Nihonbashi Opens Doors at Port City Colombo

May 02 2024.

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Nihonbashi, Chef Dharshan Munidasa’s flagship Japanese restaurant marked its relocation to Port City Colombo with an official unveiling held recently. H.E. President Ranil Wickremesinghe graced the occasion, cutting the ribbon to mark the restaurant open. Since its inception in 1995 at Galle Face Terrace, Nihonbashi has been at the forefront of the ‘washoku’ wave in Sri Lanka, boasting 29 years of rich history and expertise in Japanese cuisine.

Literally translating to “JapanBridge” Dharshan’s intention was to build a culinary bridge between Sri Lanka and Japan, bringing pure and unadulterated Japanese cuisine to Colombo. This led to Nihonbashi becoming the first restaurant from Sri Lanka to be featured on ‘Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants’ list, ranking consecutively from 2013 – 2018. Nihonbashi has also been an incubator for many other restaurants such as Ministry of Crab, Kaema Sutra and Carne Diem Grill; which all have strong influences on Japanese culinary philosophies.

In his relentless pursuit of promotion and dissemination of Japanese cuisine and the principles of ‘washoku’ Dharshan was conferred “The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays”, one of the highest honours granted by the Japanese Government. The evolution of Nihonbashi continues as it moves to its new home at Port City Colombo. The restaurant takes great pride in sourcing most of its ingredients locally, giving access to the best fish markets, and reserving imports for those exceptional ingredients not found in Sri Lanka.

Similarly, Dharshan designed Nihonbashi at Port City Colombo applying the principles of prioritising local materials, championing local sourcing and the use of sustainable materials. Of this process, he says “As a chef would walk the shoreline and farms in search of ingredients, I walked the quarries and bamboo forests to reverse engineer this ‘Japanese design by DNA’ restaurant. We handpicked stone boulders, quartz sand, bamboo and local timber with great care, to create this space that celebrates “ – Wa”.

This space is an ode to Japanese design, Japanese philosophy and the beauty of perfect imperfections: Wabi-Sabi.” The restaurant features 8 private dining rooms with a mix of Japanese tatami style seating and western style seating: Chikurin (Bamboo Forest), Bonsai, Ikebana, Samurai, Whiskey, Wine, Sake room and Tachinomi Bar, drawing inspiration from Dharshan’s Japanese heritage. The location exhibits an outdoor bar concept, along with what is possibly the largest Yakitori Grill in the world.

“There is no restaurant like this that exists anywhere around the world, not even in Japan, simply because of the thought process that goes into creating such a restaurant, where we wrote the menu first, designed the kitchen accordingly and used predominantly Sri Lankan materials to build it”, quotes Chef Dharshan. The menu will feature a combination of traditional Japanese cuisine and modern Japanese cuisine, ranging from A5 Japanese Wagyu, Sushi, Sashimi, Tempura, Teriyaki and Nabe, to a wide selection of yakitori, as well as Dharshan’s original dishes such as Olive Oil Kake Tai Cha, Foie Gras No Teriyaki, Karapincha Tempura and Tensabi Temaki.

Nihonbashi at Port City Colombo will be a space associated with global collaborations with renowned chefs and bartenders from around the world, to continue to create memorable experiences.

Pix courtesy Nihonbashi


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