It’s back: Kashi Art Café, on Burgher Street, Fort Kochi, which has art, coffee, sandwiches and a relaxing ambience, will be reopened on Friday. The same place, the same menu, but the interiors have changed. Karl Damschen, restoration architect and Marc Delrome, designer, have helped Edgar Pinto, the new owner, to keep intact the heritage status of the quaint place.
What Anoop Scaria and Dorrie Younger, the former owners created from an old Dutch house, 12 years ago, grew into a hub where artists showed their works and had heated discussions over coffee.
Tourists loved the homely atmosphere, where no one came, waste tray in hand, giving you the signal to leave. You saw tourists reading a book, simply enjoying the view or having a conversation over a long, leisurely breakfast.
“We plan to keep everything the same, even the staff has been retained,” says Edgar, who has put up some of the works from his art collection on the walls and in the small courtyard within the café.
A seductive sculpture by K. S. Radhakrishnan adorns this niche space, while on the walls, works of Pradip Naik, Bose Krishnamachari, Murali Cheroth, Christine Mamakos, Sri Lankan artist Sampath Amunugama and Vivek Vilasini. A work by Marc Delrome is very Keralite.
He has nine dry whole coconuts painted in different colours and mounted them on separate frames with green in the background. He has hung them up, five in a row, vertically and put two of them horizontally to make a plus sign. Very innovative and rustic.
One side of the wall is no wall at all. It is alive and growing, with potted plants (orchids, ferns, greens etc) arranged from top to bottom, side to side.
Railway sleepers and pebbles decorate the floor in one area while you have iron tables and chairs, as also wooden chairs, some cast iron and even granite tables.
The café opens today but the Kashi Art Gallery there will have its first show on August 4, with Riyas Komu’s first solo exhibition in Kerala. “There will be seven works, paintings and sculptures, for three months. After that we will have K.S.Radhakrishnan’s works for a month.
"Emerging artists in India like Subodh Gupta and others will also be shown. Popular artists from Mumbai and Delhi will be exhibited here,” says Edgar.
As for the café, it will function as of old. No soft drinks, but only fresh juices of the season, plus of course coffee (freshly ground), tea, spiced tea or cold coffee. Short eats and continental fare will be available as also cakes, chocolates, pies….
Art and food…happy bedfellows indeed!