Breakfast rush

Smoke House

With diners heading out early in the day, restaurants across Delhi are tapping into the morning market

It took a while to get used to, but now it's pretty standard to see people lining up outside the restaurant before it opens at 7 am," says Pawan Uppal, executive sous-chef at The All American Diner, an old habitue of Delhi's early risers and diners. While earlier, the American eatery at the India Habitat Centre was one among the handful of restaurants in the Capital to serve breakfast (the others being Saravana Bhavan and other such regional Indian restaurants), the last few months have seen a mushrooming of breakfast menus from Khan Market (which has Smoke House Deli, The Blue Door Cafe and others) to Chanakyapuri (with the likes of Andhra Bhavan and The Qube), and most with mushrooms actually on the menu.

Earlier, there were certain rules while eating out for breakfast in Delhi. While Indian breakfast staples (from aloo ka paratha to idli-dosas) were dished out by the bhavans, the pricier continental fare was dispensed by the five-star hotel coffee shops. Today, the restaurant options are myriad, as are the available dishes. Quick-service restaurants such as McDonalds, Dunkin' Donuts and Subway are also pulling out all the stops to tap into the breakfast market, opening shops at 8am and introducing various dishes to start the day on.

Chef Shamsul Wahid of Smoke House Deli says, "Today, everyone is concerned about health. And while people still like to go out for late-night parties, many are switching their social events to the morning, especially those who like to cut down on their calorie intake during the night. Going out for breakfast is going to get bigger."

Aditya Dahiya, 25, a marketing executive, who seems to be attending official breakfast meetings as a matter of course, says sales strategy discussions seem to go well with eggs and bacon on the side. "Many corporate teams have started following this breakfast meeting concept. It makes sense — you're at your most alert, have the most energy and the inclusion of food into any kind of activity makes it more appealing," he says.

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