The Joys of All-Day Breakfast at Pondicheri
As an ardent advocate for eating “breakfast” foods any time of the day, I appreciate any establishment that offers eggs, pancakes, and the like beyond the anti-meridian hours. Thus, when I learned that Pondicheri Café serves its breakfast service until 3 p.m., I was excited to see if some of their “morning favorites” would become my afternoon ones, as well.
At 1 p.m. on a recent Saturday. the dining room and outdoor seating area were packed with patrons who apparently were just as smitten as I was with the option of feasting on jaggery coconut pancakes, saffron yogurt, and other brekkie items later in the day. Feeling more savory than sweet, I decided to postpone trying the aforementioned items in favor of the masala eggs and spinach paratha. Despite the crowd, both items arrived within 10 minutes of placing my order, which allowed me just enough time to grab a glass of water and gaze admiringly at the cute bulldog adjacent to my table, nibbling on morsels gifted from his owners’ morning thalis.
The sizeable hill of masala eggs, laden with cumin and cardamom and laced with sauteed bell peppers, corn, spinach, and celery, were a delicious dream with a perfect soft-scrambled texture and strong but not overpowering spice. And despite its dark green complexion, my oblong spinach paratha was light on vegetable, though ultimately that mattered little, as I used it primarily as a base for constructing a taco of sorts with my eggs.
An additional bonus of having breakfast—err—for lunch is that you can enjoy dessert afterward with less guilt than you would, say, for chowing down on a slice of cake after an omelet at 7 a.m. Fortunately, Pondicheri has that angle covered as well with its renowned Bake Lab, which crafts Western baked goods with a South Asian twist. The sweet coda to my meal was a hefty chocolate chunk cookie infused with fresh mint, almond bits, and grated coconut—gut-busting, yet simultaneously, and strangely, refreshing.
That’s an edible paradox I won’t mind enjoying again during my next visit to Pondicheri. Maybe alongside more masala and some chutney.