Eat, Shop and Be a Culture Vulture in Cooke Town

Maegan posted on 08 March

The residents of this tranquil neighbourhood guard its laid-back residential vibe jealously – and no wonder. There’s an incredible community spirit, and pop-up melas and exhibitions happen regularly, in one of the two parks in the neighbourhood. Wander through Cooke Town, though, and you just might miss some of its gems, many of which only locals know about. With a few small forays into the closeby Richards Town, here’s our guide to getting the best out of this little piece of old Bangalore.

Food & Drinks

Cooke Town is not known for its food … but that might be about to change, with pop-up dining, bakeries and ‘secret’ food groups leading the way.  

Chilli Chic

Haven’t heard of Chilli Chic? That’s because it’s this neighbourhood’s best-kept secret. Co-founders John Jacob and Dhanya Johnson stress that they are not a restaurant – more of a space which allows people who love food to join together and start conversations. Conceived of in New York, there is a blend of South-east Asian, Indian and African cuisine in most dishes. You can join them for ‘secret Saturdays’ on their Lewis Road terrace, or sign up for home chef events – either at their home or yours.

Fast Food Restaurants

Lewis Road, Cooke Town, Bengaluru

Upbeat

This bar-cum-restaurant is a marmite kind of a place – you either love it or you hate it. Perched on a breezy terrace, the service can be slow, and the food is unexceptional … but somehow it doesn’t matter. For dancing, it’s amazing, and the atmosphere is unbeatable. With a play list of rock ‘n’ roll and retro hits, you can jive away on the dance floor {complete with a funky glitter ball} to your heart’s content.

WhereTop Floor, Favourite Plaza, 15 Dodda Banaswadi Main Road

WhenSunday to Thursday 11am–3pm, 7pm–11:30pm; Friday and Saturday 11am–3pm, 7pm–1am

Contact+91 9845131311

PriceINR 500, cover charge at weekends

Find them on Facebook here.

Bars

Favourite Plaza, 15, Dodda Banaswadi Main Rd, M.E.G. Officers Colony, JCO Colony, Maruthi Sevanagar, Bengaluru

3.9
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Patisserie Nitash

Another well-kept secret is Patisserie Nitash – where you can bag some of the most delicious cakes in town. Everything is made-to-order {just give a day’s notice} – and local delivery is often available. If you opt to collect in person, you can literally smell the goodness from the end of the street! Read more of us raving about the cakes here, or find out about the WhatsApp group for weekly bread here.

Dessert Parlours

12, 2nd Cross, Hutchins Road, Near Amruth Medical, Cooke Town, Bengaluru

4.4
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Sunny Side Up

This is one of the only ‘eat-in’ food options you’d actually stumble on by chance if you were to walk around the area. Recently opened, these guys are breakfast specialists, and the great news is you can enjoy it all day. We’ve written about what not to miss when you drop by here.

Cafes

98/, 5, Davis Rd, Cooke Town, Bengaluru

3.9
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Café D’Costa

A small bakery with a very local feel, which punches above its weight. Swing by for caramel tarts, coconut cake, wholemeal sliced bread, chicken rolls and vegetable samosas. There’s no space to eat in, but it’s perfect for a fast bite to take away – and super reasonable, too.

Cafes

194, Wheelers Road Extension, St Thomas Town, Frazer Town Area, Bengaluru

4.2
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Happy Belly Bakes

Cupcakes and brownies to die for, as well as good old fashioned tea cakes are the order of the day here. Boxes of chocolate truffles also make for a pretty take-away gift. This place scores extra points for quirky wall art and pretty, outdoor seating. More on the signature cakes here.

Bakeries

15/1, Clark Road, Frazer Town, Bengaluru

4.2
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Shopping

Locally run, one-of-a-kind shops selling everything from crafts to children’s bookare dotted between houses on quiet Cooke Town lanesPop-up bazaars happen regularly at the Milton Street park or High Street park, and are fantastic community events.

Raaste Craft Shop

Unassuming from the outside, this tiny store has a great selection of ethically-sourced handicrafts – a go-to for birthday gifts and knick-knacks. Jewellery, accessories, crockery and handloom shawls are also must-buys. On our latest visit we were introduced to their silk-cotton pillows – infinitely better than polyester variety, and guaranteed to get you a good night’s sleep. Also try the homemade jam, made in Kodaikanal.

Accessories

90, D' Costa Square, 1st Cross, St. Thomas Town Post, Wheeler Road Extension, Cooke Town, Bengaluru

4.6
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Windchimes

In a similar vein, Windchimes is another rustic gift store, which we like for the garden/balcony accessories – from colourful metal pots and terracotta planters, to comfy cotton hammocks. Now in its 16th year, you can also find Kalamkari photo frames, candles, kurtas, greetings cards and (of course!) wind chimes here.

Gift Shops

24, Hutchins Road, Cooke Town, Bengaluru

Virala

Without losing the quintessential charm of the original Avenue Road store, Oriole Henry and Patrick Wilson have brought together a selection of Balaji’s antiques. Aside from vintage furniture, period prints and framed Mysore paintings, it’s great fun to browse through the colonial-era maps and knick-knacks. More on this treasure trove of a shop here.

Handicrafts Stores

92, Ground Floor, D’Costa Square, North Road, Cooke Town, Bengaluru

Lightroom

If you’ve read our earlier review here, you’ll know that we’re massive fans of this children’s bookstore, which, kids aside, attracts designers, illustrators, writers and other creative types. Since our earlier piece, they’ve started stocking a stunning range of two-colour books by K. G. Subramanyan, published by Seagull Books.

Book Stores

1, Lewis Road, Cooke Town, Bengaluru

4.6
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Things To Do

Apart from pop-up exhibitions in High Street park, alternative spaces put Cooke Town on Bengaluru’s cultural map.

T.A.J Residency and SKE Projects

T.A.J is an inter-disciplinary project and residency space, which holds regular events, as well as supporting both local and international artists through its residency programme. A tranquil, sunny space which has hosted events ranging from writing and drawing workshops, to talks, books readings and listening sessions.

Contact: 080 69991113

Find them on Facebook here.

Paulogy Gallery

Cartoonist Paul Fernandes has a special knack of capturing old Bangalore – with all its charm and idiosyncrasies. Having grown up in this neighbourhood, his work is full of ‘insider’ details. Buy his gorgeous coffee table book Bangalore: Swinging in the 70s to delve into the city’s colourful past, or select framed prints and memorabilia from the gallery come shop.

Art Galleries

15, Clarke Road, Richards Town, Bengaluru

4.8
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The Practice Room

Another institution which puts Cooke Town on the city map is this Iyengar yoga studio. Read our take on their distinctive classes here.

Yoga Studios

98/4, Wheeler Road Extension, Corner Of Milton Street, Cooke Town, Bengaluru