As it happens, India’s hill stations have never been a part of the country. Culinarily speaking, that is.
Mussorie has amazing Chinese food, though it serves overwhelming Punjabi cuisine too. Macleodganj is a heaven for Israeli and Italian. Shimla has fish and chips and English breakfasts. Darjeeling, many say, has the best of Tibetan food. The higher the hills, better the food. Unless, you are on a religious circuit like Kedarnath, Badrinath, you can eat interestingly diverse and good food.
I avoid travelling to religious places, which is not easy. Earlier, I had written about the awesome food that we had at Pushkar, of all places! Nothing like a good surprise when it comes to food. This time it was the turn of Rishikesh to spring a surprise on us.
If you are standing at the foot of the stairs at Laxman Jhula, with your back towards it, you can see two signboards for German Bakery – one on the left, another immediately to the right. Now, there is nothing German about them and very little baking happens at both of them. German Bakery is the general term that is used across hill stations to indicate that they serve European food.
And, as it happens, German Bakery is never the real name of the place too. For example, the one on the right is Devraj Coffee Corner, and the one on the left is Oasis Restaurant. We will come to the Oasis Restaurant later. First the good things, Devraj Coffee Corner a.k.a the German Bakery, Rishikesh.
The most visible place in Rishikesh also happens to be one of the best. Commanding an amazing view of the jhula, the river and the temple, it would have been such an anti-climax had the food sucked. Thankfully, it didn’t.
The moment you enter, you will notice the pebbles on the floor. A brilliant idea – no dirtying, no cleaning. Add the wooden tables and park chairs and you have a distinctive looking restaurant ready.
The clientele is decidedly firang, we were the only Indians for close to an hour that we were there. But the service is not partial to foreigners, which we had noticed at a few places in Pushkar and Macleodganj. Now, coming to food, you can see what we ordered from the pictures. What you can’t see is the watermelon juice, lime soda, ginger lemon honey tea and four kinds of cookies.
The beverages were great but the cookies were good for instant disposal. All the cookies were so horrible that I wanted to hang them, take them down and shoot them, then burn them and stamp their faces. I mean, they were really bad.
Thankfully, we had really good food before we had the cookies. The sizzler…let me tell you all the food is vegetarian…came with whole roasted potatoes, a good dose of vegetables and you will die licking sauce. Though it was not drowning in cheese like the ones at Yoko Sizzler, it tasted still better. The lasagnia, again, was not the densely packed heavy kinds that you get. I didn’t know that I could love anything, let alone a lasagnia. But I did.
I almost forgot the pasta. It was the first item that vanished from the table. It was an authentic pasta, no pretensions and no experimentations. Just good quality pasta, herbs, not too much cheese and sauce that’s just enough to wrap the noodles.
Go there next time you are in Rishikesh. During monsoons, there is more water in the waterfalls and there are hardly any people around. Enjoy the pics and remember, there is no shame in drooling.