By Sadira Sittampalam
In 2016, the Marine Drive area in Bambalapitiya was the location for fledgling food truck services. While there had been growth in the services and quality of these small businesses, nothing was quite like what the soon to be the owner of Crepe Runner Abdus Salaam had in mind. He decided to try his hand at starting a food truck, with an idea to start serving waffles that look like burgers. However, all these plans changed after a single trip to Melbourne, Australia which introduced Salaam to the magic of crepes, which had been served to him by an authentic French brand. Mystified by the taste of this concoction, Salaam was ready to bring this product to Sri Lanka, updating the recipe to suit our Sri Lankan taste buds.
Crepe Runner was officially launched on 4 January 2019, as a food truck, with the capacity to serve more than 200 crepes a day. Since their inception, they pride themselves on having never once compromised on the quality of the ingredients they use as well as on their customer service. As their popularity grew exponentially, they became the talk of the town as soon as they opened up their first branch. That initial hype continues to this day. Since then, Crepe Runner has evolved and expanded and although it was quite the learning curve for Salaam and his loyal team, they managed to open two new outlets in the span of two years, emphasising the success of their brand and their food.
We, at Ceylon Today, were invited to try out three of their bestselling menu items. We started with one of their Sweet Combo Crepes which consisted of Nutella, Kitkat, and Strawberries. The Nutella acted as the chocolate base, giving life to the crepe, while the KitKat gave it that extra crunch. Usually, I find two types of chocolates a little overwhelming as all that sugar makes me quite bloated and I usually get a little sick of it after a while, however, with the addition of the strawberry, there was a sour kick that made every bite very varied in terms of flavour, and therefore it was quite a hit. It was also much synthesised in terms of its textures as there was a nice hearty bite into the crepe itself, and then through to the thick serving of nutella, the soft crunch of the KitKat and the chewable strawberry slices. However, I do have to mention that this was a pretty messy meal to eat, as lots of these items kept leaking out of the crepe. It wasn’t a huge issue though as the taste more than made up for it.
The next crepe we tried was the savoury 'Chicken Slayer' which had a combination of chicken, cheese, and herbs. The chicken was made in some really convenient popcorn-like sizes so that each bite was really fulfilling and it was cooked to perfection where the outside was pretty crisp and the inside was soft and succulent. There were also a variety of vegetables that made the filling more varied and exciting in each bite, while the cheese topped it all off with a smooth finish. This option was not too messy and was still pretty stuffed with filling. Lastly, we tried the Oreo Milkshake. This one was also quite delectable, but didn’t have a very overwhelming Oreo flavour. There were also not a lot of little chunks of Oreo as everything seemed to have been blended down into the drink. Thus, while it was a tasty beverage, it just wasn’t what I expected to come from an Oreo milkshake.
We were able to visit their Mount Lavinia Branch which was a small yet cozy outlet. While you can sit down and enjoy your meal there as they have a few stools and a table placed along the orange walls, Crepe Runner is still primarily for take-away. With their open kitchen you can also sneak a peek at how everything is made, seeing how the immensely helpful staff work their magic in such a short span of time. Overall, all of their items are available for under Rs 500 which gives you a pretty fulfilling meal. They offer a pretty wide range of items too with sweet crepes, sweet combo crepes, savoury crepes, mojitos, and milkshakes, with quite a few items on this menu sure to strike your fancy!
(Pix by Amitha Thennakoon)