Interview with Aushi Meewella, Owner, Kolomba
We spoke to Aushi Meewella, Owner of Kolamba, who takes inspiration from their neighbours in Kingly Court about why the site was perfect for their first restaurant.
1. Can you tell us about Kolamba? What led to how you started in Carnaby and why you chose the Kingly Street location?
Kolamba is a Sri Lankan restaurant based on authentic and traditional foods and flavours from the island and its various ethnicities.
As owners, our core business is property and design, and for us location was an integral part of giving the concept a fighting chance. We knew we wanted to be central – we knew it wanted to be in a food focused and food curious area.
When the Kingly site came up, we jumped at it (we had seen more than two dozen sites by this point). We loved the history and reputation of Carnaby as somewhere that has always been iconic, inspiring and pioneering.
2. What are the main benefits of being in your location?
Global multicultural footfall (as well as partners) – from Syrian restaurants to Taiwanese patrons, we love the diversity that this area attracts.
3. How do you think Carnaby has evolved to remain a globally renowned destination over the years?
I think Carnaby have been very clever in curating and encouraging smaller independent operators and realising the appetite from patrons for authenticity. While it was a bastion of British punk in its heyday, it now embodies the beautiful multicultural diversity that is London.
4. What’s your relationship with the community been like so far? How would you describe the community in three words?
Excellent – the community are like minded and people really support each other. In our opening days, Stevie Parle (Pastaio) Asma Khan and Mira Manek (Chai by Mira) all messaged or popped by to try the food, welcome us to the neighbourhood and say hello.
The three words I would use to describe the community are: supportive, generous and like minded.
5. What are a few of your favourite highlights since opening in 2019 and about the location?
We love all the buzz that’s a constant in Carnaby but the switching on of the Christmas lights is particularly lovely and really something of note for the area.