In the fullness of time, the International House of Pancakes, or IHOP, has travelled farther eastward, to set up shop in Cyber Hub in Gurgaon. Breakfast-for-dinner cravings are understood well at the iconic pancake house, which started its life in 1958 in the suburbs of Los Angeles. At the NCR outlet, breakfast nostalgia, though, was soon overshadowed by a plastered, black-and-white photograph of the “pancake man” with two blondes on either side popping against the colourful trimmings, sending our self-preservation tactics into an overdrive. We sat, thus, in one corner while many thronged the restaurant.
The menu, though lengthy, is an abridged version of the American fare with predictable offerings of french toasts, pancakes, waffles and omelettes. However, it is flexible and the staples can be mixed and matched with a range of sides — bacon strips, ham, sausages, fruits, Nutella and hash browns — and their much-favoured pancake syrups that include maple, strawberry and blueberry and butter pecan. The latter is a must try.
The binge began with spinach, mushrooms and onions wrapped in a fluffy blanket of egg whipped the French style, topped with bits of tomatoes and a rather unimpressive, curdled hollandaise sauce. But the trailing strands of mozzarella with each cut into the plump omelette, with substantial texture, helped us get over the disaster that was the sauce.
Its successor at our table was a breakfast sampler which included crispy bacon strips, pork sausages, ham, hash browns and scrambled eggs, which in the pictures on the menu looked like a soft, quivering, golden pile of deliciousness but on the plate was a pallid mess. The insipid chocolate shake with the kit and caboodle only made matters worse. But hope and hunger kept us rooted to the table. And to our delight, the dainty side of their famed buttermilk pancakes topped with a pat of melting butter changed the game. IHOP’s flapjacks are everything they should be – moist and soft, whilst exuding a mild vanilla aroma.
The eggless waffles at the American diner score over the pancakes. Their Chicken and Waffle has been able to build quite a reputation for itself over the years but we tilted towards the lethal combination of strawberries, bananas, chocolate hazelnut spread with a scoop of vanilla ice cream perched in the middle of the warm, golden-brown Belgian waffle. The restaurant disappoints in proportion to the hype it generated, especially as some of the chain’s signature favourites do not feature on this menu. But, all things considered, IHOP does make for worthwhile stop to quench those pancake and waffle cravings.
Meal for Two: Rs 1200
Address: CyberHub, Sector 24, Gurugram Contact: 0124 4192390