Ecclesall Road’s Colombo by Ayubowan on adapting and spending its first birthday in lockdown

Colombo by Ayubowan opened its doors on Eccy Road last summer, bringing a taste of Sri Lanka to the area. Where did the inspiration to open the restaurant come from and how were things going before we entered into the coronavirus pandemic?
Sheffield is such a vibrant and lively location, so it was difficult to say no to the city. We also noticed there wasn’t any solely Sri Lankan cuisine around the area, and wanted to bring a taste of Sri Lanka to the people. This is actually our third restaurant; we have two other sibling restaurants in Glossop, ‘Ayubowan’, and one in Tansley, ‘Colombo by Ayubowan’, all run by close family.

When we first opened in Sheffield we had such a warm welcome from the locals, many who had either visited Sri Lanka or even had their honeymoon there; they were so happy that to experience a part of being in Sri Lanka without the long flight, and we were delighted to be able to provide this. The summer was busy and kept us on our toes with outdoor events, buffet nights and parties – and we loved every minute of it.

How has the business since adapted?
Our service hours have dropped drastically, due to the sit-on restaurant, bar and lunch with coffees options being unavailable; so we are open now for five days a week instead of 7, due to staffing limitations. However, we have adapted and are currently running as a takeaway service on multiple platforms and also giving collection customers 25% discount, whilst still following government guidelines as safely as possible. We appreciate the regular support and custom that we have received so far in this difficult situation.

What can you tell us about the staples of Sri Lankan cuisine and the menu on offer?
We offer an overall taste of Sri Lankan cuisine, from street food to curries made from mum’s secret recipe. Some dishes are traditional whilst others may have a contemporary twist. Keep an eye out as the menu is getting an update soon!

Moving forward, what sort of potential plans are you making for reopening?
As lockdown starts to slowly ease off we are looking at how we can potentially open, with our main priority being ensuring that our customers and staff are safe. With it being great weather at the moment, we are looking at opening up our outdoor seating for a limited number of people, who can come and grab a drink and have a snack without having to enter the building. This is in the works and will be updated on our social media accounts when we are certain it is a safe system in place. // @colombo_restaurant_sheffield

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