The next stop on our Sri Lankan 'Food Safari' was the eclectic and quirky courtyard cafe that I'd been lusting over via Instagram for months – Poonie's Kitchen in Galle Fort. Immediately upon walking through the doors, we were greeted by cafe owner, Jo Eden, in what I came to suspect was her signature blend of friendly exuberance and boundless generosity. We were lucky enough to steal a few moments of her time to chat about expat life in Sri Lanka and the evolution of the Poonie's Kitchen concept.
A converted Dutch-colonial home inside the fort walls, you'll pass through Jo's own Mimimango boutique (think gorgeous resort wear, accessories and art) and into the 'secret garden' style café courtyard inside. Cue the tropical colour palette and quirky decor, the Araliya branches and dangling charms swaying in the breeze, and the gentle splashes coming from the fish pond, and you know you've struck gold. Fondly named after the home's former owner, Poonie's Kitchen is the quintessential healthy destination for foodies of Sri Lanka.
First up, we were treated to the yummiest café latté we'd had since landing on the island. Oh, how I've missed good coffee – it's my only vice! Quickly followed by a decadently thick and creamy mango smoothie (according to the sign by the bar, it's mango season in Sri Lanka! Yippee!).
It was a pleasant surprise to discover from Jo that the Poonie's Kitchen menu is also organic, with ingredients sourced either from a farm nearby or from Sri Lanka's lush hill country, known for it's exceptional fresh produce. And you can really taste the difference. I had spotted the incredible Salad Thali on Instagram long before I arrived in Sri Lanka, and it had been on my plant-foodie wish list ever since. With avocado smash, pomegranate arils, okra, shredded cabbage and carrot, mung bean sprouts and more, it was everything I'd hoped for; a rainbow-coloured plant-a-palooza fit for any jungle goddess.
Although it seems that Sri Lankan foodie culture demands a second stomach purely for dessert, alas, I have not yet achieved this skill. Seriously though, dessert comes out after every meal here; breakfast, lunch and dinner! Oh well, I guess that's just an excuse to return to Poonie's Kitchen on our way back up the coast, right? Plus, there's a bunch more smoothies to try and, so I've heard, a magnificent selection of teas.
Take me there...
63, Pedlar St, Galle, Sri Lanka