Lunch for One: Koshy’s Parade Cafe

Old Bangalore Photos

You don’t come to Koshy’s for its food. It’s known for its breakfasts and its fish and chips, but the food is decent at best. You certainly don’t come for the service, as sluggish as the movement of files in a government office. You come to Koshy’s for the ambience, for a slice of old Bangalore amidst the glitz and glamor of new Bangalore.

There are two Koshy’s facing each other. The Jewel Box is a nice posh restaurant with fine dining ambitions. The Parade Cafe is the one to go to, a dark place with wooden beam columns, fading paint and uncomfortable seats. Waiters attired in white motion you to sit anywhere you like, and after a while, a grubby menu lands up at your table. It’s sparse, some omelettes, sandwiches, coffees and shakes. Koshy’s is not a place for an elaborate lunch, it’s more a snacking joint.

Chicken Sandwich

Each item of the menu will remind you of times gone by. The chicken sandwiches (Rs 90) will remind you of the ones your mom packed in your lunchbox, made with leftovers from the previous night’s chicken curry, crusts neatly cut out. The caramel custard (Rs 75) resembles the first decent one you made, not so good that you can serve it to a friend but not so bad that you wonder why you bothered in the first place.

Caramel Custard

But the look and feel of the place is of a Bangalore you will never see again, a Bangalore that is almost wholly demolished to turn it into a Singapore. Earlier, this place would be filled with old thathas enjoying their retirement over an omelette and sarkari babus enjoying their break over a coffee. The thathas and babus are there, but fewer in number. Instead, there is a more upscale crowd- pretty girls with their boyfriends and his cameras, refined guys with accents showing out-of-towners that Bangalore ain’t all UB City. But I don’t mind. In Koshy’s, the flashiness is a little duller and hence more bearable.

Go to Koshy’s to watch the world slow down and rewind. Go to Koshy’s to see the photos of Commercial Street as it was a hundred years ago. Go to Koshy’s to preserve some of Bangalore’s heritage.

Overall: 2.5
Food: 2
Ambience: 4
Service: 1.5
39, St. Marks Road

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