Paradise Island

Neomi Jesudasan, Franchise Owner, Thambapanni
Neomi Jesudasan, Franchise Owner, Thambapanni

Gone are the days when food was one of the reasons to miss home and you waited to return just for that meal as an iconic restaurant continues to bridge that gap

Published: Sat 4 Feb 2023, 9:00 AM

There are few things that have the power to transport you back home, over thousands of miles in a split second. One such thing is food. Dishes that one grew up eating, have a way of breaking down barriers and bringing all those cherished experiences vividly back to life. Home to more than 200 nationalities, the UAE has for long been the preferred destination for millions because of its various restaurants and food outlets that enable the expat community to maintain a link with their home.

For the millions of expats that call Sri Lanka home, Thambapanni, which was also the original name of the country, is continuing the legacy of serving authentic Sri Lankan cuisine. Throughout history, the beautiful island country of Sri Lanka has been known by many names. Some have called it the ‘Teardrop of India’, while to others it is the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’. But a more accurate description of the gorgeous nation might be the ‘Island of Rice and Curry’.

Like a dish that contains many ingredients, each adding a layer of flavour and exponentially increasing its taste, Sri Lankan cuisine too has adapted to the years of colonisation and influences of other cultures. The resulting dishes and foods that have come to represent this country are an exotic blend of different curry concoctions and tasty dishes.

There is no need to worry if you are unable to visit Sri Lanka to savour its food. For someone who has never tried Sri Lankan cuisine before, the Thambapanni provides the perfect opportunity for you to taste all that the great nation has to offer. The restaurant has stayed up to date, offering a true Sri Lankan meal from its comprehensive new menu. Meals include a range of typical Sri Lankan breakfasts, lunches with a spread of curries, exciting dinner choices as well as snacks and desserts.

The restaurant, founded and owned by Suren Swaminathan, more than four decades ago, offers a time machine through which foodies can travel back in time and enjoy delicacies in their pristine natural habitat. Swaminathan, a veteran in the food industry, has continued to uphold the sacred principles of his homeland. Expanding his restaurant, he further deepened the roots of his restaurant by opening another branch in the Al Nahda, Sharjah, which is run and owned by Neomi Jesudasan, franchise owner of Thambapanni. The little cosy restaurant offers a friendly environment, and all the staff are from Sri Lanka.

Allure of Home

Sri Lankan cuisine is unique to its culture, and in keeping with this, Thambapanni has taken all the necessary measures to keep its quality and standards to a higher level. The food outlet takes pride in serving Sri Lanka’s exclusive and authentic dishes, prepared by highly experienced chefs flown in from back home. Since 2020, Jesudasan has been running the Al Nahda, Sharjah branch of Thambapanni. She shares her experience about her culinary career, crediting Swaminathan and her family to be her motivation behind getting into the field.

“Cooking is a passion for me. It runs in the family genes. From my grandfather to my father and brothers, mostly the men from my family were involved in cooking rather than ladies. This encouraged me to share the very best Sri Lankan dishes with the people.” She further said: “Our ‘Lamprais’ is cooked and prepared authentically in Sri Lankan style. Recently we have introduced ‘Kidu rice’ and ‘String Hopper Pulaao’ to the menu, which is loved by everyone inside the community and has been well accepted by the taste buds of other nationalities as well.”

Thambapanni is a franchise concept, with another branch in the LuLu Hypermarket, Al Barsha, Dubai, offering an authentic taste of home to the Sri Lankan expats and the local UAE citizens and residents.

The restaurant remains committed to providing customers with the best culinary experience Sri Lanka has to offer.

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