Gone are the days when breakfast was either a novelty available only at five-star hotels or usual suspects like The All American Diner; it was totally a street food game with oily samosas, bread pakoras, chhole bhature, idlis, etc. as the options for breakfast. In Delhi, there was only one word to describe great places to eat in the mornings – limited.
Unlike Mumbai, the capital city had relatively less number of breakfast places, until, a few years ago. The demand for good breakfast places has been growing. Thanks to some brilliant eateries where one can go as early as 7.30 am to have a hearty breakfast meal. Topped with that, the range of aromatic and healthy teas like the varieties of Darjeeling, Assam, green teas, different brews for coffee, and fresh juices and shakes are available at these eateries to suit the needs of the consumers.
With an increasing number of professionals, events and a healthier social life now in Delhi, people have started looking for places to have their favourite meal of the day – breakfast. Why favourite? Because it is the only thing that runs in 'all-day' menus successfully and it's never too late to have some bacon and eggs, croissants, vada pavs, piping hot idlis, dosas, pancakes or even parathas!
As part of the breakfast trail, here are six great places for breakfast in the southern part of Delhi.
“It is a destination and a concept café; people come looking for it,” as Chef Rahul Dua begins. Located at the Dhan Mill compound in Chhattarpur, it is imperative that one uses the Google Map to get there unless travelling by cab (there is no other way to get there the first time). Café Dori is frequented by people who know the place and love it! There are no signboards; not even a sticker anywhere, which is what makes the place so intriguing. Walking in, one would be most pleasantly surprised to a beautifully spacious café inside Nappa Dori, the designer store.
Besides the great coffee and food, the ambience is spectacular, far from the madding crowd and equipped with indie magazines, wifi, and an outdoor smoking area. Their clientele includes expats, especially Koreans, Japanese and Europeans, designers within the Dhan Mill compound that crowd the place all day, and their regulars like Bikers’ groups and people who frequent the nearby dance class and gyms.
Chefs Kainaz Contractor and Rahul Dua told Restaurant India, Café Dori is a place for people who love coffee and want to come over to get their shot either to kick-start their day or come in at any time whenever they want a great bite and coffee. “It’s the coffee that drives the food and we want to take the European food experience to a different level here with our croffle (a croissant toasted in a waffle maker) with various toppings like smashed avocados, bacon jam and local brie cheese, the poached eggs with hollandaise (benedict, pulled pork, etc),” says Rahul.
Believe it or not, the best part about the café is yet to come.
At Café Dori, there is a certain emphasis given on coffee with many varieties of hot and cold brews. To top this all, the best part (as mentioned earlier) is that it is a pet-friendly place and they encourage their customers to bring their wildings in to dine with the family!
Located in the car market in South Delhi’s Vasant Kunj, you can just miss the place the first time unless you know where to look, even though it is right on the main road, and extremely visible with its vibrant board. The place is rustic and warm, and a haven set right in the middle of a dusty market. Chef Arinder Singh of Café Connect says initially they opened the place as a ‘tapri’ to serve tea and bites like bun maska, vada pav and some basic preparations of eggs in the morning. But, they grew so popular that they turned themselves into a café and are now contemplating even opening another floor to meet the growing demand for the place!
The café used to open at 8.30 am a year ago but since the beginning of 2018, they have shifted to opening an hour later 9.30 am to cater to the people around the place who begin to drop in around then. Café Connect remains packed all day, especially during breakfast and brunch hours, with students, professionals, neighbourhood folk. There are the senior citizens staying in and near Vasant Kunj, who would chat for hours over the Café’s famous masala chai; Café Connect has at least ten varieties of masala chai. Their bestselling items are the bun maska, keema pav, eggs, parathas and pancakes. The prices are very easy on the pocket as well - a meal costs as low as 200 rupees with a beverage.
“The word Qahwa means ‘coffee’ in Arabic,” says the vibrant, young owner of the Café, Shikha Pahwa, “and the reason I opened this place nine years ago was because being a marathon runner and a coffee lover, I wanted a place to eat in the mornings and there were none around this area, in those days. So, I decided to give people what they want most … great breakfast and coffee options, especially for people into sports.”
