From Field to Fine Dining

Experiencing authentic Sri Lankan life is high on the list of most visitors to this beautiful island, especially when it means sampling the country’s delicious cuisine.

At Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle, the Harvest Table experience does just that, combining traditional farming methods, outdoor cooking, and the trend for the hyper-localisation of food.

Set in lush paddy fields within the hotel grounds, itself a 21-acre former coconut plantation, the Harvest Table experience begins in the lobby where guests are met and taken on a walk through to the organic gardens, tucked at the back of the property and delightfully positioned beside a stream.

The private tour of the gardens is conducted by Executive Chef Chaminda Pathirana. Along the way he showcases the types of produce growing and describes the traditional medicinal values of particular varieties. Perfectly ripe veggies are harvested, with guests getting a hands-on experience, before the tour winds its way to the traditional ’muluthange’ (kitchen) in the paddy field. While the chefs start to prepare the food, guests can unwind (and cool down) with a well-deserved fresh king coconut beverage.

Chef picking vegetables from garden in Sri Lanka for the Harvest Table experience Anantara Peace Haven

Executive Chef Chaminda Pathirana leads guests on the tour of the garden, harvesting fresh produce for their lunch.

A particular highlight is the arrival of Ranji, a local fisherman, who paddles down in his boat to deliver his catch of the day. Guests are given the chance to choose their own fish for their main course, under the guidance of the chef who describes the different tastes and textures on offer that day.

The experience culminates in a four-course lunch, set above the paddy fields in a private dining tree house. Rustic, with stunning views, it is a setting worthy of an Instagram post. Served with organic wine, each course is introduced by the chef, who describes the balance of favours and explains how the guest-picked raw veggies have been transformed into fresh fine dining.

With this experience, Anantara Peace Haven has created an experience that taps into the cultural and gastronomic heritage of Sri Lanka, whilst maintaining the luxurious standard that their guests expect.

Chef collecting fresh fish from a fisherman in a boat at Anantara Tangalle Harvest Table experience

Akila Roshen, Chef De Partie at Verela, welcomes the arrival of the catch of the day. Guest are given the option to choose their own fish, which is then cooked and served with red rice pilaf harvested from the resort, garden spinach and chef’s signature curry emulsion.

Hospitality Insider Issue 4