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

chilli chic in cooke town for food

Photo by: 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.

Where: Lewis Road, Cooke Town

When: by prior arrangement only

Contact: +91 9108283323

Price: INR 2,000 for two upwards {approx.}, and bring your own beer

Find them on Facebook here.

Upbeat

upbeat restaurant and bar at banaswadi

Source: Upbeat Restaurant

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.

Where: Top Floor, Favourite Plaza, 15 Dodda Banaswadi Main Road

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

Contact: +91 9845131311

Price: INR 500, cover charge at weekends

Find them on Facebook here.

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

Where: 12, 2nd Cross Hutchins Road, Cooke Town

Contact: +91 9845427364

Price: INR 100 upwards for bread, cakes INR 900 upwards per kilo

Find them on Facebook here

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.

Where: 98/5, Davis Road, Cooke Town

When: 9am-9.30pm

Contact: +91 9916842131

Price: INR 700+tax for two

Find them on Facebook here.

Café D’Costa

cafe dcosta for your bakery needs in cooke town

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.

Where: Wheeler Road Extension (opposite Christian Fellowship Church), Cooke Town

When: 9am to 9pm

Contact: 080 25490345

Price: INR 20 upwards

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.

Where: 15/1, Clark Road, Richards Town

When: 11am-9pm

Contact: +91 9845011638

Price: INR 40 upwards (brownies), INR 750 upwards per kilo (cakes)

Find them on Facebook here.

Shopping

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

Raaste Craft Shop

raasta cafe on wheeler road for home decor and craft items

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.

Where: 90 D’Costa Square, 1st Cross, Wheeler Road Extension (near North Road junction)

When: Monday to Saturday 10am-2pm, 4pm-9pm, Sunday 10am-2pm, 6pm-9pm

Contact: +91 9008761061

Price: INR 50 upwards

Find them on Facebook here.

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.

Where: 24 Hutchins Road, Cooke Town

When: 10am-2pm, 4pm-8pm. Closed on Tuesday

Contact: 080 25460697

Price: INR 20 upwards

Find them on Facebook here

Virala

virala in cooke town is a store for antique items

Photo by: 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.

Where: 92, Ground Floor, North Road, Off Wheeler Road Extension, Cooke Town

When: Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 12pm-6pm. By appointment only.

Contact: +91 9845047917

Price: INR 800 upwards

Find them on Facebook here.

Lightroom

lightroom childrens book store in cooke town

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.

Where: 1 Lewis Road, Cooke Town (near junction with Lloyd Road)

When: Monday to Saturday 10.30am-6.30pm

Contact: 080 25460466

Price: INR 30 upwards

Find them on Facebook here.

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 residency and ske projects in cooke town

Photo by: 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.

aPaulogy Gallery

apaulogy gallery in richards town

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.

Where: 15 Clarke Road, opposite Richards Park Entrance, Richards Town

When: Monday to Saturday 11am-7.30pm, Sunday 12pm-7.30pm

Contact: +91 8105436700

Price: INR 200 upwards

Find them on Facebook here.

The Practice Room

the practice room in cooke town for iyengar yoga

Photo by: 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.

Where: 5/4-1, Wheeler Road Extension, between Lewis Road and Milton Street

When: Full schedule here (http://www.thepracticeroom.in/classes/)

Contact: +91 9535948899

Price: INR 2,000 per month upwards for students, otherwise INR 2,500 per month upwards

Find them on Facebook here.