Long ago, a friend and I made plans to have lunch at The Nutcracker, a little predominantly vegetarian outlet in a by-lane of Kala Ghoda. When we arrived, there was such a long wait list and the place looked so tiny, that we decided to give it a miss. But being unable to visit a coveted restaurant after earmarking it is like being unable to read a book after purchasing it. I knew I’d come back some day. That day was today.
I awoke at the crack of dawn to make it across the city for a breakfast most people seem to rave about. Of the three staple meals in a day, I’d always elect to have breakfast in a restaurant over lunch or dinner. I’m a slave to the freshly baked charms of crispy waffles, fluffy pancakes and the evergreen eggs on toast. When my friend and I walked up to The Nutcracker, I was relieved to see that there was no waitlist and we found a table right away. The restaurant is cosy with only five or six tables and noise levels can get a little high. This is not a place for intimate conversations. But it IS a place for stellar breakfasts. After admiring the wooden walls, interesting paintings and odd little knick knacks gracing unexpected corners (they included an upturned yellow stool, the painting of a brown chair and a ceramic bird on the mantelpiece), we opened the menu.
I ordered Eggs Kejriwal and Belgian Hot Chocolate while my companion opted for The Anytime Wrap, Belgian Hot Chocolate and a side of potato wedges. Service was a little slow and the waiters were often engaged in conversation among themselves but eventually, it was all on our table. And my goodness, it was every bit as good as we had heard.
I opted for multigrain bread (you can also have the unhealthy white bread) and was served two substantial pieces of toast. Arranged on the toast were mushrooms and chillies topped with a fried egg and stringy cheese. The mushrooms were cooked and flavoured to perfection and the chillies added just the right dash of spice. The cheesy fried egg made every piece that reached my mouth a sensory treat. The dish was extremely filling but still, I managed to be enticed by The Anytime Wrap.
The Anytime Wrap
It was a gourmet grilled wrap consisting of a thick and spicy omelette, zesty harissa sauce, onions and tomatoes in a soft and fresh tortilla. The spicy harissa made all the difference, which is a paste made of several kinds of hot chilli peppers. This dish was so easy to have, even though the size was considerable and the tortilla had been cut into two large portions. A great idea would be to order several dishes and sample one portion of each.
Belgian Hot Chocolate
Yes, the food was exemplary but what really warmed the cockles of my heart was the ridiculously awesome Belgian Hot Chocolate. Think thick, dark chocolate simmered to fragrant deliciousness. I was glad I’d chosen it over the more obvious coffee. The Nutcracker also has an assortment of nutritious shakes and iced teas but I’d rather try the other variations of hot chocolate on subsequent visits (there’s one with mint and one with salted caramel). The only other hot chocolate that can rival this one in my opinion is the one served at nearby Food for Soul.
I don’t really enjoy fried foods but as far as wedges go, these were great. The wedges were slim, crisp and excellently spiced. I have to admit, it was good to munch on them in between great bites of the toast and wrap.
We spent more than an hour over breakfast and I was pleased to see that no one heckled us to leave, despite the smallness of the restaurant and the ever increasing customers. The bill came to Rs 1308 with taxes – a fair price for a gourmet brunch. I’ll definitely visit again to gorge on the waffles, pancakes and salted caramel hot chocolate. Oh and did I tell you that the poor waiter confused our table with someone else’s and presented us with change when we asked for the bill? Being paid to eat – now that would’ve been a real icing on the cake. But of course, honest folks that we are, we alerted him to his mistake and the day was saved.
The lack of space and the slightly shoddy service should not earn The Nutcracker more than 4 stars from me but at the end of the day, isn’t it mostly about the food? And for those scrumptious creations and the coy, woodsy decor, I grant 4.5 stars to them. Ever visited The Nutcracker for breakfast? Leave a comment and let me know your feedback.
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