A slightly obscure, almost hidden bend in the road brings you to Burgher Street, where you will find Kochi’s most famous café. It is often said no visit to Kerala is complete without a visit to Kashi. Yet the exterior of the café is not remarkable. In fact, it’s almost as nondescript as the street where it is located. But as soon as you step in, you instantly understand what makes Kashi unique. The café’s distinctive artwork is the first thing to catch your eye. But what fascinates you and finally draws you irrevocably in is its use of light to create a welcoming, quirky space, which merges in effortlessly with the elements of Fort Kochi. The café’s unique location also makes it an easy stroll to Fort Kochi’s best-known landmarks. It’s a place where you can sit through the day reading or even writing a book. More than any other space in Kochi, Kashi lets you be. Its food is distinctive as well. Not only because its varieties of sandwiches, burgers, omelettes, and cakes have been carefully evolved. But also, because you are unlikely to taste anything like it anywhere in the world. My personal favourite remains the hugely popular Farmer’s Omelette.
This is the best place to find a seat by the window and observe the going on in Kochi’s Jew Town at Matancherry. The space has an old-world ambience, which has been converted into a modern café. Like Kashi, you will find the space here to contemplate. But here you can sit and watch the world pas you by. Since, the café is on the first floor, the view will always be an aerial one. Its location just outside the synagogue makes it the best place to end your visit to Jew Town. I enjoyed my masala tea here. It tasted unlike anything I had ever tried before at any Café Mocha.
Located just off Kalloor, Café 17 is one of the many great spaces where you can catch a working lunch in the heart of Kochi. It’s a typical modern café, with a quirky vibe. But it’s a place where you can sit as long as you want and never be asked to leave. The kind of the café that beckons you when need a creative workspace. But it’s also a place where everyone from friends to family can hang out, when they just want to chill. Among the café’s best known specialities is its continental breakfast, which it serves through the day.
Pandhal is Kochi’s new kid on the clock. But it already has two cafés. One, at the busy Kadavanthara Junction. The second, at Palampally Nagar, which is where Kochi’s young people hang out. The ambience is young and vibrant. But what makes Pandhal unique is its food. This is a true Kochi bakery, in all its glory. Yet it also reflects the changing face of the new city that Kochi is evolving into. If you do visit, you must try one of its many varieties of bagels.