Cinnamon Gardens

Arcade Independence Square

The Arcade Independence Square is the recent addition to the Independence Square adding further beauty to this attractive scenic and pleasant environment. The collection of buildings which were rundown and dilapidated for over 34 decades used to be a Mental Asylum during the latter part of the British rule and later it also became the Auditor General’s office complex. Recent efforts in restoring these buildings to their former glory has brought grandeur on character to whats presently known as the Arcade Independence Square. The interior of the building has been decorated meticulously. The white walls are studded with an abundance of windows and doors, with wooden staircases under skylights connecting the two floors of each building, and endless corridors that are all too easy to get lost in. There are handsome tables, armoires and settees set in every corner, with statues and displays of crockery interspersed with large photographs of the complex itself. The chandeliers are particularly stunning, and one must stand directly underneath to see the beautiful symmetry of it all.

Intricate landscaping of the area has brought lavishness to the green lawns which extends to the white buildings, and flowers are plentiful with the occasional tree here and there. One centre of attraction is a huge sculpture of lions resting, three handsome maned ones and two lionesses basking in the sunshine. These rock sculptures are done in a contemporary artistic design.

At the other end of the complex is a large pond scattered with fish, with a fountain peeking out at one end. It’s covered in a transparent walkway that is suspended over the water and makes for a delightful experience especially for children.  The outdoor seating area is perfect, partly in the shade and partly shining in the glorious sun. The seating consists of very old-fashioned white garden chairs on one patio and modern seats near the food court. It’s easy to see that this will become a thriving, vibrant spot in Colombo, similarly to how well Racecourse has done.

The shops and restaurants are laid out as follows :

Auditor-General’s Department Building (Ground Floor)

Food Court

Tucked into the elongated room are 6 different stalls of well-known eateries of the country, each offering reasonably priced foods that can be eaten on little benches right there or taken outside to the sunny and splendid courtyard.

Burger King

The Burger King menu encompasses a range of burgers and sandwiches including the legendary Burger King Whopper, its signature flame grilled beef burger. Vegetarians are well rewarded with a selection of burgers and sandwiches with a variety of fillings. Desserts include an indulgent Hershey’s Sundae Pie, a decadent cream cheese and chocolate frozen dessert as well as three varieties of ice cream sundaes.

French Connection

Bringing the recognisable British High Street juggernaut to Sri Lanka has been a bold but successful move for Softlogic. The store features high quality luxurious clothing as well as accessories such as shoes, sunglasses and watches.

Kaema Sutra

An exciting new restaurant by Jacqueline Fernandez and Dharshan Munidasa that opened on the 15th of July. It’s available for Dinner from 5.00 pm onwards. Expect top notch Sri Lankan cuisine here. Dharshan, who is a top restaurateur in Colombo, had this to say;” I’ve always wanted to cook food that connects to the DNA of Sri Lankans. I believe that Kaema Sutra will bring Sri Lankan soul food to a new level, while maintaining its authenticity.”

Jacqueline, the striking actress who grew into Bollywood and has become something of a star there, said “I am thrilled to be working with Dharshan on this new project, as this is something that I’ve secretly always wanted to do. I am extremely proud of my Sri Lankan heritage, and being part of a restaurant where the food is so closely connected to my roots is really exciting!”

T Lounge

Have a cup of traditional tea or try the bizarre but wonderful concoctions that Dilmah have come up with. The atmosphere here is almost tangible, and the lounge really breathes fresh air into our views of Tea. ” It is a unique space that allows you to experiment with flavours, immerse yourself in the colourful traditions of tea culture and get acquainted with tea as you have never before. Dilmah is a family tea company with an unwavering commitment to the finest tea in the world. Our t-Lounges celebrate the experience of unique pleasure and natural goodness in tea.” – Dilhan C. Fernando


Situated next to the lounge, you can buy all sorts of packed Tea here. I suppose if you like what you drank at the lounge, you can always pick up a few boxes of your favourite kind of tea from this shop.


