The port-city of Kochi (Cochin) is filled with many Dutch and Portuguese buildings to remind us of their invasion and settlement. When Prince Charles and Camilla visited Jew Town four years-ago they walked by this decrepit warehouse, without a second glance. But now, anyone wandering on Jew Street will pause and look up at year-old heritage building, once owned by Rabbis. Mocha Art Café in Kochi has a 300-year-old story to tell. This month-old space is snugly located amongst a plethora of fabric and antique shops helmed by Kashmiri entrepreneurs.
In about 1915 the building was bought by a spice trader named Abdul Karim Mohammad who turned it into a warehouse as his business grew.But, with well-established businesses running smooth, Junaid’s search for something exciting began his pursuit to make a café where people could relax and enjoy their time. Thus, he began restoring the 300-year-old structure bit by bit.
One of the first decisions was to preserve the structure’s original form. The long Dutch style windows with seats emerging from the lower end of the wooden frame remain just as they used to be. Red oxide floors and wood carved pillars give glimpses of the original structure. Untouched brick walls also add quite a rustic charm to the décor. Junaid wanted to incorporate plants in the interior design and placed about 2000 of them in an impressive vertical garden that thrive in the sunlight that pours in through the part-transparent roof.
The café’s walls are an exhibit space for renowned young painter Sara Hussain. Her paintings are displayed throughout the place. The café is quite big even though Junaid has only used half the warehouse so far.
He also made sure there is something for anyone who comes in – a sole traveler looking for a place to read with a cup of coffee or a family looking for a hearty meal. The best part about Mocha Art Café, though, is the warmth you receive from its ambience.
Director/Curator: Mr. Abdul Karim Mohammad
Contact: 0484 222 4357