N’eco’s Natural Store and Cafe
There’s only one sure shot way to salvage your weekend mornings; head on over to N’eco’s for breakfast.
Saturday mornings are supposed to be mellow, mild and melodious (I love alliterations). None of the hectic weekday rush. I imagine my weekend mornings to be peaceful and calm, sipping tea while perusing the news, helping my son water our fledgling vegetable garden. Reality could not be in starker contrast to the beautiful and peaceful image I just described.
My kid wakes up at the literal crack of dawn and insists that I accompany him into his room so that we can play in his tent. I’m supposed to stand around witnessing his attempts at being Pakistan’s Bear Grylls while drinking shots of coffee so that I can actually wake up. My hair is a disaster, my pajama set doesn’t match, and my husband is sleeping like a log. I’m not sure if it’s a genetic quirk that allows him to sleep through anything, or if he’s just that good at playing dead.
This Saturday, however, was surprisingly different. Since pretty much all of Karachi was still asleep, we decided to head out and grab some breakfast. My husband wanted scrambled eggs while I was craving halwa puri channa (breakfast fit for kings). With such wildly differing cravings, we knew N’eco’s was the place to go.
N’eco’s for Nashta
N’eco’s is Karachi’s first organic café and store. It is located in Bukhari Commercial, and the entrance has a lovely rock fountain, with glorious plants and vines all over. The interior has a quaint, relaxed vibe. Lots of plants, quirky wall art, and hanging decorations. The piece de resistance is a large tree, bang in the middle of the eating area. Usually festooned with hanging plants and kitschy decorations, this time around the tree was draped with twinkling fairy lights.
I would like to say that we were led to our tables, but I’m a regular customer so I traipsed off to my favorite spot near the bakery. We quickly chose our respective dishes. I went for the traditional halwa puri platter, with organic puris and achaar served on the side, while my husband selected the scrambled eggs with roasted tomatoes. My son grabbed his favorite cookies from the bakery section.
Our drinks arrived, with my better half choosing orange while I opted for apple. The apple juice was beautifully served in a vintage bottle and it literally tasted like an apple has been liquidized and served. Technically, this was the case. Crisp and sweet, it was perfect for a hot summer morning in Karachi. I cannot stand orange juice, so I can’t really comment on how good it was, but my husband assured me that it was great. The bread basket was brought over, with fresh herb butter, jam and an assortment of croissants, buns, and breadsticks. While many may question the presence of the breadsticks, my personal motto is “no carb left behind” and I promptly finished the entire thing. Special shout-out for the jam, by the way. Not too sweet, and with a lovely chunky texture, it was perfect with my croissant.
Our breakfast was served, and I could not wait to dive in. A gorgeous platter, with spicy potatoes, channa, and halwa, it was decadent and delicious, without being overly greasy or heavy. The channa was a touch on the bland side, which I wasn’t a fan of initially until I paired it with the spicy potatoes, which were a class apart. They were phenomenal. The puris were light, airy and everything a puri should aspire to be. It actually felt like a super-classy, elevated version of the halwa puri channa I have at Cheema and Chatta in Islamabad. I cannot say which one is better because both places cater to completely different palates.
The scrambled eggs with grilled tomatoes were pretty impressive as well. Served with N’eco’s famous multigrain bread, overall, it was a very good dish. I am not a scrambled egg connoisseur, so I cannot vouch for whether they were the best in the city, but I’m a fan.
No visit to Neco’s is complete without checking out the organic store located in the basement. It is amply stocked with every product you could ask for, from organic hair and skin care to Himalayan salt lamps, rolled oats and buckwheat flour to rose water and spices. There is something for everyone there. An excellent breakfast, exquisite service and retail therapy to boot. What else can you want? N’eco’s proves itself each and every time I go there, and I can’t wait to go back!