Delving further into how she caters to sports’ people really, she adds the focus is on a healthy breakfast with a lot of bananas, eggs, honey and gur (instead of sugar). One of Café Qahwa’s most soulful beverages is the coffee with ginger and honey; it’s flavourful and soothing at the same time. Located in the prime market, opposite to the IIT main gate on the Outer Ring Road, Café Qahwa is full of students and young professionals since the wee hour of 7.30 am. The other very interesting part about the place is that it doubles up as a co-working space for which she has partnered with MyHQ. A smart business move as people could work and eat all day in any case; making it professional through a proper tie-up is a win-win situation for all!
Fig & Maple
Fig & Maple is another brainchild of Chef Radhika Khandelwal, whose first successful place is Ivy & Bean at Shahpurjat. When asked about her reason for opening Fig & Maple, she says that she really couldn't change her menu at Ivy & Bean because of the regulars there. In order to address her creative instincts as a chef, she wanted to start another café where she could try out new menus and dishes all the time.
Located in the prime GK2 M-Block market, it has two floors – the third floor and a stunning terrace. A lot of health-conscious people visit the café and the menu is green-based, with their signature dish being the fig and maple salad. The people’s favourite drink is the Mimosa, which is champagne with orange juice. The regulars at Fig & Maple are mostly the bowls and salads.
Chef Radhika adds, “Eggs and pancakes sell just as well as our fig and maple salad and the beetroot and chocolate shake is another bestseller, combining health with taste! At Fig & Maple, the average cost per person ranges from Rs. 1300-1500/-, inclusive of a drink.” The restaurant opens at 7.30 am. She tells that biker groups, early morning joggers and even working professionals who return after the night shifts drop in at Fig & Maple for breakfast meal.
Another USP at Fig & Maple is the goodwill library. People can take any book they like and take it home. The idea is that they would read it and come back with either the same book or bring another one to replace. Publishers are going to be rather happy with this Café!
The Rose Café is cosy place in Saket near the metro station with chic decor and terrace, offering light meals throughout the day. Its rosy, rustic decor adds to the ambience that is synonymous with the name and a homely dining room has recently been added by the owners at their backyard. The people’s favourites are pancakes, waffles, savoury waffles with bacon and eggs, preferred with coffee, gelato shakes and lemon cake. The Café has a curated menu for both summers and winters as specials, like salads and desserts with mango and watermelon in the summers, and soups with pumpkin mulled wine on Sundays and fresh strawberry desserts in winters.
The Rose Café owner, Tarini Ahuja says, “The dishes started with food we eat at home and family recipes (shepherd’s pie, bacon wrapped chicken, pasta, waffles, cakes, etc) and then we slowly added dishes we enjoy and the cuisines we were looking for in Delhi but couldn’t find it anywhere, like the German sausage platter, homemade gelato, light risotto, and so on.”
The café is frequented by families, a young working crowd, college goers, and others. Upon asking about the early closing hour for the café, Tarini says, “When we first opened, we used to close at 7 pm we then extended it to 9:30 pm. Our original plan was to be an all-day cafe and close in the evening but our regular guests kept asking us to increase our timing. So, we moved it further to 9:30 pm, making the place an option for an early dinner.”
Social at HKV needs no introduction. This place has been extremely popular for its food and cocktails from day one, but did you know that Social also has a spectacular all-day breakfast menu as well?
Located right in the middle of the ever-buzzing Hauz Khas Village, Social is not your typical breakfast place, but has an all-day breakfast menu, which is well-known to its regulars, but maybe not to the masses yet. Generous in its portions at pocket-friendly rates, Social’s eclectic and quirky range of breakfast is served with a large helping. The signature Breakfast Trays are really good and just what the doctor recommends!
Be it the pancakes, sausages or crispy bacon – you can get all that you want at very reasonable costs at Social. But the best is the unorthodox things that they do there, like the fried eggs topped with maple syrup and quirky bites, as sliced bananas dipped in French toast batter and drizzled with toffee sauce. For health freaks, they serve assorted fruits, yoghurt, granola and muesli to keep up with their fitness regime, so no one needs to fret once they are at Social. The price for a meal averages to about Rs 600-700 per person, inclusive of a beverage.
So, for South Delhi folk, there are now six big reasons not to skip the most important meal of the day!