For Someone who spent teenage years and early 20’s on a No breakfast principle, the last few years few
things make me as happy as trying breakfast in different places. It is indisputably my favorite meal of the day. Breakfast before leaving for work is pretty much non negotiable.I love doing a languorous breakfast during the weekend. Below is a list of my favorite restaurants in the city for Breakfast. They are my favorite, because I believe that their food is
OUTSTANDING, their ambiance is charming, they are open to healthy customizations and the hospitality they offer, makes you want to go back again and again.
1. Indigo Deli
There are several Indigo Deli branches in Mumbai – Town, Lower Parel, Bandra and Andheri. My favorite is the one in Lower Parel, and the one in Bandra too. They do an all day breakfast. They have a wicked selection of eggs which they will make smart. Their Eggs Benedict are supposed to be the best in the city. I however, love their cous cous upma. It is served with a fruit compote, which is an unusual twist. I also love their omelets, they are fluffy and served with toast. The joy of an omelete is only double fold with good toast. They serve it with an assortment of preserves. My only grouse with them is that they don’t do smoothies. I am always partial to a place that does smoothies.Some days I also like to indulge in their bircher muesli, its interesting, but definitely not the best. I cannot put my finger on it but something seems amiss there. Their portions are generous and there’s no doubt that the breakfast that you are indulging in is probably fit for a king.
2. Salt Water Cafe
There is a “je ne sais quoi” air about Salt Water Cafe. I am thoroughly confused about what to have when I am there for breakfast. I like going there in a larger group, so that I can incite people to order several items, which I can dig in to. This is a place where I end up throwing caution to the wind unfortunately on several occassions. Their bircher muesli is sinful – i know that sounds like an oxymoron, but the fact is that it is. It’s heavenly and often the taste of bircher muesli lingers in your tastebuds. The secret ingredient i found out was ice cream, but I must also reveal that it tastes pretty darn good, even without the ice cream, You do have to roll your eyes and insist that you do not want it.
They have a huge selection of different types of eggs, which is eggciting 😛 . My favorite is the “Assorted Green” which has spinach, dill, arugula, kale, basil and corriander. A heavy amalgamation of greens, there is a burst of different flavors all distinctly green with every bite. My favorite at the restaurant.
The most wicked item on the menu is the PBJ Pancake. It looks unassuming, but the picture below should give you an idea of how devillish it actually is.They are three pancakes stacked over each other. The one at the bottom has a generous spread of jam, crunchy, grainy peanut butter in the middle and a thick lining of Nutella on the top. They also give you maple syrup on the side. While I insist on less butter and the usual attempt at keeping it healthy, I know I am fooling myself. The PBJ is unadulterated diet adultery, and I have given in to this temptation. It is impossible to finish this. They have a great selection of smoothies. That in my mind is the perfect breakfast drink! Their French Toast is a special kind of divine, i especially love the brandy soaked bananas. I actually have my eyes on that more than the french toast itself. I think they should offer a side of just that!
Service is a bit inconsistent, some days they are over friendly, some days they are a bit iffy. A full house in their case is a stressful house. They open quite early and unfortunately serve breakfast only until a certain time, so if you want a taste of the pie then make sure you get there on time. There are two branches – Bandra and Churchgate. I hear The Churchgate one is gorgeous, but the Bandra one has won my heart through my stomach, and it is an effort to get to Churchgate, while I live down the road of this one. Guilty of laziness I guess!
3. Cafe Zoe
Tucked away in Todi Mills, Cafe Zoe is a delight for the sheer space that one experiences. High ceiling, lots of sun and a very pleasant vibe. It’s an oasis in the middle of Lower Parel. They do an All day breakfast too. Their scones are specially delightful. At the right time you can get fresh from the oven scones, with an assortment of cream and preserves to eat it with. Cafe Zoe’s lunch menu wins over it’s breakfast. So often I end up eating a Sandwich which is also available all day. Their Cottage Cheese and Zucchini sandwich is a winner… along with Mushroom Tea. Divine. They do eggs as well, but well to me, they seem nothing home to write about. They are functional, and eggs for breakfast are seldom bad!
They also do the authentic belgian waffle, which is divine and pretty filling, so be sure to have company to share 😉
4. Smoke House Deli
I love the quaint kitsch of Smoke House Deli. The abstractness of black and white, translates in so much whacky art at the restaurant. It will definitely keep you occupied as you wait for your food.
Courteous waiters and extra nice Managers, make it a pleasant experience as soon as you walk in. While they do all day breakfast, they do not start serving sandwiches till much later. I had once gone with a vegetarian friend and was quite disappointed because he did not have too many options to eat if he wasn’t a fan of pancakes. They however made an exception and made a vegetarian sandwich, which I thought was very accommodating.
