Koshy’s: a soul-expanding invitation for gastronomes
Koshy’s: Great food. Brilliant company. Idiosyncratic self.
When you enter Koshy’s, it’s like enter another world. It can either be your blissful place or a space where your thoughts elevate to another level. A restaurant on St. Mark’s road that has been running for over 70 years creating an ambiance that is exclusive and somewhat special. Koshy’s is an emotional experience that not only includes mouth-watering food but a full-fledged discussion on everything under the sun.
On an ordinary sunny day, you will find a group of intellectuals and creative souls deep into ‘meaningful’ yet at times meaningless conversations. Of course, surrounded by delicious snacks or coffee. This or in another corner you will find a writer soaking in the hustle-bustle around him and throwing a more ‘realistic’ light to his fictional work.
You will also bump into a group of college students, businessmen closing deals or elderly men lost in sluggishly animated discussions.
The thing about these old Indian Coffee Houses
Have you ever been to the old Indian coffee houses? Koshy’s somehow ends up reminding me of the same. The space inside is dimly lit and the exterior architecture is more colonial than ever. There are those age-old pictures hung around, fans with a huge globular centre rotating so slowly that you can almost count seconds and of course the furniture standing the test of time.
People come here not to just gobble down the delectable food but to experience a state of mind that no other place can provide. Someone once wrote about how Koshy’s is a state of mind and he is not wrong. Your mind is caught up in a whirlpool of thoughts and experience that is so elite and unique that it’s like stepping into a parallel universe.
For me, Koshy’s is a feeling – a sentiment that dissipates every other emotion or thought that is unnecessary or probably don’t even belong in that space.
Koshy’s – warts and all
The name Bangalore was changed to Bengaluru in 2014. However, Koshy’s has remained warts and all. Well no. I am being biased now isn’t it? The difference lies is the ‘smoking’ resolutions. Koshy adopted the healthier route a few years ago. According to Vidya who writes for Bangalore Mirror says that Koshy’s existence is established in two eras – one when smoking was allowed and when smoking was banned. One dreamy and special and the other healthy but “definitely something missing”
We have had the regulars at Koshy’s muse on what it was like at this timeless place when smoking was allowed. – Bangalore Mirror. Despite the no-smoking tenacity, Koshy is a sanctuary of familiarity
It was in 1940 when P.O. Koshy, Prem Koshy’s grandfather, set up Koshy’s as a bakery. Prem Koshy took over the place in 1990’s post the demise of his father and uncle. He, in fact, had started connecting with Koshy’s when he was only eight years old. The British Council Library above Koshy’s is where he would spend most of his time. However, he had to barter that time with a few odd jobs for his father – cleaning, selling cakes/chocolates etc.
Mr. Koshy and the namesake
Mr. Koshy left for America during his teens and he narrates how his journey is not all glitters and has been outlined with darkness.
I thought I was invincible, but circumstances beat me right into the ground, largely due to my ego,” he mused. “I had forgotten what had protected me all those years, the higher power. That is when most of us move to the darkness. Now I see that I had to go there to know the difference between the darkness and the light
Koshy’s isn’t a fine dining restaurant, borrowing ambience or style from its competitors, and does not aim to deliver ‘virtuosity’ or ‘romanticism in its presentation. It offers an artful and ‘nostalgic’ experience.
We try and keep the art out of the way,” Prem Koshy said, explaining the restaurant’s culinary style. “We don’t serve food because you need to be seen there and eat it because you ought to be eating it. People come here when they want to get their soul replenished. Scroll, 2017
When everything around you is changing at a distressing pace and you feel shaky, turn that bike around and head to Koshy’s. A place you’ve been to several times before. A place where you had the ‘eureka’ moment, where you met your soul-stringer for the first time. Of course, a place that offered you solace in the harshest of times.
Bangalore may be Bengaluru (not ignoring the fact that it’s not just the name that is tainted). Maybe smoking isn’t allowed at Koshy’s but trust you me – bizarrely everything still feels the same. Koshy’s takes you back to a time that fills your head and heart with joy – a feeling that leaves you a little sane and maybe a little broken.