Mike’s has to be one of the most reviewed restaurants in our city with practically every newspaper, magazine and periodical having written about this august eatery at some point. Most reviewers have raved about the food and the gastronomic experience, and commended its hospitality and service. Sadly all of the above were lacking on this outing to what was prior to this fateful visit one of my most favourite places to go eat in Kathmandu.
Mike’s opened in the 80’s and served huge breakfasts that had one returning for more and more. After moving to Naxal, they added Mexican dishes to their list of options and it was here that it developed into the haven that it grew famous for, epitomising old world charm and grace. Just over six months ago, they moved to their new premises at Baluwatar, and it is here that I went for lunch.
I have no complaints with the new location. In fact it is commendable how successfully they’ve made it feel like the old place in terms of greenery, décor and the serene milieu. My criticism lays squarely on the food that was served.
Five strips of dry, bland chicken accompanied with mashed potatoes that tasted like it was prepared from a dry instant mix with gravy that was clumpy, lumpy and floury was not what I had in mind when I ordered the roast chicken breast with rosemary and garlic (Rs 470). To add insult to injury, the garlic bread on the side was stale, and the butter had been melted and then left to solidify so that it tasted like a bad, mass-produced ghee.
The Club Sandwich with French fries (Rs 335 and an extra Rs 100 for the fries) was my date’s choice. While I chided him for being boring and unimaginative and for playing it safe, it was actually a fortuitous decision. The bread was clearly from the same batch as the aforementioned garlic slice. It was old and hard and thus the entire sandwich disintegrated on the very first bite. Plus the entire thing was just insipid which is strange because it is very difficult to make bread with egg, cheese, salami, ham, lettuce, tomatoes taste bad. To Mike’s Breakfast’s disgrace, they have managed to ignominiously pull off this seemingly impossible feat.
The positive part, is that the fries are still crispy on the outside with a soft starchy interior. But it is a sad day when all you can find redeeming about this much loved place is that they haven’t forgotten how to fry their potatoes.
PICS: RUBY TUESDAY
The lemon meringue pie (Rs 120) in the display counter looked delicious with a light, peaky whipped egg-white top beautifully complementing the rich yellow custard. Alas, the crust was underdone, the custard so gelatinous that instead of the curd being light, fluffy and redolent with the flavors of freshly squeezed lemon, it was so thick and cloying that it actually left a bitter taste in the mouth.
Even though friends had been bemoaning its decline for awhile now, I wanted to see it for myself because I did not want to give up on Mike’s. And even after this visit, romantically I choose to hold on to the notion that I just happened to be there on a ‘bad day’.
How to get there: Mike’s Breakfast is in a lane opposite Grihini Supermarket in Baluwatar, near the Nepal Rastra Bank.