This Iconic Bengaluru Restaurant Is Over 70 Years Old
Image Credit: Mutton cutlets are on the menu at Koshy's in Bengaluru.

Having been located on St Mark’s Road for seven decades, Koshy’s in Bengaluru started as a bakery in 1940. Established by PO Koshy in 1952, the restaurant was built adjacent to the bakery. The restaurant’s current owner, Prem Koshy, started looking after operations in the 1990s, after the first and second generations passed away. The air conditioned section of the restaurant was called the Jewel Box and the non-air conditioned section was called Parade Cafe. Combined with the original bakery, the whole place was referred to as Koshy’s.

Prem Koshy began working at the restaurant when he was eight years old. His family allowed him to spend time at the British Council library (which was above the restaurant) in exchange for cleaning at the restaurant, or selling items at the bakery. 

Earlier, the menu at Koshy’s advertised 1,200 dishes, but the staff had to take the tough decision to reduce this number because the cash machine couldn’t process more than 900 items. Currently, the menu is a mix of dishes from across the world. While the roast chicken is the most popular, customer’s may also choose from Kerala pork, fish biryani, chicken puffs, cutlets, and appam and stew. Potato smileys are popular among kids. The menu has been inspired by the Koshy family’s travels. 

The kitchen is consistent and draws customers in with its flair for creating dishes that people grew up eating. The strong black coffee, a secret blend from Coorg, Chikmagalur and Kerala, is a favourite with coffee lovers and has been brewed in the same metal coffee filter for over 46 years. Snacks like the chicken puff are extremely popular and also available at the bakery next door, along with different kinds of bread, biscuits and pastries.

Apart from the food, customers tend to return to Koshy’s for its old world charm and timelessness. In Parade Cafe, ceiling fans creak above the furniture is made with formica and foam, and black and white photos of Bengaluru’s landmarks adorn the walls, while the Jewel Box Cafe boasts an old jukebox. In fact, added to the establishment in 1962, the Jewel Box was deemed the first AC restaurant in South India with a live band and dance floor. 

Koshy’s has had its share of famous clients. Queen Elizabeth II and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru have been known to have dined at the restaurant. Today, everyone from politicians and lawyers to artists and writers visits the place. The staff at Koshy’s is known for bringing “the usual” order, made as per personal preferences, to regulars.

With the pandemic, the business at Koshy’s took a hit too. Despite being closed during the lockdown, the restaurant opened well-prepared to take the virus head on with social distancing and sanitisers. Despite being one of the oldest restaurants in the game, Koshy’s has shown that it can pivot with the times. The place remains a reminder of Bengaluru’s past and of the fact that food can bring communities together.