The Colombo Racecourse

Race Course Ground, Reid Avenue, Colombo 7

We've been looking forward to the opening of the refurbished Racecourse Grounds in Cinnamon Gardens. The old Dutch Hospital in Fort was renovated by the same authorities recently and they pretty much got it spot on, turning it into a lovely courtyard encircled by good restaurants and shops (see Ministry of Crab, Heladiv Tea Club, The Brewery by O!). Since the derelict Race Course was being done up under the same peeps, we expected it to turn out like Dutch Hospital - ie. awesome.

Right now, it doesn't seem that great. The space is beautiful and they've converted it well, but the downstairs has been given over to a strange assortment of not so interesting shops: Le Bond, Origins, Laksala (there's another handicraft shop literally about 200m down the street), ProMate World, Colours - and a McDonalds. None of these are very exciting, but they've been given vast amounts of space inside this lovely premises. These kinds of stores would be fine inside Crescat or a similar kind of shopping mall, but in this context they don't really make sense. What would make more sense would be to do what they did with Dutch Hos and just make it a good source of food and libation, quietly interspersed with some smaller more inoffensive shops. And a bar. Maybe a few bars.

It's a shame, because this is an ideal location for eating, drinking and mingling - the Racecourse could, like Dutch Hospital, have that nice terracey atmosphere. But as of now, it doesn't. They've currently got two restaurants, R&R and Tsing Tao. Tsing Tao serves Chinese, but we're not sure if it's open yet. R&R is on the upper floor, and the lounge has a lovely view onto the grounds. At the moment, however, they have an unfinished menu and no liquor license - apparently it'll come through in a couple of weeks. It's a fairly underwhelming place. It's an ordinary restaurant with an overpriced menu, albeit with a great view. We had a vanilla milkshake and lime soda, which together came to Rs. 862.

Only one part of the complex is open at the moment. It's a lovely building with a splendid view out onto the broad expanse of green. Perhaps they have better plans for the rest of it. Hopefully.
Posted by on 23 October 2012
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නවීකරණය කරන ලද කුරුඳුවත්තේ තුරඟ තරග පිටිය හෙවත් රේස්කෝස් විවෘත වනතෙක් අපි මග බලා සි‍ටියා. කොළඹ කොටුවේ පැරණි ලන්දේසි රෝහල නවීකරණය කර විවෘත කළේත් නාගරික සංවර්ධන අමාත්‍යංශය විසින්මයි. ඒ ලස්සන තැන ගැන විස්තර මේ ලිපිවල තිබෙනවා. (බලන්න කකුළු අමාත්‍යංශය, හෙළදිව් තේ සමාජය, The Brewery by O!). අපි හිතුවේ ඔවුන් විසින් නවීකරණය කරන ලද රේස්කෝස්එකත් ඒ වගේ විශිෂ්ට තත්වයෙන් ඇතිය කියා. ඒත්, එහෙම නැහැ.

එහි අවකාශය සුන්දරයි. එය හොඳින් නවීකරණය කරලා. ඒත්, මේ සුන්දර ස්ථානයේ බිම්මහලේ සුවිසල් ඉඩක් වෙන් කර දී තිබෙන්නේ එතරම් ආකර්ශනීය නොවන Le Bond, Origins, ලක්සල (මේ පාරේ මීටර් 200ක් ඔබ්බෙන් තවත් අත්කම් වෙළඳසලක් තිබෙනවා), ProMate World, Colours සහ McDonalds නම් ආයතනවලටයි. මේවා හොඳයි ක්‍රෙස්‍කැට් හෝ වෙනත් එවැනි ෂොපිං මාල් එකකට.  මෙතන නම් ඒවායේ තේරුමක් නැහැ. මෙතැන ඩච් හොස්පිටල් වගේ හොඳ ආහාරපානත්, බීමහල් හා කුඩා හොඳ මට්ටමේ සාප්පුත් සහිත තැනක් වුණානම් හොඳයි. මෙතැන කුලිය ඉතා ඉහළයි. ඒ වගේම කුලිය වසර දහයක් වෙනුවෙන් එකවර ගෙවියයුතුවත් තිබුණා. මෙහෙම ‍වුණේ ඒ නිසා වෙන්නත් ඇති.

