Character club dating back to the colonial days
A history hub
The Dutch Burgher Union, or ‘DBU’ as it’s popularly known, is one of the older club-cum-cafes of Colombo. Founded in 1908, membership at the DBU was exclusive to the minority Dutch Burgher community but is today open to all. The VOC café is a favourite hangout spot among long time locals, it has an old-school feel with high ceiling fans providing the patrons with a pleasant breeze. There also is a lovely outdoor terrace. The waiting staff could be a bit more efficient, but for what it lacks in service, the DBU more than makes up with its historic ambience.
About Dutch Burghers
The upstairs bar/lounge area is members-only, but if you ask you can have a look, giving you an intimate glimpse into the unique history of the Dutch Burghers. The proud descendants of the Dutch and Portuguese settlers of the 16th and 17th centuries, the Burghers have been a part of Sri Lanka for hundreds of years. This Eurasian ethnic group is a characteristic mix of the west and east. In the colonial days they were at the centre of development, but even after they lost their colonial privileges, the Burghers have carved out a place for themselves in Sri Lanka’s multi-ethnic and multi-religious society. Some well-known Dutch Burghers Duncan White, the first Sri Lankan athlete to claim an Olympic medal, and Michael Ondaatje who wrote the award-winning novel The English Patient.
Priced at Rs. 610, the DBU lamprais is legendary for its authentic approach to the much-loved rice-based meal that very few restaurants seem to get right. The black pork curry, the DBU’s signature dish, and yellow rice are among the many Burgher specialities on the menu that you might want to try out - in addition, of course, to the homemade ginger beer - an absolute must have.