feels like Sirens.” – PITCHFORK


Goldlink and Masego make fire together on the track ‘Late Night’. This track in particular I feel gives off a Frank Ocean-esque vibe. My only complaint – Goldlink tracks are too short, need more more more!


I know it says top ten but here’s one for the road. A track that I will never ever tire of. It’s some real funky shit not to be taken lightly. Andre 3000 and Big Bois story telling skills are outta this world this track in particular deserves a gold medal. Thank you Outkast.


You’ll hear these beauties on the Café Kumbuk playlists from time to time. We’ve got plenty more where that came from. Stay tuned.