1. The Union’s VOC cafe on the veranda is open to the public. VOC is the acronym for Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, the Dutch East India Company.
2. Unwrap and enjoy the Lamprais, the Union’s signature dish, a portion of mixed meats and rice packaged into a banana leaf.
3. The chocolate biscuit pudding is very Marie!
4. Kevin, our wonderful waiter and guide (middle), with two other members of staff. Kevin addressed Miss Bombaywalla as ‘Miss’ and Miss Bombaywalla was in heaven.
5. The insignia of the Union is prominently displayed. The VOC’s more interesting insignia with grinning lions and a grumpy seal can be found at the Maritime Archeology Museum in Galle and above the inner entrance to the Galle Fort.
6. A tour of the upper storey of the Union, meant for members only.
7. The dining area for the members, on the upper storey.
8. A pukka view of the Union.
Furnishings: The Dutch Burgher Union of Ceylon (1908)
Cinnamon Gardens, Junction of Buller’s Road (presently Bauddhaloka Mawatha) and Serpentine Road, Colombo, Sri Lanka. The third and final post in our guest city series on Sri Lanka.
While at Bombay’s Ripon Club, a very Parsi gentlemen’s club, the lift is not available for going down and a Parsi member is certainly required for going up to the club and partaking of a meal of Dhansak, at The Dutch Burgher Union in Colombo everyone is welcome to enter the VOC cafe and go dutch over a meal of Lamprais.
It is even possible to become a visiting member of The Dutch Burgher Union, despite having no strain of Dutch blood. The pukka members of the Union are as mixed as the lamprais they serve with strains of Dutch, European, Sinhalese and other ethnic roots.
Indeed if clubs of these kinds are to be maintained, The Dutch Burgher Union is a better example.