Where time has stood still

Where time has stood still

Where time has stood still

Koshy’s, the quaint restaurant located in the heart of the City, has been a bystander to the dramatic changes that the City has undergone over the years.

 It all began when PO Koshy, a senior executive with a private bank, decided to pursue an independent career and open a bakery. Hence, Koshy’s began as a grocery store in 1940 and expanded to Parade Cafe in 1952 and Jewel Box in 1962.

Today, it boasts of a collective warmth between the waiters and customers and plays host to the many intellectuals discussing a range of topics. One can also spot people involved in a ‘charcha over chai’, families dropping in to enjoy a sumptuous breakfast and students (mostly the neighbouring ‘Josephites’ and ‘Cottonians’) digging into some delicious food. Yet, time seems to have stood still here. 

Friendly, familiar faces smile over a cup of filter coffee or savour the eclectic dishes from Danish pastries, scrambled eggs on toast, North Indian cuisines and fish and chips, while sitting on old wooden chairs and tables amidst creaky fans, antique mirrors and shuttered windows. If you open the book of feedback, you will spot writings from even 1954! 

The restaurant serves about 1,000 items and the specials include ‘appam and stew’ breakfast, chicken liver on toast, sandwiches, ‘kozhi’ curry, Kerala fried fish and Kerala fried chicken to name a few. It is also known for its Christmas specials like the sinful rich plum cake. 

The dishes are not only unique to the place but also carry the taste and aroma of home. 

Every fortnight, Koshy’s also organises a series of lectures and concerts for the ‘Ladies and Knights of the Square Table’, a bunch of regulars who have made Koshy’s their second home over the years!

The building, which stands tall even today, is the symbol of old Bengaluru and represents the charm of the yore. In a City that is undergoing a heavy urban change, the place has stood the test of time and held on to its colonial charm. Oommen Koshy, who is fondly known as Prem Koshy, is the third-generation managing director of the place and interacts with all his customers at the restaurant.

 He remembers a time when there was no traffic on St Marks’ Road. “One of the major changes that took place was the renovation of ‘Jewel Box’ in early 2000.” Their oldest customer is 93-years-old! “We believe in a symbiotic relationship. We give back a little more than what we receive. Our recipes are home-made, all passed down from the Koshy’s family or given to us by friends. But the secret ingredient we add is love.”

Ask him how long he plans to retain the old-world charm of the place and he says, “I am trying to be consistent and will not change anything till my last breath. I hope Koshy’s stays as it is.”

When asked whether he will pass on the family business to his son, he says, “The choice is his but Koshy’s will go on. We are just the keepers. The restaurant belongs to Bengaluru.”

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