Photography by Steve Painter

Colombo 16 are relatively new kids on the block and add a taste of Sri Lanka to the multi-cultural cuisine offering we already have in the area. Their Marine Court restaurant opened just six months ago with Caleb Joseph at the helm. Caleb is Brighton born but his father is Sri Lankan and he feels a strong sense of Sri Lankan heritage. By day, they offer a fusion brunch with some traditional Sri Lankan options, by night, contemporary curries, short eats and desserts intended for sharing.

Their dishes are based on family recipes passed down from Caleb’s grandparents and his mother roasts the family’s curry powder recipe. These recipes are modernised with an ingredient-led approach sourcing locally and importing weekly from Sri Lanka. Caleb has kindly offered up a recipe for Dahl curry for you to make at home.

Caleb Joseph, owner of Colombo 16 in St Leonards

Dahl Curry: Colombo 16


1 cup red split lentils 
2.5 cups water divided
2 red onions, chopped
1 tsp ginger
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 sprigs of curry leaves

1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin powder
½ tsp coriander powder
1 tsp salt
1 pinch of dill seeds
½ cup full-fat coconut milk


1 tbsp oil
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 red or green chili, sliced
1 sprig of curry leaves

For the Dahl

Wash the red lentils until the water runs clear. Into a pot add red lentils, 1.5 cups of water, ½ the chopped onions, curry leaves, minced ginger, sliced garlic, turmeric powder, cumin powder, and coriander powder. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat to medium, cover the pot and cook the lentils until all the water is absorbed and the lentils are cooked through. This would take about 15–20 minutes.


In a pan, heat the oil and add the other 1/2 of chopped onions, cumin seeds, curry leaves, the sliced chili and once golden, add the mustard seeds. Cook until the mustard seeds start to pop. Pour the tempering into the cooked Dahl. Add the coconut milk, salt and stir to combine. Cover and let it all simmer for five minutes. Check the seasoning and add more salt if needed or more coconut milk if you require a thinner consistency. Serve Dahl with rice, roti or even some fresh bread. We finished ours off with some coriander oil and crispy curry leaves. ⚫


Colombo 16, 17-19 Marine Court, St Leonards


  • Mel Elliott

    Originally from Barnsley in South Yorkshire, Mel Elliott graduated with an MA from The Royal College of Art in 2007, after which she started her publishing label, I Love Mel. Mel's pop-culture colouring books have sold worldwide and her children's books have been published in many languages. Mel has worked on projects with major publishers in the UK, USA, Italy, Taiwan and South Korea. She is currently working on her first YA novel... as well as Get Hastings.

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