Urban Kitchen’s new restaurant that will feature a new expanded menu that will feature dishes from all over the world. I imagine the quality of the food will stay excellent, but the overall atmosphere will be a different one from what we’ve experienced at UK.

Toshiba Philips

Electronic products are available here.


All sorts of electrical items are showcased here, including laptops, iPods etc.



A store that makes powerful speakers that the most finicky music listener cannot complain about. They have home audio systems (that include multi room sets) as well as computer speakers and headphones.

Charles and Keith

Singaporean high street that specialises in accessories for women; handbags, shoes, belts and sunglasses. The stuff is pricey but you’re guaranteed quality.

Tommy Hilfiger

Premium casual wear (including denim) for men and women. There are also various perfumes for both genders.


Auditor-General’s Department Building (First Floor)


This is the Samsung Flagship store and is a sprawling space that houses an immense load of Samsung products, from TVs to phones. Well worth a visit.

Empire Cineplex

A part of Ceylon Theatres, Empire Cineplex is a premier theatre that uses state of the art technology to entertain in luxurious settings. The place looks lovely from what we glimpsed of it.


Galleria is a mini department store that offers many international brands including Levis, Giordano, Nike and Dockers. Their International Watches section includes Emporio Armani, Fossil, Diesel, DKNY, Adidas, Michael Kors and Skagen.


Jaish Jayesingha explores new avenues to clothe young, urban trend conscious women with her contemporary, in vogue fashion line ‘ Jai ‘. They focus on expressive ethnic creations that illustrate the elegance of South Asian fashion and are, in fact, wearable art. It’s not just about how good their clothes look, however, as they also base their designs on functionality taking into account the climate of the country. From classic to fusion, the designs available at the store are authentic and well suited to express your dynamic personality.


A clothing store featuring on-trend designs that are fashionable and fun.

Wax Museum

A salon with a creative name, you can go here for all your hair-care needs.

Linen and I

This is their first Designer Collection boutique. Their range includes casual, evening, formal and business wear and makes us of embroidery, lace, silk and satin as elegantly and tastefully as possible.


A clothing store for the discerning shopper.


‘Aditi’ was launched to meet the demand for fashionable ladies wear in Sri Lanka. The ranges they offer are casual wear, office wear and party wear and they also carry accessories such as jewellery and handbags.

V Designs

A gorgeous collection of elegant, chic clothing.


Clothing for little boys and girls, featuring fun pop culture referenced t shirts. There are a few shelves of toys as well, action figures and the like.

Western Provincial Council Building (Ground Floor)


A Gem and Jewellery shop offering quality products.

Wickramarachchi Opticians

Branded as well as optician approved spectacles as well as sunglasses are available here.


Possibly the most popular cricket equipment brand out there, Kookaburra has everything you need to play the game, and play it well.


Featuring a wide selection of tea of different blends, Mlesna offers a bit of tea history to the world with this store.


The flagship store features beautiful, well-made watches that will excite your curiosity.

Toby’s Estate

Tied to the Australian brand, it’s a café and restaurant with an amazing atmosphere of relaxation.

Western Provincial Council Building (First Floor)

Tsukiji Uoichi

Updating traditional Japanese Cuisine with a contemporary twist, this restaurant is a lovely addition to the eateries of Independence Arcade. It is a leading chain of Japanese restaurant that with their fusion of the traditional and modern, have kept the authenticity of their food while being unique.


A renowned Sri Lankan brand, Stone’N’String offers stunning pieces made out of semi-precious and precious stones that are unique and distinctive. Their pieces are timeless, ever fashionable and classy.

Glamorous Sri Lanka

This is their first showroom and it’s targeted at both local and foreign customers. They market Tea, Gems and Jewellery, Handicrafts, Garments, Cards and various types of Food. It’s interesting to note that all their products are from Lankan industries.

By Marissa van Eyck
(Courtesy –


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