A 57-year-old landmark, the Kohinoor Hotel on Brigade Road here, is set to close down following orders by the Karnataka High Court. The last few cups of its legendary “sulaimani chai” will be served on December 24.
The hotel, snugly situated between glitzy high-end clothing stores near the junction of Brigade Road with M.G. Road, may not stand out at first. But once inside, the bustling waiters and the aroma of chai, bheja chilli fry and Kerala style chicken curry would entice even the staunchest fast food addicts.
With fans dangling low from the ceiling, fixed stone tables and benches, and a huge mirror at the entrance, this restaurant clearly belongs to a different era. It stands out in sharp contrast to the multinational burger giants across the road. From families stopping by after shopping to students catching up over lunch, Kohinoor has customers from all walks of life because of its location and reasonable prices.
Business had picked up in the last few days and the restaurant was packed to capacity on Sunday as nostalgic patrons rushed in to eat there one last time. Prakash from J.P. Nagar said, “I first came here in my college days, 50 years ago. I have been coming here for the parathas and chicken curry ever since.” He rushed to Kohinoor all the way from J.P. Nagar so that he could have one last meal before they down shutters. “It is going to be difficult to find a place like this again, I will miss it,” he said.
Samir, who works with ITC, said, “This place is special as it brings back memories of my college days when we would all come here for lunch. I’ve been coming here for the past six years since I started studying at St. Joseph’s college. It will be sad to see it go and I can’t see any other place replacing the Kohinoor.”
The dispute was between restaurant owner Mohiuddin Kutti and landlord Maqsood Fakir M. over a hike in rent which the restaurant was not able to meet. Rent in the area has been skyrocketing in the past few years with the Bangalore Metro station coming up nearby.
Manager Hassan, who sits at the cash counter, was busy chatting up nostalgic fans of the restaurant on Sunday. “We’re very sad to leave; we’ve been here for 57 years and we cannot afford to relocate to anywhere else in this area. An appeal to the Supreme Court is out of the question.” He and 12 other staff, some of whom have made this restaurant their home, will now have to find work elsewhere.