Eat and shop in Fort Kochi

Posted on March 26, 2020 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

Kashi Art Café

Kashi Art Gallery

 

Prior to my visit to Fort Kochi, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Yet after I arrived, I felt very at ease and safe. Despite the hot weather, it was pleasant to stroll around and enjoy the Bohemian atmosphere. There are many art galleries/cafes, heritage accommodations, churches and cool shops. My biggest surprise was to see many unique fashion boutiques and concept shops selling handdyed/handprinted clothing and handmade accessories. I think that there are more interesting independent shops here than Central London, and that is not an exaggeration.

Since I arrived very early and wasn't able to check in yet, I decided to have breakfast at the nearby Kashi Art Gallery. Kashi Art Gallery is located inside a converted old Dutch house, which opened in 1977. Over the years, Kashi Art Gallery and Café has become the hub of Kochi’s contemporary art scene and popular hangout for young locals and tourists. I love the photography exhibition at the small gallery at the front, and I found the cafe very relaxing, which was a good start for ne after a long flight.

 

Kashi Art Café

Kashi Art Café

Kashi Art Café

Kashi Art Café

Kashi Art Café

Kashi Art Café breakfast

Kashi Art Gallery and cafe

 

Another popular cafe in the area is the Loafers Corner cafe located in a restored 200-year-old Dutch-Portuguese-style building. I visited the cafe later in the afternoon and bagged a seat by the window where I could watch the world go by from above. When I find chilled-out cafes like these during my travels, it does bring me joy... I am not a big fan of fancy and trendy cafes/restaurants; personally I prefer places with character/history/relaxing ambience. Hence, it is no wonder why this cafe is extemely popular with young locals and tourists.

 

Loafer's Corner cafe

Loafer's Corner cafe  Loafer's Corner cafe

Loafer's Corner cafe

Loafers Corner cafe

 

The next day I had lunch at the vegan Loving Earth Yoga Cafe, which is a yoga studio, cafe and a social enterprise. This is another expat's favourites, and I guess it is catered for the health-conscious bunch. It is also spacious and relaxing, and a good place to eat healthy vegan dishes. My only complaint is that many dishes were not available on the day, so the choices were a bit limited.

 

LOVING EARTH YOGA CAFE

Loving Earth Yoga Cafe

 

fort kochi Farmers cafe

fish in banana leaf

Farmers cafe & banana leaf-wrapped fish

 

After my trip to India last year, I completely fell in love with Indian clothing. In the UK, it is not easy to find contemporary Indian fashion, and even if you do, it is extremely overpriced. Hence I was looking forward to exploring the boutiques in Fort Kochi, and my first stop was Napier Street. Aside from Fab India (one of my favourite mid-range priced shop), there is a pop-up shop called Aambal eco clothing store. The shop has many handdyed and well-designed items that are all sustainable. All the items here are made by independent designers from around India and they are all very unique. Prices are reasonable especially if you compare it with London, so I do recommend a visit to this shop.

 

Aambal eco clothing store

Aambal eco clothing store

Aambal eco clothing store (Napier Street)

 

Anchovy is another cool boutique that sells contemporary fashion, accessories, vintage items and many illustration books by my favourite Indian publisher, Tara books.

 

Anchovy

Anchovy boutique (Vasco da Gama Square, Church Road)

 

I wanted to buy a book on Indian flowers and plants, so I went to a local book shop called Idiom Book Sellers. The shop sells both new and second-hand books, including Indian literature, history, cookery, and travel etc. I managed to find a few books on Indian plants and flowers, and I bought a small one published by DK to be used as a mini guide during my travels. The book seller was very friendly and agreed to let me take a photo of him.

 

Idiom Book Sellers

Idiom Book Sellers (1/348, Bastion Street)

 

There are a few intesting shops on Lilly Street, and one of them is Anokhi, a well-known Indian brand originated from Jaipur selling fashion, textiles, accessories and home furnishings that are handmade by craftsmen. Their designes often feature traditional motifs and techniques, like blockprinting, natural dyeing and embroidery, which are popular with locals and tourists.

 

Anokhi fort kochi

Anokhi

 

Further down the street is Kochi Kochi, a nice shop selling clothing and accessories that are hand-blockprinted onto recycled materials. I got to meet and speak to the designer and craftsman, who is keen to keep his designs as sustainable as possible. Yet this does not compromise the quality. I bought a long dress here and was complemented by many when I worn it to a dinner the week after. The staff here are friendly and prices are very reasonable, so it is not to be missed.

Next to Kochi Kochi is Via Kerala Design Shop, a design shop that sells a variety of accessories, products and souvenir made by local designers. At the front of the shop, there is also a small exhibition area showcasing interesting local art and design works.

 

Via Kerala Design Shop

Via Kerala Design Shop

Via Kerala Design Shop

Kochi Kochi and Via Kerala Design Shop

 

I didn't expect to see concept stores in Fort Kochi, but I came across two intriguing upmarket ones while I was wandering around. One of them is Cinnamon Boutique, a modern lifestyle store located inside a converted Dutch bungalow. Designed by Italian architect Andrea Anastasio, there space includes a restaurant and shop selling chic fashion, jewellery and homeware made by Indian designers and artists.

 

Cinnamon boutique

Cinnamon boutique

Cinnamon boutique

Cinnamon boutique

Cinnamon boutique

Cinnamon boutique (1/658 Ridsdale Road, Parade Ground)

 

Another one is lcoated in Calvetti near the Boat Jetty called Pepper House. Originally a warehouse for spices, now it has been converted into a cultural centre, which includes a library, a design shop and a coffee shop. It is definitely a very cool-looking venue.

 

Pepper House

pepper house

Pepper House

Pepper House

Pepper House

Pepper House

 

Although most cool clothing shops are located in the centre of Fort Kochi, there are many craft and antiques/vintage shops located in Jew Town/Mattancherry. One of the larger ones is called Ethnic Passage, which is a 2-storey shopping gallery that sells handicrafts, home accessories, handmade souvenir (downstairs) and larger vintage furniture upstairs. Personally, I found the shops in Mattancherry more commercial than Fort Cochin, so I didn'y linger too long in this part of town.

 

ethnic passage

ethnic passage

ethnic passage

Ethnic Passage

 

 


This post was posted in Coffee, Food & dining, Shopping, Shopping guide, Fashion, Travel, books, India, Kerala and was tagged with Food & dining, shopping, fashion, Shopping guide, cafes, bookshops, India, Fort Kochi, Kerala

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