However, for someone like me, growing up almost 80 kilometres away in a small industrial town in the badlands of Uttar Pradesh, taking a trip to Mussoorie was also therapeutic. Here I had the chance to gorge upon not just stunning views but also the ‘exotic’ food that was unavailable and out of bounds at my hometown.
My first ever taste of an Apple Pie was at Casa Mia, a taste that I now associate Mussoorie and my own childhood travel with. The first time I bit into an authentic wood-fired pizza and dug into a chocolate brownie was at Chick Chocolate Cafe, that today is perhaps the most famous cafe in town. I distinctly remember spending a lazy winter afternoon at the Landour Bakehouse just reading Ruskin Bond’s ‘Notes From The Hills’ and thinking about how the colonial legacy had thrived in so many ways.
My countless trips to Mussoorie made me realise that there was more to this place than just its verdant vistas. It’s the rich history, the influence of Geography and a seamless intermingling of cultures (English, Pahadi, Tibetan, Western) that more often than not came to life through the town’s thriving culinary scenes.
Buzzing with restaurants, cafes, budget eateries and uptown restaurants, Mussoorie today has one too many options to enjoy a hearty meal. However, there’s something about the hills that make the wafting warmth of bakeries extra appealing. Baked goods and desserts are vital ingredients in the recipe for good cheer that is important while you travel, or even the quiet sense of loneliness that holiday season brings with it when your loved ones are far away—it’s nothing some delicious, freshly baked bread couldn’t make a little bit better. That’s why I decided to introduce the place to readers with a compilation of its best bakeries, only I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. From local favourites and old bakehouses to swanky new cafes – let this be your guide to happiness.
I. Landour Bake House
Where: 152 Sisters Bazaar in Landour
Landour Bakehouse is for lazy afternoons. It’s for the ones suffering a creative block, seeking inspiration from the beauty of the Himalayas and nostalgia of a time long gone.
More than the rustic ambience (think creaking wooden floors, vintage wall clocks and antique portraits), it’s the century-old authentic recipes that they still use that lend it an old-world charm. From the old-fashioned Landour Candy, peanut brittle, fresh scones, croissants, hot cross buns, cinnamon rolls, cookies, crepes cakes, and coffee, each delicacy is the result of unique old recipes from the colonial era’s residents that stayed here. You can enjoy these with stunning views of the deep valley dotted with tall Himalayan Oaks.
HG Recommends: The Vesta Miller’s Mud Pie, there is something too tempting about that name. The crispy base crumbles and the gooey chocolate melts in your mouth as soon as you take a bite. However, if you are not the kind of person who enjoys chocolates (you’re weird), then opt for Mrs Russel’s Coffee Streusel Cake.
This 19th century kitchen is as rich in its stories as it is in its baked delights. Thus, we’ve dedicated an entire feature to it. Read it here.
Cost: Rs.500 for two.
II. Casa Mia
Where: The Mall Road
True to its name, Casa Mia’s baked delights taste of home. Centrally located, this tiny nondescript bakery is easy to miss, but ask any local and they’d be happy to guide you to what is perhaps one of the finest bakeries in this Himalayan hill town. The best part about Casa Mia is that they have something for every weather. Frozen drinks and softies in a variety of flavours to devour under a glaring mountain sun, doughnuts and mousse to relish on a pleasant day and warm decadent brownies and pies for a cool, cloudy evening. We also love their spicy hot dogs and eclectic pizzas that you can have on the go for the bakery has no seating area.
HG Recommends: The fresh fruit cream, not too sweet, mixed with a variety of chopped seasonal produce. This writer’s personal favourite is their crumbly, layered apple pie, rich in flavour and full of nuts and raisins – perfect to keep you warm and full on a chilly day.
Cost: Rs.200 for two.
III. Chick Chocolate Cafe
Where: The Mall Road
Prepare to be spoilt for choice as soon as you walk into this stylish restaurant cum bakery. For their warm thin pizzas oozing with cheese, thick milkshakes, and a long display of desserts including pies, tarts, puddings, mousse and cheesecakes, Chic Chocolate is always buzzing with visitors, so prepare to wait. The owners aren’t that attentive, but this space has to make it to your itinerary for its been an integral part of Mussoorie’s culinary landscape.
The place also plays great music and has funky, rustic interiors. Think brick pillars, sepia-tinted newspaper cuttings, rock band posters and trivia about Mussoorie plastered on the wooden walls. Chick Chocolate is where the ‘cool kids’ of Mussoorie’s boarding schools hangout on the weekends.
HG Recommends: Their thick chocolate shake and their wood-fired ‘Meat Lovers’ Pizza that is loaded with sausages, pepperoni, smoked chicken Salami and sautéed onions. Also recommended is a slice of their Chocolate Fudge Cake, which is moist, creamy and the right amount of sweet. Have it with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream. Do not forget to take home their delicious homemade chocolates (milk, dark and liquor).
Cost: Rs.800 for two
IV. Cafe By The Way
Where: The Mall Road, Opp Baskin Robins
This travel-themed cafe with Polaroid cameras on the wall and back seats of scooters for seats is known to have the best and perhaps the biggest coffee menu in town. The cafe opened its doors six years ago but has already come at par with some of the place’s oldest bakeries.
HG Recommends: Their Nutella Cake, which a has a crispy biscuit base and a warm gooey chocolate filling to go with a scoop of Vanilla Ice cream. We recommend you come here for dessert after you’ve had an amazing Tibetan Fare at Kalsang Corner which is just a few steps away.
Cost: Rs.600 for two.
Where: Rokeby Manor, Landour
Not exactly a bakery, but with amazing baked delights on offer, Emily’s is a classy upscale restaurant that is part of Rokeby Manor, a 175-year-old colonial estate turned into a gorgeous hotel. Overlooking a valley, Emily’s, with its old-world charm, is a perfect place for a lazy lunch for it serves some delectable food. From mustard fish to Kerala curry, each of their dishes is near perfect in texture and flavour. However, their baked delicacies are what will leave you licking your fingers in inappropriate amounts.
HG Recommends: Their ‘loaded baked potatoes’ are absolutely unmissable. Available in four variants – creamy vegetables and cheddar cheese, roast chicken and onion, garlic chilli, and bacon and onion with herbs. Oven roasted in Pahadi potatoes and served with feta cheese and tomato salsa, these are crispy on the outside and crumbly on the inside, bursting in various flavours as soon as you take a bite.
They also bake their own bread, the heavenly smell of which will linger and tickle your taste buds. Other sure things to try here are their crispy apple crumble, date cake and the Baked Blueberry Cheese Cake.
Cost: Rs.1500 for two people
Where: London House, Picture Palace
Little Llama, an outdoor cafe with stunning views of the Himalayan landscape welcomes you with its eclectic display of baked goods that are neatly lined on a counter right at the entrance. From cute cupcakes to tempting muffins, Little Llama is a cosy place to unwind after a long day of travel. With value for money, the cafe’s known for its generous quantities and is highly popular amongst travellers for their refreshing teas, pizzas and cheesecakes.
HG Recommends: Their wood-fired four cheese pizza with dollops of Parmesan, Gouda, Cheddar and goat cheese. Their blueberry cheesecake is pure soul food; rich and warm, it has been consistently loved. The tart and tangy quality of the blueberry is absolutely not lost, but the creamy texture of the cheesecake mellows it down. If you’re looking for something beyond the ordinary run-of-the-mill blueberry cheesecake, try it here.
Cost: Rs.1000 for two.
Article by Devyani Nighoskar