• Location of the property: Fort Kochi is part of a handful of water-bound regions toward the south-west of the mainland Kochi, Kerala ; collectively known as Old Kochi and adjacent to this is Mattancherry.

  • Historic importance and advantages of the location: Nearly all visitors to Kerala consider Fort Cochin historic area a must visit place; Restaurant 51 is designed for the traveller who also wants to support innovative conservation through our collaboration with neighbours in the local community to keep history alive and the culture thriving

  • Restaurant 51 is about the winds of history moving forward to a modern, innovative and forward looking culture. We honor the materials of the past, forming a backdrop to clean design.

  • Mattancherry, where Restaurant 51 is located, is historically important for merchants and traders of spices. Bazar Road, just outside our front door, has a two kilometer stretch of warehousing and showroom spaces that for centuries prior to India’s independence were doing pretty much the same thing they do now—looking, smelling and sounding. The tastes created by the spices, which have a millennia-long importance for Kerala, are the main show on Bazar Road, which straddles the harbour. That is where merchant ships have been coming for what amounts to forever. That is our community. Itinerant. Colorful. Vibrant in multiple ways.

  • For thousands of years, starting with Egyptians, ships have docked here in search of spices. With the spice and the silk routes intermingling, Eastern Mediterranean influences entered local cuisines.

  • Malabar Soul Food - embodies the spices of the land blended with the memories of distant homelands, taking people back to the time when people who loved them cooked for them in a way that was meaningful and satisfying. Food is about sense memories: it embodies our personal and social history, giving us a sense of place, of home.

  • The menu at Restaurant 51, based on the coast’s position as a trade magnet throughout history is a blend - what we fondly call Malabar Soul Food - that brings together Indian and Mediterranean ingredients and food ways, slow cooked for our guests to enjoy

  • By the time we arrived, this building was long out of use and in complete disrepair; our neighbors were openly welcome to the assurance that something new would come of this old space. Its only use was as a pass-through for the fishermen whose boats now occupied the harbour-front; they came through before dawn and came back at sunset each day. The other building on the property was already outfitted for lodging, but a very different type connected to history. It was a ship captain’s “chummery” (boarding house) originally; while in better condition than the godown it was in need of significant renovation to become Xandari Harbour. For several reasons, our surrounding community was happy to know about our plans to revitalize this whole property. First, and most practically, it meant several hundred jobs, both skilled tradesmen and manual labor, over a two-year period.

  • This location broadens our horizons. We hope it will broaden yours as well. When Xandari first opened in Costa Rica nearly two decades ago we placed a large percentage of the property into a special status that Costa Rica’s national conservation plan designates as Forest Reserve. There the Xandari forest serves as an oasis, especially for migratory birds but also for several endemic species. Since then we had thought of our mission as primarily related to the conservation of nature.
    But here we are, in one of the world’s oldest cultures, in the midst of an urban zone that seems as rich an ecosystem - in terms of colors, fresh spice aroma, fishermen, merchants - as any tropical forest you have ever seen. So, our mission has adapted to these exceptional circumstances.

  • Restaurant 51 community's most tangible daily contribution to the local community is in the form of purchases from the fishermen who live nearby and dock just off the edge of the property; also purchases from the nearby spice merchants. It is gearing up to lend its hands in the wider community, having chosen a nearby orphanage as the primary beneficiary of its outreach. There is also an ongoing commitment to contribute to the several community schools within walking distance of the property.