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Fast-food nation

Fast-food nation
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First Published: Thu, Feb 26 2009. 09 46 PM IST

Morning meal: (from top) McDonald’s has 14 combinations on its breakfast menu while Barista offers four options.
Morning meal: (from top) McDonald’s has 14 combinations on its breakfast menu while Barista offers four options.
Updated: Thu, Feb 26 2009. 09 46 PM IST
Breakfast person? Neighbourhood fast-food joints and coffee chains are finally waking up to your needs. When McDonald’s recently surveyed working men and women, including students and housewives, in the age group of 15-39 in New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Ludhiana, it found 98% of the respondents had breakfast daily; 18% indicated they would prefer eating out in the morning. We tried four breakfast menus so that the next time you are rushing to that morning meeting, you will know just where to stop for your eggs, coffee and toast.
Morning meal: (from top) McDonald’s has 14 combinations on its breakfast menu while Barista offers four options.
For once McDonald’s service-as-you-order philosophy did not work. It took the Janpath McDonald’s more than 7 minutes to serve up the Big Breakfast Non-Veg platter and Hotcakes with Maple Syrup and Butter.
The Big Breakfast Non-Veg platter (Rs99, including taxes) consists of a McMuffin (bread bun), an egg, a sausage patty, a hash brown and a beverage (tea, coffee or a soft drink). Whether you want to assemble the items and make yourself a sandwich or eat them separately is up to you.
The idea of eating a steamed and fried “egg bun” (the egg white and yolk are placed in a mould, steamed and then fried on high heat) didn’t sound too tempting but the preparation turned out to be a winner. The best part was that the egg white and the yolk were sort of separate, so if you dislike the yolk, as I do, you can avoid eating it...mostly.
The hash brown, like anything that McDonald’s does with potatoes, was perfect.
The Hot Cakes with Maple Syrup and Butter (Rs55, including taxes) is a good choice for those who like something sweet for their first meal of the day. A spoon with the two compact disc-size pancakes would be appreciated—slathering maple syrup with a fork on a pancake can be a challenge.
Where: McDonald’s “Breakfast on the go” menu has been launched at three outlets in the NCR (Janpath, Manesar and Noida’s Sector 18) and five outlets in Mumbai (Vile Parle, Phoenix Mills, Vashi’s Sector 17, Fort and Kalambol) and is served from 7-11am. There is no delivery service for this menu.
Our verdict: What works is the multiple choice for vegetarians and non-vegetarians and that these are served in a takeaway box. Stop by here if you are desperately hungry, on a tight budget or in a real hurry.
The Breakfast at Barista menu has four options—two each for vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Of course, their definition of non-vegetarian is limited to eggs. The Barista breakfast Non-Vegetarian consists of a glass of juice (packaged orange or mango juice), made-to-order eggs (they can do a masala omelette, scrambled or fried eggs), a slice of hash brown, about two tablespoons of baked beans, a toast and a croissant with butter and preserve, plus a cup of coffee or tea. At Rs169 (taxes extra), what worked for me is that you can have the eggs cooked the way you like.
A slightly cheaper version, the Eggs and Toast Breakfast (Rs129, plus taxes), comes minus the croissant and the glass of juice.
The Veg platter (Rs169, plus taxes) substitutes eggs with Cheddar cheese toast. The cheese is used sparingly on the toast and is topped with chilli flakes. Ask for the “green” masala bread (a sure hit with kids) instead of white or brown bread. Butter and preserves are replenished at no extra cost.
Where: The Breakfast at Barista menu is available only at Barista Creme outlets in 12 cities (including New Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune) and the menu is served through the day. The outlets serving breakfast open at 8am.
Our verdict: The menu is limited—between cheese toast and eggs, your breakfast is over.
Costa Coffee
The yet-to-be-launched breakfast menu at this coffee chain is minimalist. The common factor between the Non-Veg (Rs149, plus taxes) and the Veg platter (Rs129, plus taxes) is a small glass of orange juice, an orange muffin and a Piccolo cup (smallest size cup) of coffee. The Non-Veg platter offers a cold sandwich with two cheese-filled grilled sausages on the side. The filling of the sandwich is diced boiled egg whites and eggless mayonnaise mixed with chopped fresh dill. The mayonnaise in this sandwich has an extra dash of lemon juice, which gives the sandwich a refreshing tangy taste. The sausages melt in the mouth. The vegetarian sandwich filling is predictable, with three slices of fresh cucumber and sun-dried tomatoes.
Opting for an orange muffin instead of their best-selling chocolate muffin could backfire, but I like the idea of chewing on pieces of orange peel instead of chocolate chips with my cuppa of mocha.
Where: Through March, the menu will be available only at the Connaught Place and Green Park outlets, in New Delhi, which open at 8am. It will be served until noon.
Our verdict: Regulars might get bored with only two options.
Unless you have a craving for eggs, there is really no reason to opt for any one of the four Breakfast Subway sandwiches. The choices are Egg and Cheese (Rs80, taxes included), Egg and Ham, Egg and Bacon (Rs90 each, taxes included) and Western Egg (a few slices of green capsicum and tomato with a couple of slices of ham, Rs100, taxes included). The egg preparation is pre-made frozen omelette, which is heated and then placed in a bread of your choice. The reheated omelette tastes soggy. You can ask for a dressing of your choice but no veggies for these sandwiches.
Where: At all Subway outlets, served all day.
Our verdict: When you have the option of ordering the Sub-of-the-Day with lots of veggies at Rs75, why even consider these?
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First Published: Thu, Feb 26 2009. 09 46 PM IST