Kothu Labs; a great place to expand your tastes

Kothu Labs
Photo credit: Brian Turner.
Posted on: January 18, 2021

Perth’s newest purveyor of great food, Kothu Labs is a great departure from the usual fare. Not that the usual fare in Perth is bad; on the contrary, this picturesque heritage community has more than its share of top-notch dining establishments covering a wide variety of cuisines and food cultures. Kothu Labs, located at 40 Foster Street serves authentic Sri Lankan food with their main course being called kothu, hence the name of the facility. Kothu roti or kottu is to Sri Lanka as hamburgers are to North America in terms of popularity.

A base of roti (unleavened bread), chickpeas, pasta, fries, noodles or rice, is chopped together with fresh veggies, meat, and seasonings and cooked on a flat-top griddle. Diners are given choices of the base, veggies, meat, and type of sauce, but for the uninitiated, their menu has some popular mixtures listed for easy selection. On a recent Sunday afternoon, my wife and I dropped in. First and foremost, if you plan on opting for some appetizers (or even sharing one between 2) along with your mains, come hungry as the portions are generous at Kothu Labs. I chose the beef kothu with egg, onion, chili, carrot, leeks, cabbage and banana pepper and my wife (looking for low heat) had the shrimp kothu with a sweeter and less intense spice heat.

The Kothu Labs’ chef is loyal to the culture of these dishes, using spices to accentuate and not overpower the great mixture of flavours from the ingredients. In Sri Lanka the common spices used in daily meals are coriander, turmeric, cumin, pepper, mustard and fennel seeds, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom. Both of our dishes certainly brightened up an otherwise grey-skies afternoon. The combination of ingredients provided great taste and the textures and spices elevated these South-Asian dishes to a new level. And unlike some spice-heated dishes from other cultures, kothu servings won’t leave you with any unpleasant lingering aftertastes.

For the less adventurous and perhaps younger tastes Kothu Labs has many choices of meat and spring rolls, meat patties, samosas, along with pasta and pizza choices. But don’t assume someone in your party won’t adopt kothu dishes as their new favourite: as your mother always told you, you won’t know unless you try. And for vegetarians, they have undoubtedly one of the most diverse menus in the region. Our lunch came to a reasonable $45 before tax and tip.

The founders of Kothu Labs fully intend on opening more restaurants in Ontario, but those who live in or visit this area are lucky that when they first visited Perth, they, like many others, were captivated by its vibrancy which is a perfect match for the nature of their dishes, so it got the nod for the flagship location. They plan on a full seven-day per week schedule, but our current pandemic has temporarily reduced their hours, so calling ahead (or checking their website and/or Facebook page) to check on their hours is recommended. The front entrance is wheelchair accessible and they have a great outdoor patio area that will come alive with the warmer weather. You can reach them by phone at 613-201-5227 or visit them online at restaurantji.com/on/perth/kothu-labs and there’s plenty of on-street parking nearby.

Column by Brian Turner

Hometown News
Author: Hometown News