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The other side of Darjeeling, part II

By Kaniska Chakraborty

Waking up to the aroma of bacon frying -- one of the few perks of staying at Darjeeling Club. Located adjacent to Keventers, it makes you lazy when it comes to hunting for breakfast.

To be honest, it is easy to succumb to that ethereal aroma of fried wonders -- strips of bacon, ham slices, salami slices, sausage links and eggs. But I miss my coffee. And slowly but surely Keventers is becoming a bit of a been-there-done-that.

There, I said it. So the thought was to find excellent breakfast elsewhere. There is Glenary's. But that is more or less similar except for porridge. Porridge is the last thing on my mind when I am in Darjeeling.

Both Sue and Mayukh spoke about this little place past the stables near the Mall called Sonam's where apparently you get real coffee outside Café Coffee Day. Even I had heard of it on my previous trips. But never made it to them, tied that we were to Keventers and Glenary's.

So, out of the warmth of double blanket and into layers of wool, off we went in search of this place. Staving off the bacon aroma, we bravely walked up in bone-chilling cold. Walked past sleepy horses and monkey-cap-clad Bangalis crowding tea shops. Went up a small slope to find a little shack-like existence opposite a nice looking hotel. The sign on the wall proudly proclaimed that to be Sonam's Kitchen, House of Real Coffee.

A small menu had a selection of breakfast items, omelettes, bread, cheese, oatmeal, cereal with milk, fruit juice, etc. Another section of the menu had lunch stuff -- pastas and sandwiches.

Puran and his wife Sonam run a tight ship. Small place, small kitchen, big smiles. Sonam was not there that day as she was unwell. Pictures of her with her dog smiled at us from the walls. I ordered a vegetable omelette, basically an omelette loaded with fresh veggies, full of crunch and egginess. Not one of those soft omelettes, but a very Indian, well sautéed one.

That came with country style thick slices of bread, toasted with slices of local cheese. My wife ordered scrambled eggs that came with a lovely rosti-style hash brown, toast and butter. And a life-saving pot of real coffee. Steaming, aromatic, strong. Heavenly anytime, especially during that cold, foggy morning.

A breakfast no less special than the more celebrated ones in Darjeeling. And one that I'll be happy to go back for. After all, simplicity has no alternative.


Dressydale's toshor collection

Dressydale launches tussor saris, panjabis and tunics, designed in contemporary looks and with motifs. The collection, keeping winter in mind, is done in bright and dark colours, blending fashion and sensibility in pretty wears. Check out their store and add this to your wardrobe.



Anokhi's New Year's collection

For the new season, Anokhi is working hard to bring a new collection with new cuts, trendy styles and fresh looks. This time, their showroom is populated with velvet appliqué, multicolour wool work, attractive embroidery, exclusive necklines, beads and stone works to make the wearer standout and look good doing just that. Keeping Valentine's Day in mind, Anokhi brings an attractive collection at a reasonable range. 2013 at Anokhi starts with new colours and new styles just for you. Visit the store and pick your favourite!



Haru Ichiban

Even when we don't want it to, how we dress expresses how we feel and gives people the very basic material to form opinions about us. Haru Ichiban is a store that has the ability to accommodate to your every mood and clothes and accessories that fit every style preference. Branded shirts, trousers, blazers, suits, shoes, ties, cosmetics and accessories are available for your perusal.

This store makes shopping not only easy but also keeps you tastefully at par with international trends. Artistically decorated, this shop will draw you in and keep you in with an amazing compilation of products.

Linen and cotton corner
Girls are going to have a hard time finding much of anything here as the collection for female clothing in Haru Ichiban is incredibly sparse. But if you are planning on going on a shopping spree for your man, then this place is it. You can shop for formal attires or semi-formal outfits of pure cotton or linen at a relatively reasonable price. A slim-fit pure cotton shirt from Zara costs about Tk.1300.

Brands such as Polo and Hugo Boss wait to be dressed in dapper jackets and t-shirts with those fabulously fitted jeans.

Worth every word
Branded watches and pens are something not a lot of people appreciate but those who do will seldom be seen without these luxury goods. And now DKNY or Hugo Boss watches and Mont Blanc pens don't have to be shipped in from abroad as they are available here.

Prices are available on request, although numerous Fossil watches and Pierre Cardin additions, along with Armani Exchanges are being offered in the Tk.17,000- 25,000 range, with prices moving upwards.

Sports equate shoes or pumps equate parties?
Shoes, the ultimate female fettish. Tk.4,000-6,000 can get you a pair of branded Debenhams-look-alike pair of party pumps in a variety of colors like purple, coral and black. Not just pumps but peep-toes, wedges, ballerinas, flip-flops all up to par with the new designs are also available. For athletes, brands such as Puma, Adidas and Converse are on display, all under one roof. Tk. 10,000 can get you a pair of original Nike football sneakers or a pair of leather formals.

Beauty essentials
You can get all your beauty needs in one shelf starting from shower gels to scrubs to face washes and move onto make-up, moisturisers and perfumes. The list of brands available is endless but to name a few, the collection includes Boots, The Body Shop, Mont Blanc, Calvin Klein and Nina Ricci.

Haru Ichiban stocks a great range of alternative skincare products that combine beautiful scents, delicious fruits and the delightful fragrances. Their friendly and helpful staff adds to a pleasant shopping experience and creates an enabling environment for their shoppers.

However, these goodies come at a high price. But that is a given since these are all well-known brands charging a premium price. So unfortunately nothing here costs less than Tk.500, be it a lip balm or mascara.

Haru Ichiban is located on the 3rd Floor of House 116, Road 11, Block-E, Dhaka.

By Noshin Nawal
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed

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