හමුවන්න, කන්න, බොන්න, මුසුවන්න හොඳ අවකාශයක් බවට පත්කරන්න තිබුණු තුරඟ තරග පිටියට මෙහෙම වීම අපරාධයක්. එහි දැනට අවන්හල් දෙකක් තිබෙනවා. ඒ R&R සහ Tsing Tao. සිං ටාඕ පිරිනමන්නේ චීන කෑමයි. ආර් ඇන් ආර් තිබෙන්නේ ඉහළ මාලයේ. එහි සෝපාහලට පිටිය හරි ලස්සනට පෙනෙනවා. ඒත්, එය තවම හරිහැටි විවෘතද කියා සැකසහිතයි. දැනට ඔවුන්ගේ මෙනූපත සකසා අවසන් නැහැ. ඒ වගේම මත්පැන් බලපත්‍රයකුත් නැහැ. සමහරවිට සති කීපයකින් හරියන්න පුළුවන්.  එය මිළ අධික ඉහළ පෙළේ තැනක්. ඒත්, තරම් නිර්මානශීලී ලෙස සැලසුම් කර නැහැ. අපි වැනිලා මිල්ක්ෂේක් හා ලයිම් සෝඩා බිව්වා. මේ සාමාන්‍ය බීම දෙකට මිළ රු. 862යි, එතැන සිට බලපු සුන්දර දර්ශනයටත් එක්ක.

සංකීර්ණයේ එක් පැත්තක් විතරයි තවම විවෘත. එය සුන්දරයි. තුරඟ තරග පිටියේ තණ නිල්ලේ සුන්දර දර්ශනයක් එහි සිට බලන්න පුළුවන්. අනෙක් කොටස සම්බන්ධයෙන් සමහරවිට මීට වඩා හොඳ සැලසුම් තිබෙන්න පුළුවපොරොත්තුවෙන් සිටිමු.


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  • DavidBlacker

    Being opposite a school, there's no way any place in there will get a liquor license.

    22 October 2012 02:26 PM Reply
  • Hakiem Hanif

    The reason they have a macdonalds in there is only because they plan to use the ground to host international rugby matches(whether that happens or not is an entirely different matter!)

    22 October 2012 07:20 PM Reply
  • t-diddy

    They could've used a different array of resturants… and a different array of shops.

    Why Mcdonads? and an over priced chinese resturant?. What a clash…they could have a nice coffee shop…(since that's the craze these days), a restaurant similar to breeze bar or chutneys or Bars.

    And shops similar to Kelly Felder, Cotton Collection and Mondy would have worked out there…

    If they were going for middle market Mcdonalds, Subway, Fab…would have done well…and I'm sure there are enough middle market clothing/accessory wear brands available.

    Anyway seeing some totally new franchisees would be real nice.

    23 October 2012 04:23 PM Reply
  • Sylvie

    Another cheap, horrible & smelly, Mac Donald, I mean honestly, what's wrong with you people?? Couldn't you think of something a bit more elegant, new & unusual to fit in such a beautiful, amazing building? ! A nice cafe, or a trendy salad bar, with homemade panninis & sandwiches would have been so much better. You know, something NEW, that looks good, taste good & something healthy that doesn't turn your beautiful people into obese monsters.

    23 October 2012 05:19 PM Reply
  • Ishan

    May be they can serve liquor in the nights… from 7pm to 2 a.m.

    Also would love to see some organic/whole food stores/restaurants

    25 October 2012 01:17 AM Reply
  • Sharanya Sekaram

    I doubt there will be a liquor license issue coz apparently racecourse already had one before back in the day…

    Oh man the shops were such a let down

    26 October 2012 01:56 PM Reply
  • Divin3vil

    Forget the shops - R&R was terrible. We spent 45 mins on a Sunday night waiting for our dinner order (overpriced is an understatement!) only to be served with the most horribly bland tasting food ever. I'd opt for a saiver any day -_-

    05 November 2012 09:50 AM Reply
  • Annoushka Hempel

    MACDONALDS!!!!! what is wrong with you????? this is a complete crime. Such a beautiful location, ruined with a giant neon M and disgusting unhealthy obese making food! This concept is completely and utterly backwards. What happened to city beautification? What is it going to take for you see have some vision!!!??? I nearly cried when i saw it. So many people are completely horrified. Sigh……

    09 November 2012 09:00 PM Reply
  • Rakhitha

    The reason they have a macdonalds in there is only because there is a school with 7000+ students in front of it. Another school with 3000+ students and a university within walking distance.

