Named after the cinnamon plantations that used to cover this area in the 18th century, this genteel neighbourhood is now one of Colombo’s most coveted residential districts. Here, you’ll find an upmarket mix of businesses – from boutique stays and hip health-conscious cafés to respected art galleries.
1. Seed Café
With pastel-coloured walls and sunlight seeping through the wide-open windows, this health food joint has a cheerful vibe and serves a menu that’s equally as appetising. Visit with friends or family for a hearty brunch and don’t miss out on their popular pesto chicken bagel or their smoked salmon benedict while enjoying the relaxing ambience. On hot days, match the temperature with fresh cup of latte or cool off with the refreshing açai bowls and berry smoothies, packed with ingredients such as bananas, palm treacle and soy milk.
2. Srilax Stay
This minimalist-chic boutique stay pays homage to Sri Lankan heritage with earthen pots and string hopper mats dotted around the compound. You’ll be pleased to see that the humble decoration and furnishing is surprisingly welcoming. Each of the five spacious rooms feature houseplants and specially curated reading material, and the on-site café and boutique have a sustainability ethos.
3. Saskia Fernando Gallery
Gallery director Saskia Fernando hails from a design background and works closely with Sri Lankan artists and collectors to expand the growing art scene in the country. Featuring a diverse range of artists whose work explores issues such as migration and minority communities, this bright, inspiring space also plays host to regular art festivals.
4. Upali’s by Nawaloka
This Sri Lankan restaurant offers authentic local dishes such as the Lankawe Elu Mas Soup made from fresh local mutton bones served with mixed vegetables and lentils, and the Kukul Mas Mirisata, a Sri Lankan village-style chicken curry with chicken cubes. Spices are sourced locally and dishes are unique to the country only. The cosy light-filled interior that’s elegantly furnished is perfect for a delicious afternoon meal. Opened by David Cruse and Upali Dharmadasa – both high-profile individuals in the Sri Lankan business community, their goal is to create an environment ideal for families to relax and enjoy the comfort of Sri Lankan-style cooking.
5. PR Sri Lanka
Local fashion designer Annika Fernando personally curates PR, a concept store dedicated to South Asian couture and homeware. You can shop from many categories of clothing for all kinds of occasions from jumpsuits to evening wear. Browse homegrown fashion labels and bold, contemporary jewellery from regional designers. PR also customises its own range of artisanal candles and body care products.
6. Good Market Shop
Hidden inside the premises of Lakpahana, a popular handicraft store just off Reid Avenue, this sustainability-led boutique is easy to miss but is a treasure trove of its own. There are many sustainable brands housed within Good Market Shop for a curious shopper to explore. Inside, its wooden shelves are stacked with organic, homemade soaps and shampoo bars, ethical fashion accessories and other zero-waste products sourced from small-scale vendors across the country. Its sunny and airy courtyard is a community space that is available for meetings, workshops, events and popups.
7. Lakpahana Handcraft
If you’re a crafts lover, Lakpahana is the place to visit to get a sense of Sri Lanka’s art culture. Operating for more than 40 years, this charming space has been the hub for local artists all across the country to showcase their artistic talents while preserving the Sri Lankan traditional craft. Browse a selection of unique homemade products from masterfully made ceramics to exquisite wood carvings, batik and rush and reed homeware products and bring a souvenir or two home.
To learn more about Singapore Airlines flights to Colombo, visit singaporeair.com. For more information and travel advisories, please visit Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website.
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This article was originally published in the April 2020 issue of Silkwinds magazine and updated on 14 March 2021.