The Colombo Swimming Club is perhaps one of the most well known clubs in Colombo. It's got a bit of history and traces its roots back to 1936 when British expatriates needed a sort of family club with a pool. The pool's big and all but the food is what makes the biggest splash.
The FoodThe CSC offers typical club type food both taste and price-wise. In its golden age (about two years ago) the CSC topped my list in many dishes. Though the taste is still great, there are signs that the CSC’s claim to the culinary kingdom is beginning to recede.
For a starter I ordered one of their popular bites, The hot buttered cuttlefish. This was once the King of Calamari, but I can now say with confidence that the one from Bixton Street Café might usurp it. Both of them are in a league of their own however. For some reason the HBC I tried today was a bit too soft; it lacked the pleasant crunch you’d expect. Even their usual hot buttered sauce was lacking. The accompanying caramelised onions offer a bit of sweetness too. This is more than enough to share with three others as a light bite.
Now, if you’re a carnivorous lad like me, or a hulking monstrous barbarian, try out their meaty mixed grill(Rs.950). This steaming, sizzling platter of succulent cuts of meat and sausage (Lamb, pork, chicken, beef) is the sort of feast you’ll see in an Asterix comic. It has a scanty portion of veggies on the side, which is perfect. A serving of pineapple is mixed up in the dish which offers a seductive sweetness. The portion, which comes with mash and egg by the side is huge. So, eat this only if you’re very, very hungry, or have finished ploughing through the legions of Caesar himself.
If you’re not exhausted and spent after wrestling with the mixed grill try their dark side of the moon (Rs.250). This is essentially a chocolate sundae, drenched with chocolate sauce and nuts. Yes, before you ask you get a cherry and wafer too (yippee). It’s a fairly large, tasty option that comes at a decent price considering other sundaes.
Since its inception the CSC has been known for its exclusivity. Its service is good and its seaside location is ideal if you want to spend an evening to simply unwind. Evenings are pretty active and crowded. More often than not they feature a buffet, sandwich promotion or the like (Good luck getting parking on weekends).
The evening staff consists of veterans who’ve served for years and are likely to remember you and your usual orders. The club itself is actually large and apart from the two pools, features a bar, a separate enclosure honouring the late member Arthur C. Clarke, a fully equipped gym, and even badminton and squash courts. It also has rooms for guests though the rates are a tad bit steep.
The main building, the Storm Lodge, was made pre-independence and still retains its 20th century colonial facade. The rest of the buildings are airy, modern and complement the lodge well.
Clubs like this will usually cost you big time to sign up, but if you’re a member or have been the guest of a member you’ll know it’s well worth your while.
It’s called the swimming club, so this ought to be a good place for a swim - and it is. Apart from splashing it out in the pool, you can also dive into their excellent club-level food.
It’s called the swimming club, so this ought to be a good place for a swim - and it is. The pool isn’t going to win any awards for design, but its large, and just feet from sea. Once again though the pool might be the only place on the club’s terrace from where you don’t get a sea view, but you do get an eyeful of the old club house and the Colpetty’s skyline while you’re splashing about.