Excited to land in Cochin after a god-awful early morning flight, I quickly organised my way into reaching Fort Kochi (which is 42 km away from the airport) and checked into an awesome homestay (which I will detail out in another post perhaps). Unfortunately, they only served brekkie and no other meals.
Disappointed and starving, I began perusing Zomato but the hunger pangs shot down all options based on distance of joints or the seafood fare being proclaimed as their delicacy ( I am a chicken-tarian).
I decided to walk out a bit and see if I could spot a roadside Kerala food joint as I was craving for some hot stew and Appams. A pizzeria, a seafood place,Tibetan fare…..dejected I walked on, famished and wilting in the mugginess.
I was distracted by these giant green canopies, towering over the roads which were actually age-old rainforest trees, each swathed in its personal parasitic (or was it symbiotic) creeper that dangled from the branches like christmas hangings.
Right there I noticed this cozy inviting cafe and made a beeline for it. Breathing in the cool air-conditioned air, I caught my breath first before noting my charming surroundings.
OMG!!! I didn’t come to Fort Kochi to eat at a European looking cafe. I doubt they will have appams here. While these thoughts swirled a Maelstrom in my head, I was greeted by a shy smile from the gentleman behind the counter.
I was perhaps undone by that smile or the fact that I was dying of hunger (last eaten at 6 am and it was 4 pm now) or that every table had some delectable looking food on it. Whatever it was, my mind was made up!
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I settled down on a table and hungrily perused the menu of sandwiches, salads and shakes. I ended up ordering the pineapple and cheese sandwich cos it sounded very different, avocado salad (avocado was here in almost every dish) and a hearty tall glass of fresh juice.
Hunger sated, I set about to notice the cafe and was delighted to note its quirky interiors. A typewriter on a sewing machine pedestal caught my attention. It was loaded with some neat books and the three travel prints on the wall above were quite zany.
The tall and wide glass window looked upon the green canopy of the rain tree while a wooden counter ran along the entire length of the window with some bar stools for the solitary eater to ponder at leisure at the world outside. Just parallel to it is another sewing machine pedestal with a plethora of whimsical items – I loved the colourful winking owl, propped up in the bird-cage.
The menu had an interesting thing written on it – Qissa means tale/story in Urdu – and the philosophy of the cafe is that there is a story in every sip/bite!!! How true!!!
I saw some really outlandish looking fish, each in their own jar. Piqued with curiosity at the individual jars, I asked the manager who informed me that there are Betta fish and are also called fighter fish. If kept in the same jar, they will fight and kill each other. OMG! such beauty with such beastly traits!!! 😉
What I really loved about this quaint cafe is its effervescence and that it was quite the melting pot of art patrons, artists, students, volunteers, and travellers who would simply come here to recharge and perhaps make a new acquaintance (besides of course filling up on the delectable fare)
Ample light filtering in the cafe, its soft colours, oddball oddments and serene ambience – all lulled one into believing this is home! I did – I ended up visiting this cafe 4/5 days of my stay in Fort Kochi and sometimes twice in the day. And there was no hurry to place an order or hints to move on, once the food was eaten – the proprietor was at ease with his patrons – for that’s how he viewed us all! No hurry, no worry – seemed to be the ubiquitous motto here!
The uber friendly and efficient staff, and the great tasting food were the added bonus of this vagarious space. I forgot to mention, they played terrific music from most genres and eras. I always found a familiar favourite playing here.
‘Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson –
Did you ever have such a cafe/spot to recharge on your long stay journeys? Any favourite spot that you must visit enroute to your destination?
- Qissa cafe has been opened by the same chef who originally worked at the famous Kashi Art cafe and has moved on to open his own venture
- Go here for great European food, with good portions and value for money pricing!!!!
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A trained Interior designer who loves to travel, photograph and write, I have done some boutique stays in limited budgets and some in extravagant ones too. I specialize in using locally sourced/ made products which would provide support to the local community.I am also an advocate of using sustainable practices in housekeeping, laundry,etc which lessens the use of harmful chemicals. The water used for such chores is clean enough to be fed into the garden directly.
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