Get to know the founders of Ministry of Crab, Mahela Jayawardena, Kumar Sangakkara & Dharshan Munidasa.


Sri Lanka’s most renowned chef-restaurateur Dharshan Munidasa is the mastermind behind some of the best restaurants in the country including Nihonbashi and Ministry of Crab; the only restaurants from Sri Lanka to have ever been ranked on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants List. Born in Tokyo, to a Japanese mother and Sri Lankan father, Dharshan unearthed his passion for cooking during his time at Johns Hopkins University, USA. Nihonbashi, Dharshan’s first venture founded in 1995, serves inspired fine Japanese cuisine and uses Sri Lankan ingredients, to create unique masterpieces stemming from Japanese culinary philosophies. It was the first restaurant in Sri Lanka to be listed on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants List in 2013 and ranking successively on the list until 2018. He followed this up with Ministry of Crab in 2011, partnering with Sri Lankan cricketing legends Mahela Jayawardena and Kumar Sangakkara. The restaurant has been consecutively listed as one of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants from 2015 to 2022; and has expanded to Shanghai, Chengdu, Maldives, and Bangkok. While expanding Nihonbashi to the Maldives, he also created Carne Diem Grill an avant-garde steakhouse with a unique charcoal grill engineered by Munidasa himself, that operates at a temperature of 750 ̊C, cooking premium cuts of Australian Wagyu in a matter of minutes.

For staying true to the roots of Washoku, Dharshan was the first non-Japanese chef to be featured on the Japanese TV series Nippon Shokudo for TV Tokyo in 2011, which was filmed in Sri Lanka at Nihonbashi Restaurant. He has also been featured on episodes of Rick Stein’s Far East Odyssey on BBC, UK and Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown on CNN. He has also been invited to prepare degustation menus in various establishments in multiple cities around the world including Tokyo, Paris, London, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Sydney and Dubai.

Being of Japanese-Sri Lankan descent, Dharshan’s contribution to Japanese Culture was recognized by the Japanese government, when he was presented with The Minister’s Award for Overseas Promotion of Japanese Food for the year 2014. He is also an ambassador for ‘Cool Japan’, appointed by the Japanese government for spreading Japanese culture overseas and in 2021 he was appointed as a “Japanese Cuisine Goodwill Ambassador'' by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in Japan, for his continuous effort toward the dissemination of Japanese food and dietary culture overseas. In 2023 Dharshan was awarded the “Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays” by the Government of Japan in recognition of his distinguished contributions to promoting Japanese Food Culture in Sri Lanka as well as to the bilateral relations between Japan and Sri Lanka.


A former Sri Lankan cricket captain, Kumar Sangakkara is widely regarded as one of the world's most influential cricketers. He is presently the Chair of the prestigious Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) World Cricket Committee and the recipient of multiple awards by the International Cricket Council including being voted best Player of the Year, Cricketer of the Year and the ‘People’s Choice’ at the ICC Awards (cricket’s equivalent to the Academy Awards) in 2012. Kumar’s stature beyond his cricketing prowess continued to grow with the prestigious LMD magazine nominating him as their Sri Lankan of The Year (SLOTY) for 2011.Earlier in 2011, having become the first active cricketer to be invited to deliver the Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC)‘Cowdrey Lecture’, Kumar was invited to join the MCC World Cricket Committee (WCC). In 2019 & 2020 he held the prestigious position of President of the MCC, becoming the first non-British person to ever hold this coveted title. In June 2021, he was inducted to the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame and became the second Sri Lankan to be inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame. He currently commentates on international cricket tournaments as a Cricket Broadcaster for Sky Sports. He is Director of Cricket for the global franchise operations of the Rajasthan Royals and the Head Coach of their IPL Team.

Travelling the world due to his cricketing career and the subsequent exposure to different cuisine increased Kumar’s affiliation with the culinary scene, and it was in this role as a food enthusiast that he became fast friends with Chef and Restaurateur Dharshan Munidasa. Opening a restaurant was something both Kumar and his wife, Yehali had always wanted to do, but admit to not having the necessary know-how. So, when Dharshan brought up the idea of Ministry of Crab it was an ideal opportunity to realize this dream, and having his close friend and teammate Mahela onboard cemented his resolve. As Deputy Chairman Kumar provides his input on all major decisions, especially those concerning the menu and quality. He attributes the Chilled Steamed Crab served with warm Butter Sauce to his insistence and the much-favoured Pol Sambol comes from a Sangakkara family recipe.

Kumar is also greatly admired for his charity work with UNAIDS. He is a trustee of the Colours of Courage focusing on cancer causes in Sri Lanka and a trustee of Ayati, supporting their initiatives to support children with disabilities in Sri Lanka.

Kumar Sangakkara

A two-time captain of the Sri Lankan national cricket team, Mahela Jayawardena is a cricketing legend considered one of the best cricket tacticians in the world. He holds a longlist of Sri Lankan batting records, including the most runs in Test cricket, the highest score in Test cricket and a world record with Kumar Sangakkara for the highest partnership in the history of first-class cricket. He has been the recipient of multiple awards for his performance throughout the years, including the prestigious ICC Spirit of Cricket Award 2013.In November 2021, Mahela was inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame. Since retiring as a cricketer, he has embarked on a successful coaching career and served as Head Coach of Mumbai Indians from 2016 to 2022 winning three titles and has since become their Global Performance Director overseeing its franchise teams in the Men’s IPL, Women’s IPL, SA20 and ILT20. He was also Head Coach of Southern Brave, Southampton in 2021 and 2022.

Travelling the world during his many cricket tours exposed Mahela to diverse culinary experiences and opportunities to meet restaurateurs, which cultivated his interest in food culture. Being a loyal customer of Nihonbashi led to a friendship with Dharshan Munidasa who shared his vision for the development of Sri Lanka’s culinary horizons. When Dharshan put forth the idea for a restaurant dedicated to seafood, Mahela stepped into partner with him, giving flight to his own gastronomic aspirations. As Chairman of Ministry of Crab, he was actively involved in the project from inception and was keen to ensure that his personal favourite dish, Chicken Curry Rice was added to the menu, making it one of the few non-seafood dishes on the menu and a hit amongst many diners.

Mahela is a committed fundraiser for various cancer projects around the world, initiating multiple projects in Sri Lanka.