Karachi is a bright city brimming with wonderful eateries, vibrant shopping malls, classic heritage monuments, modern coffee houses, and innovative art galleries that always have something fresh on offer. While the city boasts an abundance of diners, cafés and galleries, there is a section of the Karachi populace that craves special places which fuse these elements together. Koel Café and its adjacent art gallery form one such place, located in the peaceful area of Defence, away from the city’s hustle.
With food being served in the café, the art gallery also hosts exhibitions of its clothes and prints, where people can look into the latest motifs on offer and make purchases from its shop, which is also located inside. High in reputation and excellent in quality, the art gallery and café offer much to the senses of the curious and explorative Karachiite.
A woman of many talents, Noorjehan Bilgrami began the groundbreaking Koel project back in 1977, with the aim of reviving traditional Pakistani motif and print that had historically been the essence of art and craft in the region. With exhibitions of its products in numerous countries including Japan, Kuwait and India, the company has collaborated with local artisans and designers to construct a culturally refined sense of fashion and household products. Koel is now a brand of multiple chains that include a publication house, furniture items, as well as dyed cotton and silk clothes for summers and winters. With hand-printed fabrics often employing their signature violet and indigo dyes, based on the cultural motifs of Hala, Bhittshah and Interior Sindh, their minimalistic design approach has given them a distinctive style. The company has expanded significantly, with outlets in leading malls and limited yet distinct prints.
Based on my own wonderful experiences, I would highly recommend Koel Cafe – whether you’re looking for some solitude or some quality time with family and friends – to enjoy a night out in an airy and tranquil courtyard with delicious food, charming local music, and marvelous art.
All images have been taken from the ‘Koel Café’ and ‘Koel Gallery’ Facebook pages.
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