Bangalore Burrp gives it four stars, various assorted websites call it the ‘pride of Bangalore’, youtube videos sing its praises and Wikipedia claims that dignitaries like Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Nikita Khrushchev and Queen Elizabeth II have dined there. (Well, it also claims that Koshy’s won MTV’s award for the Most Stylish Place in Bangalore. Um, really?). However, Wikipedia does get this bit right – Koshy’s is a very popular restaurant and hangout on St Mark’s Road, Bangalore, which is a meeting point for journalists, artists, theatre persons, students and foreigners. Founded in 1940, it retains an old-world charm with huge pillars and large fans.
Inside Koshy’s, there is a non-smoking, ‘family’ area and the smoking (friends?) area. It is where visitors are taken when they want to be shown the real Bangalore, it is also where locals head when they want to catch up over a cuppa and appams with stew. Koshy’s has all that is typical of these Bangalore hangouts: old building in the heart of the city, rude waiters who will spot you only when they are ready and willing, mostly average food, lots of eager and cheerful crowds – but then you don’t go there for the food. You go there to discuss or overhear discussions about the state of the city, the world, politics, arts, literature and most other things under the sun. For, Koshy’s is in equal parts cafe, soapbox, theatre and adda.
So head there one Saturday evening or Sunday morning with loads of time on your hands to experience this slice of Bangalore life.
[Cellphone images all – better ones may follow but don’t hold your breath on that one].
Also check out this fantastic sketch by Jai Iyer.