Colombo, Sri Lanka
Dharshan Munidasa (pictured) with Edward Benedict
What makes it special: Set in the preserved 400-year-old Dutch Hospital in Colombo with a minimalistic open kitchen format, Ministry of Crab is a true haven for crustacean fans, celebrating the Sri Lankan crab in everything from the dishes to the crab-claw plants that serve as the restaurant’s only décor. The restaurant was set up by chef-restaurateur Dharshan Munidasa together with cricketing legends Mahela Jayawardena and Kumar Sangakkara.
On the menu: As the name suggests, there is crab, crab and more crab. But that doesn’t mean there’s a lack of variety – diners can choose from the signature lagoon crab prepared in one of four ways – chilli crab, pepper crab, garlic chilli or Sri Lankan curry crab, and there’s also freshwater prawn prepared in a multitude of ways and king prawn bisque for those who fancy a change.
Meet the chef: Anything he lacks in formal training, chef Dharshan Munidasa makes up for in his passion for cooking and eating, and he certainly hasn’t been held back: the chef founded Nihonbashi in his early twenties and spent the next two decades ensuring it would become one of the best Japanese restaurants in the region. Alongside his two flagships, he also owns The Tuna & The Crab, a hybrid Japanese and seafood restaurant, and Kaema Sutra, focusing on contemporary Sri Lankan cuisine.
Other ventures: Munidasa recently launched Next Innings, a sports lounge together with Jayawardena and Sangakkara. He also invented Centella, a green juice that has gotukola, a herb traditionally used in Sri Lanka, as its main ingredient. He has starred in a TV series called Culinary Journeys with Dharshan, aiming to educate people on the quality of ingredients, particularly local seafood.
Images: Studio Fort