Dharshan Munidasa

Dharshan Munidasa is Sri Lanka’s most renowned chef-restaurateur, best known for having founded Nihonbashi, Ministry of Crab and Kaema Sutra, some of Sri Lanka’s most successful restaurants.

Nihonbashi, Dharshan’s first venture founded in 1995, serves inspired fine Japanese cuisine and uses local ingredients, creating unique dishes employing Japanese cooking philosophies. It was one of the only two restaurants in Sri Lanka to be listed on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants (2013-2018). He followed this up with Ministry of Crab in 2011, partnering with Sri Lankan cricket legends Mahela Jayawardena and Kumar Sangakkara, listed on the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants since 2015.

Dharshan also owns Kaema Sutra in partnership with Bollywood actress Jacqueline Fernandez, plating up Contemporary Sri Lankan Cuisine. He then ventured into establishing The Tuna & The Crab in Galle, a hybrid Japanese and Seafood restaurant. Having opened Café Nihonbashi at the Radh Hotel in Kandy, Dharshan introduced Casual Washoku serving a selection of signature Japanese dishes from Nihonbashi. In 2018, Dharshan together with Mahela Jayawardena and Kumar Sangakkara opened Next Innings in Colombo, a sports lounge featuring 14ft Video Walls and surround 75” screens.

Dharshan is known for his focus on high quality, fresh ingredients that he often pairs with Japanese cooking philosophies. Over the years Dharshan has been invited to prepare degustation menus in various establishments across the world; including the Regent in Taiwan, the Intercontinental Hotel in Sydney, the World Gourmet Summit in Singapore, Shangri–La at The Shard in London, Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok, Four Seasons in Mumbai, Cheval Blanc Randheli, HuvafenFushi Maldives, The Sukhothai Shanghai, The Banyan Tree Bangkok and Atlantis Sanya.

For staying true to the roots of Washoku, Munidasa was the first non-Japanese chef to be featured on the Japanese TV Series Nippon Shokudo for TV Tokyo in 2011, where the episode 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.

Moreover, being of Japanese-Sri Lankan descent, Dharshan’s contribution to Japanese Culture was recognized by the Japanese government when he was presented The Minister’s Award for Overseas Promotion of Japanese Food for the year 2014. Dharshan is also an ambassador for ‘Cool Japan’, appointed by the Japanese government for the spread of Japanese culture.

From creating original dishes, to sourcing ingredients, Dharshan’s hands on involvement and his meticulous attention to detail have allowed him to revolutionize Sri Lanka’s gastronomic landscape and his restaurants have put Sri Lanka on the global culinary map. For these efforts, he was awarded the Business Today Passionate award 2017, which recognized 13 self-made passionate personalities in Sri Lanka who have single handedly created revolutionary concepts and successfully made them a reality.