If Chandigarh’s upscale Sector 9 inner market has turned out to be the most happening place for the city’s elite and youth in recent years, an important reason is the existence of the Backpackers Cafe.
It has built up a reputation of being “The Place” in Chandigarh’s social circuit, especially for those who relish good non-Indian cuisine and want to wear it on their sleeve.
The Cafe, started in 2007, was almost a pioneer in its category to offer English-style breakfast. Chandigarh, which was used to only a few fine dining restaurants, dhabas in and around the city and the uphill drive to the nearby Kasauli hills, was quick to lap up the concept.
“We wanted to start a good breakfast place and that is how Backpackers Cafe came into being. As for the name, the idea was to have a travel-based cafe where people on the move could sit down and have a good meal,” the cafe’s owner, Abhay Jagat, who runs a chain of popular food enterprises in Chandigarh with his wife Priya Grewal, told IANS.
The All-Day Breakfast menu offers quite a range from farm-fresh eggs with bacon, cinnamon and raisin pancake stack, BBQ chicken, bangers and mash (grilled sausages), country potato wedges and sauted veggies.
Customers can go in for custom-made choices like Spanish omelette, Indian masala omelette, sauted onion and ham or pepperoni and the like.
From nicoise salad, “the forever young French recipe”, to Skillet meals, country-style cheese raclette and cheese fondue to regulars like grilled meals, sandwiches, burgers, ultra thin-crust pizzas and small eats like tremetzini (Italian finger-shaped sandwiches), aranchini (basil flavoured risotto balls stuffed with jalepenos, mozzarella and black pepper) and saffron chicken brochettes – there is much to choose from.
“Cafes the world over are a habit. People want to go there often to enjoy their cup of coffee with a meal. At Backpackers, we have a small kitchen providing good khana (food). The response has been very encouraging,” Jagat pointed out, adding that customers can also get the listed meals custom-made.
To water down the meals, besides a range of coffees, the cafe offers smoothies (including fresh fruit and yoghurt), shakes, fizzes, fruit and vegetable blends, among others.
Backpackers now has two outlets, the popular one in Sector 9 and a bigger one in the courtyard of Elante Mall, the city’s biggest.
The outlets, usually brimming with people, have a western rustic look with live kitchens.
“Backpackers now has a distinct identity in Chandigarh’s food culture. Here, you can walk-in in any mood or attire and bump into friends and acquaintances. The food here is always amazing,” Harkirat Singh, a horticulturist-cum-entrepreneur, who is a regular at the cafe, told IANS.
The cafe’s unique menu is in the shape of a tabloid newspaper on thick art paper with a lot of entertaining information. For instance: “Welcome to Backpackers, Chandigarh’s own Travel Cafe. We aspire to provide a safe haven for adventurers, rebels and pirates alike, with no prejudice in mind. We don’t judge you and want you to explore new places, meet new people….and if you are thinking about it…..you are more welcome to do so….while cherishing our delectable cuisine.”
With such tempting invitation and food – it’s time to be at Backpackers!
* Location: Sector 9-D (Inner Market) and Elante Mall courtyard.
* Meal for two with soft beveragse: Rs.600 to Rs.1,500
* Timings: 8.30 a.m. to midnight.