Nostalgia will drag you places. It had only been a month since I last tasted pancakes, but I was missing them dearly. So imagine my delight upon finding out that a café in Lahore was serving them. The only thing I enjoy better than food is the company of my love, and on a rare occasion I avail the opportunity to experience them both simultaneously. This was one of those rare occasions.
Sidebar: Dear reader, if you’re planning an honor killing after reading the last paragraph, you should know that by “love” I meant *insert something religious*. Praise Allah, don’t kill me.
Yes, that absolutely was necessary.
The harsh reality of living in Pakistan. Truth. Leaves a bitter taste in my mouth too.
I had heard of this place before, called Coffee Tea & Company and abbreviated as CTC by it’s patrons. I heard it was expensive and reserved for the elite class of Lahore and Pakistan. Rest assured ladies and gentlemen, their prices are very reasonable and they are in a very accessible area of Lahore. It is not just for the money laundering zakat-fund robbers & politician’s children.
The first thing you notice is the cliche, English coffee house environment, bedecked with contemporary art and old fashioned lighting. The entrance is into a patisserie located downstairs below the actual restaurant. The wooden stairs lead up to the sitting area. I wish I could present a better analysis of the architecture, but unfortunately I was too hungry to keep account and I lack the vocabulary even if I wasn’t.
The sitting area was lively. The crowd itself presented an assortment of families, couples, teenagers and foreigners. It was a bouquet of diversity. That put me at ease. We enjoy not sticking out you see. It helps evade the inevitable. The nail that sticks out, they say, gets hammered down.
The menu offered a variety of pancakes. Although I was sticking to their breakfast items, I did manage a quick sneak at their appetizers and I don’t want to say it because I’m afraid I’ll jinx it, but I think they had chicken wings with blue cheese. A reason to go back sometime, perhaps? Though I have yet to visit any restaurant in Punjab twice.
We ordered their blueberry pancakes and the strawberry banana pancakes.
Now, I am not a food aficionado by any means, nor do I consider myself a pancake connoisseur but I have had a variety of pancakes in my lifetime. From the Indian dosas and uppams to Italian crespelles and french crepes (oh shut up, they’re pancakes), they have always been this thin, flat cake made of batter and flipped around in a pan. This wasn’t the case here. Take a look at these bad boys.
Of course, naturally, my response was of denial. I always underestimate the power of Pakistani creativity. Here’s RDJ doing what I did:
I tried telling the waiter that these are not Pancakes. These, in fact are not even close to being pancakes and the waiter was like:
That’s the traditional response in Pakistan to any criticism, constructive or otherwise. The customer is never right and may go fuck himself if he insists that he is.
Anyways, don’t judge a pancake by it’s shape.
Whatever they were, THEY WERE DELICIOUS!
The maple syrup was authentic and the butter was surprisingly fresh. I wanted to eat it with a spoon but that would have been dangerous, so I pasted it all over and around the pakicakes (term coined) and inhaled them.
A sugar high ensued, which had to be enhanced by a caffeine rush induced by some over sweetened chai.
We sat around and chatted for a while as the lunch crowd dragged in. I heard a burrito being ordered somewhere behind me.
How random is this place?
Price per head: 500 (average)
Service: Quick, unorthodox. No assigned waiter but I think that’s for the best.
This place is a MUST if you visit Lahore, only because there aren’t many places in Lahore serving breakfast without dead houseflies in it.