My favorite items on the menu here are Pancakes. They have Buttermik Pancakes with various options, one of which is Bacon and Banana, I ask them to leave out the bacon and make it just with bananas. And it is sinful, but it is good. I tell them to keep it dry and not use butter at all. I hope they stick to instructions, but because I don’t have a burst of it in my mouth, I reckon they stuck to instructions. You can order sides if you want a taste of something else, and they are as good as a meal. Not really a side in that sense.
They make a delightful “Soul Smoothie” which has fresh apples, bananas and mango. It also has spirulina, you don’t taste it so, it doesn’t matter.
5. The Pantry
The Pantry is nestled in the narrow bylanes of Fort. I am filled with so much excitement to go there. The interesting thing with them is that their menu changes as per season. They apparently source their ingredients from various parts of India, and therefore it is not processed and could be seasonal.
In January they had Red Millet Pancakes, which had a very interesting texture and taste. So different yet similar to the regular flour pancakes one eats. They serve that along with honey and maple syrup – slurpy slurp! I did go back for more but unfortunately, by then they stopped doing the pancakes and instead there were organic flour waffles. Well, I did have them and they came with a generous helping of fruit on the top. Kind of off sets the guilt of a pancake, but it is organic so what the hell. The Vanilla Custard along with that is a very different taste- the combination of the fruit, the waffle and Vanilla is like so many flavors fighting for your attention – a satiating experience.
If you Like Eggs then the Tomato Scrambled Eggs must be had. They are very different from any of the scrambled eggs I have eaten. Juicy tomatoes and perfectly scrambled eggs with Country Bread, all I can say is Bon Appetit. I quite like their Banofee Tart as well. I love bananas and caramel, so this is one dessert I do like to indulge in when I am there.
6. Pali Village Cafe
Quaint, and very french, Pali Village Cafe exudes an old world charm. Some Jazz and the blues playing in the background and grey cemented walls, and flowery seats, and some just steel, the Cafe definitely has a very European air about it.
The Whole Wheat and Oatmeal Pancake sounds too healthy but it is very very palatable. The decadent panckaes come with a side of apple compote and maple syrup. The menu has a lot of options for vegetarians – cous cous upma, tofu walnut bhurji and the usual suspects that one “eggspects” . I love this place for the different twist and of course the sheer charm of the place.
They serve breakfast till around 7 pm, post which it is about wining and dining and lots of jazz
Candies, just the word brings to mind happy childhood memories. Candies is a No Nonsense cafe in a the most charming of surroundings. It is self service and most of the food is pre prepared. They have started making fresh eggs in the morning, but hey thats the most you can expect from them. The Candies in Pali Hill is the most beautiful, it is on many levels and each room has a theme. The Reclamation one has valet, so you can choose between beauty and convenience.
Be prepared to stand expectantly while trying to catch the guys eye at the counter. Almost suggesting I got here first, because I am on tip toe, and I caught your eye first! While the food is pre prepared, because food moves so fast here, one doesn’t feel that food is stale at all.
They easily have the BEST Chutney Sandwich in the city. I have eaten them at several other joints and they add coconut in it. I will never understand why, but unfortunately they do! That really is my most favorite item at Candies. It’s odd but while they serve smoothies, they have no idea what is in them, So I like to avoid them.
An array of angry bird cupcakes and lots of cake, one has to constantly resist temptation, simply because there is so much to catch your eye. This is accompanied by a spread of rolls, puffs, buns, different kinds of grilled chicken. It is functional and its tasty. Nothing is extra ordinary, but at the end of the day it is value for money in the most beautiful of surroundings.
8. Arya Bhavan
In my book, the best place for South Indian food in the city. Unassuming and no air, it is a sit, eat and leave as soon as you can kind of place. On Sunday you would have to be prepared to wait. Just sign up with the manager and he will call out your name. In case you look like you have not occupied the entire table, you could end up sharing the table with a lonesome uncle who is on a Sambaar Vada binge.
Their idlis, sambar and chutney to me taste the most authentic, very tamil. I cannot even begin to describe the sweet blasphemy that the city likes to pass off as sambar to Bombayites. They also follow my instructions to make my dosa the way I want it – Not Crisp, Not Oily and Masala on the Side. He tells me everytime that Masala on the Side will cost me extra. Breakfast before leaving for work is pretty much non negotiable. My heart actually beats a bit faster as I see him walk down the aisle with my breakfast. Their filter coffee again is on par with any degree kaapi in Chennai. Though I like to wash down the good that I have done with a Mausambi Juice, which is more sugar and less fruit! But it immediately evokes memories of shopping in Pondy Bazaar and ending the evening at Chintamani juice stall with Sweet Lime Juice.
They also do idiyappams and appams. Their idiyappam is far better than their Appam, because I feel they simply use the dosai maavu to make the Appam. Their avial is not bad too. In a city where I don’t even see it I can easily make my peace with it.
So Bon Appetit people. As Cliches go, every breakfast I have recommended above, is fit for an emperor, so I hope this inspires some indulgences in you!