The steady inflow of foreigners has made Mcleod a perennial food fiesta of sorts. You get everything from Japanese, Korean to the the more mainstream Italian.
Cafes and bakeries are a presence in themselves. They do good business during all hours. But breakfast is their forte. Early on our second day, we walked up to the main market and then took a right turn towards Bhagsu Road. A little way off, we found the place we were looking for…
Nick’s Italian Kitchen/Kunga’s: Our breakfast consisted of two cheese omelettes. One with mushroom and another with spinach. For the morning cuppa, I ventured to try out Tibetan Butter Tea while Mr.B stuck to his usual cappuccino. Having tasted the said tea during his days in North Bengal – culinary practices in parts of North Bengal resemble Tibet – he was quite certain my ‘adventure’ was going to end in disaster. Much to his consternation, it was quite the opposite. With a sour face, he concluded that I was served a ‘watered-down’ version of Tibetan Butter Tea, which too wasn’t particularly to his liking. As for the omelettes, they were quite average if it were not for the cheese.
The lady at the counter was gracious enough to tell us, where we could find that deliciously crunchy sour cheese. We got ourselves one whole slab, which has since livened up our snack time consisting of boiled eggs, french fries, or some such, back in Jaipur.
More than the food, Nick’s is perhaps a favored joint for its location. Standing on the narrow balcony – or the sitting area on the terrace, down a flight of metal staircase – one gets a lovely view of the mountains and faraway settlement. The morning light streaming in through the wide panes, made for a bright and cheery start to the day. However, it suffers from a major discrepancy as far as carnivorous Bengalis are concerned. Vegetarian. And I shall rest my case here.
Cafe Budan: Somehow, this place caught my attention, during our many trips to the market. It looked like a relatively new joint. I am not quite sure what caught my eye. I have feeling it was the sparse chalk n’ board hoarding and the unusual chairs. So this is where I compelled – more or less – Mr.B to step in on the third morning. I loved my tuna sandwich with salad on the side and a steaming pot of lemongrass tea. The husband ordered just a coffee for he was intent upon visiting a bakery further up.
Woeser: Located in the basement, below the ostentatiously named Black Magic Hotel, this charming little bakery, run and manned by a single lady, packs in lot of punch. Given the space crunch – just the two tables parallel to the counter – and the location, one would expect a dark and gloomy hole of sorts. Woeser is anything but. It emanates warmth, and smells of sugar, spice, and everything nice!
While Mr. B couldn’t congratulate himself enough for saving up his appetite, I was immersed in the neat decorative pieces, the ‘hanging library’ and the arty menu announcing the goodies. We shared between ourselves, the sinfully delicious Paradise Bar (a crunchy biscuit cum pastry with layers of thinly sliced almonds, chocolate, and something else (I can’t quite recall), a slice of freshly made carrot cake, and a huge mug of hot chocolate.
And with that, ended our ‘diversification’. For the remaining meals, we ended up either at Tibet Kitchen or Kailash. Peach Tea at the former, was a revelation.
Well, I can’t quite forget the oh-so-delicate lemon cheese cake and nutty chocolate cake along with the quintessential omelette at Cafe Tibet on the morning we left and the Plum Wine we smuggled into our hotel room. It was Mr. B’s idea. The positives of being with a stubborn food snob outnumbers the negatives, eh!