Who doesn't love a proper English tea?
Lisa Marie Keerthichandra is the brains behind the well-loved brand, Dottie’s Bakery (Check them out on Instagram). You may remember experiencing a proper English afternoon tea at Dottie’s tea room on Rosmead Place, complete with delicious scones, cakes and tea. It’s been growing in popularity ever since!
Lisa and Dash initially wanted to start a mobile afternoon tea company (very popular in England). “We shipped in all the vintage tea sets and I dug out my family recipes,” shares Lisa. “I started an Instagram page and it blew up! It was something Colombo fell in love with.”
“Setting up the tea room was exciting, but a complete culture shock!” With the different work mentalities and trying to get things done, Lisa faced hurdle after hurdle and eventually decided to take a step back from running the tea room.
Shortly after, Dottie’s Bakery popped up at Nihonbashi Café. And, after a 2-year hiatus to focus on raising a family (they have two lovely toddlers!), Lisa and Dash returned with a fresh outlook for Dottie’s. “During our break, we got calls and requests every single day asking for tea room bookings, cakes, scones and crockery rental,” reveals Lisa.
And, with more opportunities knocking on their door, it felt right to return, but not without help. That’s when long-term friend, Sapura Polpitiye, entered the picture. Upon returning to Sri Lanka after living in the UK, it made sense for the two friends to navigate the business together. Their goal? To open up different arms of the business that they already do and introduce even more to the mix.
Right now, they have a commercial kitchen next to their home (makes sense with a family to run!). They have their afternoon tea boxes and scones available for order and are at the Good Market every Saturday. Aside from this, they do event catering, crockery hire, pop-ups and street food festivals. They’re also working with a couple of exclusive hotels to develop their English afternoon tea.
And, they’ve got plenty more coming up: their very own tea brand, a range of jams and (wait for it…) they’re in the process of setting up a physical presence in Colombo! The concept will be different, the two Dotties tell me, but still very vintage.
Lack of gluten-free options. Be aware of common food allergies and offer options for them. (Dottie’s Bakery has an extensive gluten-free range both sweet and savoury).
Oily and sugary food. It’s important people understand that you can eat tasty food that is also healthy. There are other ways of making something taste good aside from salt and sugar. At Dottie’s Bakery, sugar is reduced by 20% in most recipes. A kids menu that’s healthier is also in development.
Non-kid-friendly restaurants. The food scene, sadly, has poor options for children. No high chairs and no menus for children that are reflective of what adults eat.
Be really authentic. Don’t cut corners and use cheap ingredients—quality is so important.
Use your hands and not a kitchen aid when making pastry. That’s the only way you know what you’re working with and to ensure consistency.
Be open to feedback and criticism. After all, you learn from your failures.
This article was originally published in the January 2020 issue of Cosmopolitan Sri Lanka. For more stories of inspiring women, grab a copy of our latest magazine or subscribe online.
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