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For many people in Bangalore, Koshy’s restaurant at St. Mark’s road is not just a restaurant, it’s an institution. And any place which attains that grand a stature, comes with its own set of quirks.

Your first visit to the place will probably conclude in disappointment. Let’s start with the menus. On last count, my table was stacked with 4 of them (drinks menu, sea food menu, main course menu, breakfast menu?). It will take you a while to iterate through almost random list of dishes and place your order - which is once you have decided which menu to pick in the first place. The menu at the air-conditioned section is better (notice the use of singular – menu). While flipping through it, you’ll come across a few pages that chronicle the history of the restaurant and its illustrious visitors (Nehru being of them). The food is mediocre (I speak only of the vegetarian dishes) and by my humble fiscal standing – a little on the steep side. The waiters, liveried in white, might treat you with disregard bordering on scorn. Though, as I’ve found out, once you are a regular, they can surprise you with their felicity. Until recently, especially if you happened to drop by in the evening, you would gag and choke in the cigarette smoke that would hang lazily in mid-air. Now that the smoking is prohibited (I’ve seen a lot of bohemian old timers vanish since the edict) the ambience is deprived of the drear haze.

So what gets me to Koshy’s? The place has a quaint charm which very few places in Bangalore can match. It reminds me of an era long gone past. Life inside the restaurant moves at its own sweet pace – heedless to the urban delirium just inches outside. Koshy’s reminds me of my salad days at the college cafeteria. Like a lot of other things at college our college cafeteria was an institution too. (Any outside calling it “canteen” would soon find himself an undesirable subject of supercilious looks – not an enviable position to land oneself into). It is the only place that I know of in Bangalore which plays good music (‘good music’ is a statement imbued with personal bias) – mostly jazz. I am surprised (and aghast) at how little most restaurants think about music they play (and why should they – most people I know, couldn’t care lesser about ‘sonic ambience’ at an eating joint).

To conclude, let me make a little known gastronomical revelation. Koshy’s serves wonderful Appams and Stew on Sunday mornings (and as far as I know on Sunday mornings only!). Now I could start another little essay here that eulogizes the merits of their preparation (and with my flourish I risk landing a job as a copywriter for an ad agency hired by Koshy’s to do a colored brochure for them) so as a magnanimous gesture of self-preservation, I’d rather have you pay them a visit!

P.S. In my experience, I’ve found 9:30 in the morning as the best time to visit Koshy’s on Sundays; it gets crowded soon thereafter.
posted: 16.11.04


yes and lovely fish curries too..

By Blogger Preetam, at 16.11.04  

Now that, being a vegeterian, I wouldn't know Preetam...

By Blogger Deepak, at 17.11.04  

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