The International House of Pancakes has finally arrived in India at Cyber Hub, Gurgaon. Unfortunately for us at Travel +Leisure India, we couldn’t coax the secret batter recipe out of the IHOP team, but what did come out were stories on how the brand was brought to India and how it has fared with the Delhi crowd in the past four days since its launch. By Sujitha Sundaram
As the sugary smell of fresh waffles wafted towards me at the entrance, I knew that all my waffle and pancake fantasies were going to come true. Situated at Gurgaon’s CyberHub, the restaurant was bustling with hungry office-goers at eight in the morning, which is quite an unusual sight here. If you’ve ever walked into CyberHub around this time, you’d know that the staff members of different restaurants are still cleaning chairs and glass windows, the security personnel is still not alarmed by black laptop bags, and office-goers are running in heels and suits to reach their cubicles on time.
Today however, was a different story.The tables were full and hot pancakes stacked in columns of two’s and three’s were flying off the kitchen pass. When we sat down and our order was brought- a New York Cheesecake Pancake and a Strawberry Banana Chocolate Hazelnut Spread and Ice Cream Waffle – what immediately struck me was the incredible portion size. And the taste was equally gratifying: so soft and warm, that it melted in the mouth right away. While the pancakes were served with glazed strawberries and whipped cream, the waffle was crunchy with the bananas and hazelnut adding a distinct flavour. We washed down the meal with a tall glass of iced tea. At IHOP, you aren’t restricted to one shot glass of syrup. There are four unlimited syrup options on each table- maple, blueberry, butter pecan, and strawberry- that you can swath on your pancakes and enjoy.
The interiors are warm and welcoming and designed like a classic Californian restaurant, with a juice bar plonked near the entrance (where they make oh-so-fresh juices). We learned from Chef Mandeep Sabherwal (an IHM graduate who was with The Park hotels before joining IHOP) that their orange juice is made from Valencia oranges and have the goodness of three fruits in every glass. The orange juice has already become a hot favourite here.
While Indian customers are always difficult to handle, IHOP debuts with zero compromise on delivering the American taste. The menu remains unchanged from its parent restaurant, and therefore one can expect the most authentic IHOP experience. Apart from the chef’s recommendations of the New York Cheesecake Pancake, the American style burgers, and the Spinach Roasted Red Pepper Melt sandwich, there are a variety of finger foods, pastas, and salads on offer, all equally delicious. Food safety, hygiene and portion sizing are the three pressure points, admits Chef Mandeep. All the meat and vegetables are weighed and portioned using calibrated scoops to maintain consistency and hygiene. The team took a 45-day training at IHOP Dubai to get accustomed to the brand DNA.
As we urge you to try this place out, we give you some quick IHOP trivia:
- In a year, IHOP serves two million gallons of orange juice worldwide. They also serve two million cups of coffee.
- At IHOP CyberHub, all the pancakes and waffles are eggless, and this might just be the only restaurant in the world that serves them this way.
- The batter and other ingredients are sourced and sent to them by their franchisors, DineEquity Inc.