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|Sunny Side Up|
|Blogs - Karachi Calling|
|By Shagufta Naaz|
Say Karachi and breakfast in the same breath and the first words that come to mind are halwa puri (ok, anda paratha works too.) Anyone who remembers the Karachi of 10 years ago probably cherishes memories of a feast of piping puris, spicy chick pea curry and the extremely orange suji ka halwa topped off with a cup of doodh patti which could all be packed and taken home or eaten right there, off tin plates, at a rickety table at your neighbourhood dhaba.
Of course, digging into a month’s quota of cholesterol and trans-fats may no longer be a practical feat for those whose digestive systems have been purified by their long sojourn abroad. But that doesn’t mean that breakfast has to be a homemade affair. On the contrary, going out for the first meal of the day is the latest trend in town, except that it’s no longer about halwa or puris. Like many other things, Karachi breakfasts have also evolved into something straight out of the lifestyles of the rich and famous — or like something out of Sex and the City (at least as far as food is concerned, we don’t discuss the rest.)
First of all there is a dress code. No longer can you just amble off to breakfast in your PJs; designer jeans coupled with a smart shirt, or the latest Kamiar Rokni outfit paired with four-inch stilettos and the ubiquitous Gucci sunglasses are the kind of attire you need to pack if you plan to do the breakfast/brunch rounds in Karachi. And breakfast you will as, right now, this is the most happening meal of the day — everyday.
The menu may vary slightly from café to café but all of them offer a wide range of omelettes: cheese and mushroom, spinach and pesto sauce, olives and sun-dried tomatoes — the choice is varied and extremely cosmopolitan. Sausages, hash browns and grilled tomatoes are the usual sidelines while those who prefer to start the day on a sweet note can opt for pancakes or waffles.
And then there’s the coffee. Those who shudder at the thought of the insipid instant or the sweet, milky concoction optimistically labelled espresso — which were the only choices available until just a few years ago — are in for a pleasant surprise. Thanks to a profusion of cafes, you can order the same cappuccino, latte, Americano or espresso you would get back ‘home.’ The only thing missing is a copy of the New York Times.
So who’s coming to breakfast? Almost everyone it seems. Executives and professionals stop by before work; business folk schedule morning meetings and the yummy-mummy set meets up with friends after dropping their children to school. You wouldn’t think all these people would be up and about at that hour of the day but since many places serve an all day ‘breakfast’ there is no need to lose your beauty sleep over your Egg Benedict.
Of course, there are many for whom a trip to back home is a time to walk down memory lane and if halwa puri is part of that deal, you can still find a sanitised version at some desi restaurants, namely Barbeque Tonight, or many of the five-star hotels. But if your system cries out for crepes, muffins or the perfect sunny side up eggs, you know where to go.