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Somewhere at the beginning of the year, I moved into a new house in Central Delhi. It was a conventional CPWD flat, but most remarkably, it was right next to Khan Market. I discovered the joys of a morning walk at the Lodhi Gardens, amidst trees, joggers and gritty wedding/baby photographers. On my way back, I would often take a quick detour from Subramaniam Bharti Marg and take a stroll through Khan Market. From around 8 AM to 10 AM, Khan Market indeed seems like the neighbourhood market it once was. The typically chock-a-block parking lots play host to sunbathing dogs, while grocery stores on the inner lane begin loading up on the stock. Most shutters are down, but the catchy ones are utilized for portfolio shoots. Add all the fitness karma earned in Lodhi Gardens, and Khan Market rarely looks as inviting as it does for breakfast.
L’ Opera – Opens at 8 AM
In my opinion, no one does Viennoiseries better in this market than L’Opera. The Croissants bear an aroma of nutty browned butter inside delicate layers and are irresistibly delicious with a double shot of Espresso. My absolute favourite thing on the counter is the underrated Pepito, a flaky sandwich of sorts with a layer of dark chocolate and lightly dusted with sugar.
Smoke House Deli – Opens at 8 AM
Poaching eggs at home is one cooking trick I can never seem to get right. So, I’m always on the lookout for a great Eggs Benedict. Smoke House Deli dishes out a textbook-perfect version with runny poached egg, toasted Brioche, rich hollandaise and ham. They also do its greener cousin, the Egg’s Florentine and serve poached eggs on Baked beans and Ratatouille.
Sodabottleopenerwala – Opens at 8:30 AM
Whenever I miss my Bombay ritual of popping into Stadium for Keema Pao at Churchgate, I sneak into Sodabottleopenerwala. The Keema isn’t as punchy as Stadium’s, so I ask for a few green chillies on the side. Plus, there are Poros, Akuri and more eggs in half-a-dozen ways. My right beverage of choice in any Parsi Café has to be Irani Chai, with an indulgent Mawa cake].
Hot or Cold Chocolate at Choko La – Opens at 8 AM
Choko La was one of my first introductions to niche chocolate many years ago, and I’m happy to report that their chocolate beverages are still among the best in town. While the Classic Dark Hot Chocolate is a balm for the soul in winters, I find myself reaching for their robust Dark Cold Chocolate after a sweaty workout in the summer.
Ice cream at Big Chill Cakery – Opens at 8 AM
The Big Chill Cakery is probably the last thing your diet needs to see, but the adorable glass-front is hard to walk past. Nothing inside this cake-shop skimps on calories, but my biggest bang-for-burn are Big Chill’s ice creams. Who said you can’t eat ice cream from breakfast? My favourite scoops are the Midnight Mint, Rocky Road and Fresh Strawberry.
The Perch – Opens at 8 AM
The sunniest spot on this list, Perch is a favourite for early morning meetings. The rounded breakfast menu has something for everyone, from Avocado on toast to Shakshuka and Breakfast Burritos. I also love their terrific cold-brew coffee.
The Blue Door Café – Opens at 7:30 AM
The Blue Door café is the place for breakfast of champions. They’re among the first to open shutters in the market and offer nearly their entire menu during breakfast service. You could go classic with the Crepe Bretonne, or all out with a Chipotle Cheese Burger.
The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf – Opens at 8 AM
While I would probably hit Starbucks for a solid cup of coffee, I’m a fan of The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’s iced tea when a caffeine-buzz isn’t necessary. Skip the food counter though, and order something from the kitchen – Quinoa Poha was a pleasant discovery.
The Artful Baker – Opens at 8 AM
I switch loyalties to The Artful Baker when I crave pastries over bakes. Their Monte Cristo will pause your morning rush and the Moulin Rouge is an antidote for any Monday blues. The Artful Baker also makes a great Hot Chocolate and Almond Milk Coffee.
Gopala Sweets – Opens at 8:30 AM
Going Desi in Khan Market is as simple as walking over to Gopala Sweets in Prithviraj Market. Grab a Samosa, Khandvi or Gopala’s milky Rossogullas.
Yellow Brick Road, Taj Ambassador – Opens at 7 AM
If you’d rather eat breakfast like a king, then skip a la’ carte for Yellow Brick Road’s breakfast buffet. It’s the first spot to serve food in the morning, and the spread won’t leave you wanting.