Spice is right for street food pioneers Kochchi
Since last summer, Bonnie & Wild has been home to the award-winning Kochchi – Scotland’s first Sri Lankan street food business, pioneered by Suki Jayaratne and Shehan Fernando.
Born and raised in Sri Lanka, Suki and Shehan grew up eating the same vibrant dishes that saw their street food business Kochchi named People’s Choice winners of the Scottish Street Food Awards 2022. Swapping their converted horsebox mobile kitchen for a spot at Edinburgh’s Food Hall just over a year ago, the team now have a larger, less weather dependent space from which to serve their mouth-watering creations.
Most diners’ first encounter with Kochchi is their outrageously good kotthu – a generous mound of shredded and seared roti and fresh vegetables with either chicken, black pork, more veggies, cheese or cauliflower. Doused in a gloriously aromatic curry sauce before being drizzled with lime juice and topped with a fried egg, you’ll be daydreaming about this punchy yet comforting dish for the rest of the week. Their other must-try dish is a hopper: a crispy rice flour and coconut milk crepe formed into an edible bowl holding all sorts of satisfying savoury fillings complimented by homemade coconut sambal and sweet, sticky caramelised onions. But their menu also has a couple of standout newcomers, namely their cheese roti and devlish tatties!
Kochchi’s bold, authentic flavours allow them to stand out in a city that is inundated with long-established foodie hotspots and constant new openings. Their roaring success is partly down to the unique blend of spices they use: Shehan tells me that in Sri Lanka every family has their own curry powder. As the basis of every dish, the blend of spices varies from household to household, region to region. Kochchi, Shehan says, have developed their own spice profile, allowing them to bring a pinch of Sri Lanka to Scotland and ensure the exact taste of each dish and deliver consistent, distinctive flavours that can’t be found anywhere else.
Not ones to sit still, the ever-innovative duo have continued to spice things up with their new pop-up kitchen Okanda, which they launched at Bonnie & Wild a few back. With a menu that promised to redefine Southeast Asian street food, Suki and Shehan's latest offering featured an abundance of rich flavours and dishes including Thai Noodles, Vietnamese Rolls and Nepalese Momos, taking lucky diners on a delicious culinary journey across South East Asia.
As Suki and Shehan continue to grow Kochchi and nurture their latest brand Okanda, they also reveal that they’re planning to offer cooking demos later this summer, so get ready to witness the creation of some border-crossing, culture-blending fusion dishes that are bound to take the city by storm!
Kochchi is open every day at Bonnie & Wild from noon until 9pm (Sunday to Thursday) and 9.30pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
Images and words by Hilary Elliott aka @hilarycaneat