The 2nd portrait of our series “Meet the Sri Lankan locals”. Today we would like to introduce Irfan to you. He is owner of the “Cafe on the 18th” in Upuvelli, No. 21 Sarvodaya Road.
I was attracted by the place when I first passed it and saw the stylish and modern design of the interieur. A cool European-style coffee shop design – as you would find it somewhere in, lets say Copenhagen. Mixed up with nautical components, and handmade Sri Lankan furniture. Table and chairs are tailor made and beautifully designed, using local wood, a bench made of an old wooden railway track – placed on a cool gray cement floor. Sri Lankan locals where visiting the place as well as tourists. A colourful mixture.
But besides the look of the place, the idea of a real good strong coffee was very tempting as well. I guess it’s an open secret amongst travelers, that Sri Lanka is known for great quality tea and yummy fresh drinks, but the local coffee culture still leaves quite some room for improvement.
While enjoying a fresh Americano I talked to Irfan about his shop and ideas.
OCCUPATION: Cafe owner, studied commerce
CITY: Upuvelli, East coast Sri Lanka
AGE: 26 years
CITY OF BIRTH: Trincomalee
How did you come up with the idea for Café on the 18th?
After studying commerce I worked on the Maledives for four years. I was a sales manager for engineering equipments, but I always had the desire to run my own business.
How did you start?
I love street food and food trucks and came up with the idea of opening a café in the touristic area of Upuvelli. Together with my cousin, who is a chef and also works on Maledives, I discussed the idea and developed a plan for the menu and the kind of drinks and food to be served.
With the help of another cousin I created the design and interieur ideas and my father who is a retired carpenter, built the shop furniture by himself. I returned from Maledives in April and opened my café in October 2016.
What’s on the menue today?
I serve breakfast all day long. We offer porridge, eggs with Brioche or coconut-rice pudding with fresh Mango. Smoothies, fresh fruit juices and shakes and of course coffee in many varieties as espresso, cappucino, latte and more. This week we also offer paninis with different fillings, fried seafood noodles and our special Sri Lankan taccos. We change the menu regularly and always try new stuff.
Your TOP 3 to go in northern east coast area of Sri Lanka?
What do you like most about your job?
Meeting many people from all over the world.
Irfan is always looking forward to welcome new guests.
Visit Irfan on Facebook to find out more and to read some reviews about his Cafe.
See you there.