This renovated waterfront property, comprising two Dutch- style clay-roofed buildings separated by a grassy central courtyard, was formerly a godown (warehouse). Today, it houses a gallery space and a lively café that offers light lunches. It also boasts a library and design-led store selling jewellery, clothes, books and crafts from across the country. It’s a major exhibition venue for the Biennale and also runs an artist residency programme.
This huge yard with crumbling walls and gargantuan trees, near Aspinwall House, is named after Pedro Álvares Cabral, one of the first Portuguese sailors to arrive in Kochi in 1500. The yard, formerly used for pressing yarn, will be a makeshift auditorium for the Biennale. The web- integrated space allows anyone to display their work – be it music, film or literature. There will also be microphones and chalkboards for people to add their own input.
TM Muhammad Rd
Rescued from its previously derelict state, this former warehouse is also known as the Gujarati warehouse, a tribute to the spice traders who first owned it two centuries ago. While part of the building still houses pungent spices, it is now an atmospheric exhibition space of bare brick and exposed wood beams. For the Biennale, you can expect murals by Prabhakar Pachpute depicting the changes taking place in Indian society and woodcuts from Malaysian art collective Pangrok Sulap.
Fusion Bay Restaurant
As the name suggests, this seafood-focused family restaurant with its mustard walls and wooden seating serves up dishes that blend Kerala-style techniques with Dutch, Portuguese and Jewish influences. Try the Dutch-style fish in banana leaves – fish marinated with ginger, garlic and coconut milk wrapped in banana leaf and roasted over a frying pan – and the batter-fried squid.
KB Jacob Road
Alice Délices French Bakery
This cosy café serves a fusion of Indian and French fare. Opened in 2017, it’s run by Alice and Julien Floch, who had a bakery-and-café in Brittany, France before relocating to Fort Kochi after falling in love with the place. Crisp baguettes, breads with Indian spices, lemon cake using pungent Indian lemons and Cajou cake made with local cashew nuts are highlights. Continuing the theme, their French-style breakfast is served on an steel thali (round platter).
1/341 Rose Street
Kashi Art Gallery and Café
Formerly the townhouse home of an Anglo-Indian family, this gallery and café was one of the first to spur the art revival in the area when it opened in 1977. The white-walled rooms host rotating exhibitions and works by famous artists such as the landscapes of Christina Mamakos, and bronze sculptures by KS Radhakrishnan. Settle down in the courtyard to try organic dishes like the homemade appam (fermented rice pancake) with vegetable stew.
This article was originally published in the January 2019 issue of Silkwinds magazine.