Perfect spot to relax with a hot sip & a tasty bite!
They say good things come in small packages and this saying perfectly describes the Queen of the Arabian Sea. Though Kochi is a small city when compared to the bigger and more happening metros in South India, it has its fair share of all ‘good things’, like the world famous Muziris Biennale for art lovers, the grand Lulu Mall which is one of the biggest shopping destinations in India, beautiful historic monuments, amazing food and not to forget, trendy cafés! RITZ checks out five of the most favoured hangouts in Kochi based on popular demand!
Text: Riya Sonny Datson
Photography with LG V 20 Smartphone: Arun A Menon
Kashi Art Café
The mesmerising aroma of freshly brewed coffee instantly lures you into this unassuming coffee shop, tucked away at Burgher Street in Fort Kochi. As you step in, a totally different world unfolds before your eyes. Vibrant water colour posters adorn the white walls that echo ‘ART’! As you go in further, a small coffee counter offers delicious home-made cakes, sandwiches, lasagne, salads, burgers, fresh juice and yes, enticing press coffee!
A narrow partly open patio laid with pebbles, stone benches, beautiful greenery and most importantly, metallic art work is what seizes your attention next. “Being an art collector, the idea of combining art with a café appealed to me. Kashi has a unique ambience or I would say, a ‘soul’, which attracts guests and artists to this place. We have displayed museum quality artwork done by India’s best artists like Riyas Komu, Vanita Gupta, KS Radhakrishnan and Vivek Vilasini to name a few,” says Edgar, who owns the iconic Kashi Art Gallery that has three spaces across Fort Kochi including the café where art residency and exhibitions are held periodically. “I think it’s our passion and innovative cooking that draws in the crowds!” he smiles.
Must Try: Kashi Special Roast Chicken, Spinach Lasagne, Blueberry Juice with Icecream
Average Cost for 2: INR 600.
Bloomsbury’s Boutique Café and Artisan Bakery
One of the biggest strengths of this classy boutique café is the fact that it is situated in the celebrated Lulu Mall. Spread across 5500 sq ft, its fresh and vibrant interiors, quirky artefacts and hand-painted canvases which serve as attractive décor elements, instantly capture your attention.
This café is known for its quality standards and flavoursome international fusion food that has been specially curated to suit the Indian palate. Some of the hot picks here include the foot long thin crust pizza (a generous size at that!), pasta, soups, milkshakes and the absolutely delightful pastries from its artisan bakery! For the international standards it maintains in the quality of food and service, this posh outlet’s biggest surprise comes in its pricing! Though the mall itself attracts a lot of traffic, the café offers comfortable dining, great ambience and scrumptious food at affordable rates! Bloomsbury is all set to open its new outlet at Whitefield, Bengaluru in March!
Must Try: Nasi Goreng, Solo Pollo and Chocolate Gold Cake
Average Cost for 2: INR 800
A whole array of exotic cakes greet you as you enter this trendy café in Panampilly Nagar. Situated on the first floor, the wide glass windows offer a beautiful view of the buzzing space around. The vibrant neon colours in the décor, foot tapping music, warm service and not to forget, great food make this spot one of the most preferred hangouts in Kochi.
In fact, Cocoa Tree has been Kochi’s favourite since the inception of its very first outlet at the Avenue Regent, MG Road in 2004. The café continues to top the charts even after a decade! They also offer a special menu every weekend with exotic and innovative dishes. It offers amazing pastry delights, milk shakes, lasagne, sandwiches and burgers.
Must Try: Mixed Skewers Platter, Californian club sandwich and Lychee Butterscotch Pastry
Average Cost for 2: INR 700
The divine taste of Mont Blanc and Lady Santa will surely taunt your taste buds long after you have left this beautiful café. By the way, these are the names of the pastries that top the charts here. “Quality, cleanliness and zero wastage are the three core ideas of our work culture here. In fact, we decided on the name of the restaurant as ‘French Toast’, based on the same ideology of zero wastage – the fact that left over bread is what is used to make this delightful and tasty breakfast snack,” says Ayaz Salim who runs this cool café.
“Using the best quality ingredients in our products is another top priority, like for example Belgian couverture chocolate is one of the main ingredients in our chocolate based products, which is rarely used even in the top hotels. I think that is also the reason why our client portfolio is ruled by health conscious people!” smiles Ayaz. True to his word, the patisserie and assorted breads offered here have truly raised the bar when it comes to quality and taste! The chic contemporary ambience of this space is another plus. The glass windows usher in plenty of day light and the beautifully detailed wall décor depicts a hand-painted Buddha, the symbol of Zen and wildlife in shades of black, white and yellow, which soothes your senses. “We wanted a light-hearted space that would emanate positive vibes – where people could just unwind and relax!” And yes, this is one place where you can unwind over a platter of perfect French toast!
Must try: French Toast, Flourless Chocolate Cake and Pizzas on Thursdays
Average Cost for 2: INR 500.
This small café on Peter Celli Street, Fort Kochi, literally has everything to do with tea! Tea pots of all colours, shapes, sizes and textures have been used as the décor element. True to its name, the café offers all kinds of tea – flavoured tea, Darjeeling tea, Assam tea, Niligiri tea, White tea and so on. The sunshine yellow walls, the wooden chairs, metallic furniture and antique tea pots all add to the rustic, old world charm of this place!
“We don’t do much advertisement simply because we believe that if you are good, people will seek you. Neither do we offer five star standards of quality or service but it is a homely haven where you can be yourself and enjoy a snack or a meal. You are welcome to walk in to this cozy corner, sip your tea and relax with a book for as long as you want. One of our guests once told me that the café has a unique kind of energy that can’t be taken out of this place!” says Sanjai, one of the partners who run the café.
Must Try: Indian Rare Bit and Flavoured Tea!
Average cost for 2: INR 400