Cobbled floors, brick walls and snazzy colours, the famous Cricket Club Café’s new location is a celebration of the Island’s favourite sport and affable spirit. For weekend excitement or weeknight chills, head on over to enjoy your much-loved meals or to try something new. There’s something for everyone!
Words Keshini de Silva | Photographs Menaka Aravinda and Vishwathan Tharmakulasingham
A towering Kandyan and Baroque-styled rustic edifice stands out from the mundane white along suburban Colombo. The meeting of the East and West is an apt description of the architecture.
Pops of bright turquoise and greens adds a contemporary touch to the antiquated artsy air. This inviting villa of merriment embodies the tranquil spirit of Cricket Club Café, with a funky edge to it. Commemorating a 20-year journey, restaurateurs Gabrielle and James Whight sought to add a dynamic spin to the Colombo-staple.
Aromas of freshly brewed Arabica and whiffs of steaming comfort food linger in the air. By day, the patio and open bar replicate a relaxed bistro atmosphere. The coffee maker whirls with morning energy from 7.30 am brewing Sri Lankan grown Ruby Harvest beans. As the skies darken, the atmosphere livens, transporting diners away from the woes of the world. Foaming glasses clink with cheer while applause celebrates maximums, fours, wickets and even goals.
The main restaurant preserves the cosy identity of the Cricket Club Café. Memorabilia of cricketing greats, insignia of visiting rivals and photographs of a centuries old legacy decorate the unplastered walls. Patron-favourite barrels and bar stools from Bradman’s Bar have been left unaltered. Televisions airing cricket cater to every diner’s angle. The mezzanine level hosts a gallery great for private functions, yet is open to daily diners too.
Accessed from the staircase near the coffee counter, there is another secluded dining area with a prized seating section on the balcony. It’s ideal for those wanting to distance themselves from the rambunctious sports fans on game night. Survey city life from this lookout as you dig into a tantalising bevy of treats. Or linger about the restaurant’s many balconies enjoying views of the urban landscape.
The atmosphere at the new location designed by Ashok Ferry was the right combination of old-world charm and tasteful vibrance the Whights envisioned. However, maintaining the café’s distinctive character for the benefit of patrons was important to the owners. A consideration that echoes through the restaurant and bar.
Scrumptious spreads and generous portions continue to be a hallmark of the Cricket Club Café Menu. “I could not take anything off the menu because we have patrons for each dish,” mused Gabby. Yet, new additions mark a push to the more wholesome lighthearted dishes, with more grilled and chargrilled options. Look out for the Chris Kale salad, inspired by the batting sensation it is a lavish serving of kale, French dressing, bacon and a succulent poached egg. The Border Burger with its tender beef pattie, crispy fried onions, bacon and pineapple is a hard hitter. Along with the invigorating brews of coffees, the Eggs Benedict with Bearnaise sauce makes its debut on the Cricket Club Café menu. Veteran and debutante diners alike will find these dishes to their liking.
Whether it’s a hearty breakfast or quick lunch that you seek, Cricket Club Café is ready to treat your taste buds. Conveniently located, it provides a strategic time out for the city’s workaholics. Yet for sports fans the real delight will be at night, when the screens are animated with live scenes of cricket, football, rugby and tennis to cheer on.
Head over to the famous Cricket Club Café to dine in an entertaining atmosphere or a quiet ambience amidst the memories of legends.
12, Flower Road, Colombo 3
(+94 11) 257 4394