The cobbled streets, churches and colonial buildings in Fort Kochi remind you of this port city's rich past. From the Portuguese to the English, everybody wanted a slice of this ancient city for themselves. Here are some cafes that can give you a taste of the past
If you’re walking past Peter Celli Street, the ivy-covered façade of this quaint little café will definitely catch your eye. The interiors are reminiscent of an old tea garden bungalow with faded ochre walls and high ceilings. Tea paraphernalia takes up every corner here; tables made out of old tea chests and the antique teapot collection deserves a special mention. The café offers a vast range of teas from Nilgiri to Darjeeling and Assam apart from the usual café fare including some lovely cakes. If you have time by your side then you can browse through old editions of The New Yorker while sipping on a hot cup of Darjeeling.
Operating out of a 150-year-old building at Ridsdale Street—which used to house The Imperial Bank of India in the 1950s—Farmer’s Café exudes a laid-back ambience coupled with delicious recipes. Prepared with unadulterated vegetables sourced from Lunar Garden and city-based Farming Colours, crunchy green salads are one of the highlights here. The Garden Green Farmers signature salad featuring dill, parsley, chive and lettuce, dressed with lemon zest and extra virgin olive oil is a must-try with tropical pineapple shake made with cold-pressed coconut milk to go with it. The café focuses on simple yet wholesome recipes. The 120-cover art café is also an exhibition space which holds regular events curated by Shihab,an art enthusiast.
Alice’s Delices French Bakery
Located on Rose StreetAlice Delices is a French café that serves a variety of freshly made French breads and Wayanad coffee. The entrance room with casual bench seating opens into a delicious garden courtyard with beautiful plants and. Alice is as much the baker as she is the artist who got attracted to India. Interestingly decorated, the café has colourful Indian print cushions, stitched by her, strewn on chairs. Rice trays made of coir are used artistically. French impressions come from graffiti, made by a French artist whose ‘old fish man’ are large figures on the walls. The menu too sticks out on paper placards stuck into potted plants. Haunting instrumental music from the clarinet suffuses the senses, along with aroma of French loaf and coffee. Apart from regular croissants, “which Indians love”, Alice’s innovations in bread are with Indian spices. She makes a special bread with cinnamon, her brioche (a bun) is sweeter for the Indian palate and conserve is made from pineapples with ginger. Baguette, lemon cake using pungent sharp Indian lemons and Cajou cake, made with local cashew nuts are on the menu. A breakfast of breads, fruit salad, butter, jam and coffee is served dramatically in a steel thali, a plate of two cultures.
The Old Courtyard
Housed in another old building on the streets of Kochi is the Old Courtyard. Previously known as Lily Koder's house, this mansion belonged to a Jew family. Now it functions as a hotel but their cafe allows non-resident guests. Named after the lovely white-washed courtyard with flowering bougainvilleas and orchids at the centre of the buildng, this cafe serves some delicious bakes and coffee. The gelato here is worth trying as well.