    02 January 2013 06:31 AM Reply
  • tina

    The food at R and R was overpriced and not very tasty. The chicken pasta I had was terrible with the meat having no flavour at all and it was very oily.

    20 January 2013 09:49 PM Reply
  • MilindaJ

    R&R: crap, overpriced food and very poor service.

    04 March 2013 06:32 AM Reply
  • Shashi

    Heyyyy I had the best crab dish at RnR. Also the beverages were nice. Good place to start late afternoon and continue to have dinner. Loved the experience with the juke box. I had good time,,, go there again for sure

    08 March 2013 07:37 AM Reply
  • pooh

    RnR was really disappointing! overpriced menu and and i was not impressed by the food! two thumbs down!

    03 April 2013 04:13 AM Reply
  • Buwa

    R&R Food was overpriced but tasted ok…. cocktails were gud……

    11 April 2013 12:11 PM Reply
  • JustMe

    RnR was Horrid! from food and the people that were eating there… went ther few weeks back… with great expectation. was sadly disappointed… Probably the most overpriced mediocre food I have had in a long time. Had a stake that was about 2500-3000Rs… it was a like piece of leather. Other people at the table had Steamed fish… had no flavour! Same goes for the pasta dish and the soupr we had to start with… Talked to the manager and Chef(cook?) at great lengths. they kept insisting they replace my food… I declined the offer of getting more of the same crap. Drank my glass of wine and paid the the bill of 10,000Rs and left….

    I asked the staff who the owner was and does he not care or know what you are guys are serving up… He seems to have dumped a lot on money in here… Apparently some guy named Harsha…… Some Hi tech guy his first attempt at restaurant… Apparently he is kicking out "O" at dutch hospital and opening up a Night Club…

    Side note… I did notice several nouveau riche people that seem to enjoy their overpriced hot batter Cuttle fish like dishes… I could hear them chew clear across the room. To each their own I guess.

    17 April 2013 05:52 AM Reply
  • Happy

    What a perfect night Saturday was! The staff was excellent! The Band was great! The table setup is gorgeous! The food and drinks flowing! Everyone had a wonderful time! It was just as I imagined! You made it happen! And all because you made it happen :) Thank you RnR Team
    And again --- it's also a matter of taste.

    14 May 2013 02:40 AM Reply
  • kazzo

    Tsing tao…the chinese restaurant is the perfect place for a date… food is awesome! best pork iv had in awhile !!!

    05 June 2013 10:15 PM Reply
  • sri

    very very average tasting food…. will not recommend to any one….

    19 November 2013 03:07 AM Reply
  • sri

    sorry i forgot the mention the restaurant it is r & r

    19 November 2013 03:08 AM Reply
  • Kamal

    Took my kids one evening for a stroll there thinking there will be something interesting to do. But there was simply nothing of interest. To top it off they were not allowed to even sit on the grass area outside the rugby ground. What a disappointment. We are becoming too Singaporean/Atificial.

    07 December 2013 08:41 PM Reply
  • Rajithe

    I think this article needs updating. Seems out of date.

    03 March 2014 03:47 AM Reply
  • Vindya

    I could find the Tea Board restaurant in Race Course to add this review under Kamu but I thought I will write here.

    We had to wait for 45 minutes to get a chicken submarine and fish n chips one portion. the chicken BBQ was not even ready after 45 minutes and wanted to cancel which was not allowed and had to wait another good 30 minutes to take it away instead of eating there. The service is extremely bad. Since we were seated upstairs, we had to walk up to the waiter to ask for drinking water.

    It was our first visit to the tea board restaurant as race course and definitely the last too. Will not recommend for anybody.

    05 May 2014 12:41 AM Reply
  • zen

    Needs to be updated

    18 June 2014 12:41 PM Reply
  • Anonymous

    Is the above comment by Annouschka Hempel the renown interior designer and hotelier? If so, take note people, heed the advice of people who have made a name for themselves in their field!

    10 September 2014 01:01 AM Reply