Catching an early breakfast after a nice long stroll at India Gate just wasn’t in our luck. So we took to impatiently waiting outside the Mohan Singh Palace building in CP while the Indian Coffee House folks took to scrubbing the floors & tables and readying the simple establishment for morning joggers like us to feast on pots of tea and multistoried toasts.
Comfortably settled under a huge tree, we took to staring at poor pavement encroachers sleeping, chatting, smoking bidis or selling local spirits. It was quite the spectacle but a sad one too.
Sharp 9:00 am we perched ourselves at the table right near the kitchen counter (nearer the table, quicker the service right?!).
In walks the head waiter, dressed in the red and white uniform and a fan-shaped hat typical of Indian Coffee House waiters everywhere.
Us: Can we have the special tea and the cold cream coffee? Also French toast, two cheese omelets and buttered bread please.
Him: So that’s tea, cold coffee, French toast, omlete and bread.
Us: No, we said cold ‘cream’ coffee and ‘buttered’ bread.
Him: (Looking at us as if we were dimwits) Yes, cold coffee and bread. Now, how many slices? We dare not push it any further.
After our thoroughly simple but delicious breakfast we pay the bill. It’s Rs.371/-.(Husband has Rs.370, voila! I have fished out a Rs.1 coin. Done!)
Then we start wondering if tips are included in the bill but since we can’t figure it out, we shyly ask the waiter if there’s anything else that’s needed.
Him (clearly annoyed at our ignorance): You’ve paid, now go! (Clearly, service tax was not included.)
We drop a few extra notes and scoot.