I grew up on Elephant House Hot Dogs and Ginger beer, of a quality that does not exist anymore.
As children our mom used to take us once a month for a hot dog and ice cream to the back of Fountain Cafe where the hot dog stand used to be right next to the little merry go round and swings - this used to be the highlight of the month and I can still close my eyes and see things as they were then.
A meal at Fountain Cafe was a special treat, and not to be taken lightly. This was where I had my first Spider - Lemonade and Ice cream, happily munching away at a grilled pork chop with chips to be followed by vanilla ice cream and nuts with chocolate sauce... Fountain Cafe got its name from the beautiful ornate fountain that graced the garden in front of the building.
Fountain Cafe was subsequently moved to the front of CCS, with the snack bar tacked on to the side of it - the little merry go round was gone. But the food remained just as good and for many years later we would still make our way there, now taking our mother there for a meal instead of her taking us.
Sadly there seems to be no place for nostalgia in the world of big business and soon economics took its toll on what was for many years a family restaurant and Fountain Cafe and its signature hot dog was no more.
An Elephant House Hot Dog made a come back subsequently, but for those of us who had had the real thing, it was a sad imitation of a great product. I remember talking with a young urn working for Keells at the time who, in exasperation, threw her hands up and proclaimed that she just could not understand this eloquent waxing about a sausage in a bun! Cant blame her being from another era, not knowing what it used to mean - to them it was a product to hype through sales and marketing...
It was therefor really no surprise to see Ginger Beer become branded as EGB - apparently to make it more appealing to a younger generation. It stuck me at the time that it was just a bunch of people with too much time on their hand fiddling with what was a really good product!
EGB I was quick to point out could also stand for "Eke Godayate Bon de" an interpretation I dont think many people involved with the product liked to hear! But I really thought it was stupid to go play with something that worked!
This afternoon I happened to be looking up ginger beer and it was indeed a pleasant surprise see that its been re branded to what it should be, Elephant Ginger Beer.
I'm wondering now if the Hot Dog will be back too? Not the one that they serve at the ODEL Food Court, oh no, I'm talking about the real kosher Fountan Cafe Hot Dog with that awesome sauce!
I'll end with two things
First a comment by Sanesh Fernando which I niked off someone's blog which describes well what a Fountain Cafe Hot Dog should be
The Elephant House HotDog is nothing compared to it’s previous Owner “Fountain Cafe” in Slave Island. I was very sad when Elephant House acquired ”Fountain Café” and closed it up. The Softness of the HotDog Bun and the Creaminess of the Special sauce they make is no more. Just the thought of it makes my mouth watered. It was those days that I gave Hot Dogs to Millennium IT staff, from “Fountain Cafe” for my First Salary Treat and for my Birthdays.
And to end a few of what I consider to be Colombo specials
a) The Original Fountain Cafe Hot Dog - now extinct
b) A Buriyani at Hotel De Buhary in Maradana
c) A mutton Chinese roll from Nippon
d) A Green Cabin Cream Bun and Lumprai
e) Lime juice and Coffee from Pilawoos
f) A Cheese kotthu from the place NEXT to Pilawoos
g) A kothu (regular) from Gihan's in Delkande(?)
h) Nan from Nana's at Galle face - Old Nana is no more, murdered one day as he sat in his wheelchair
i) The Crab curry they used to serve at the Chinese Restaurant (cant remember the name anymore) next to Alerics in Wella - Apuhamy was our favorite waiter and he gave us royal treatment.
j) A good malu pan
k) A string hopper buriyani from Hotel De Majestic
Be nice to see what else is there - feel free to add