Hotel Savoy, Woodstock school, Gun Hill, Kempty falls and Picture Palace are some of the most famous landmarks of Mussoorie. This little hill station is also famous for being the home of writer Ruskin Bond. Lovely Omelette centre is as much a Mussoorie institute as the above mentioned. Its fame is purely on the strength of a single dish they have mastered- their fine omelette.
Shahid Ansari is the fifth generation of the Ansari family which has been selling eggs from the place since 1918. In 1975 the Ansaris added an almost natural aspect to their shop. They started making and selling omelettes. Says Shahid Ansari, "This is a family tradition now. We love serving our customers with a smile."
This new addition soon became a favourite with the students of the many boarding schools located in Mussoorie and Dehradun. Lovely Omelette Centre's popularity with the students soon passed on to the tourists and some locals too. Over the years this little shop has garnered a huge fan base, so much so that almost no one goes back from their Mussoorie trip without having tasted their omelette.
Lovely Omelette Centre is located on Mussoorie Mall Road. As one starts moving on the Mall starting from the Picture Palace side, one encounters a steep incline on the road. Once you have negotiated half of this incline you would see a little shop on your right with the red board announcing Lovely Omelette Centre. You are likely to see an expectant crowd of tourists waiting outside the shop waiting for their omelette. The shop offers essentially three kinds of omelette, an oil one, a butter one and a cheese omelette (rupees 90). On special requests, they make chocolate omelette too.
The recipe is pretty simple. They use onion, green chillies, red chilly powder, species and salt. Their secret ingredient is turmeric powder which they put in to cut the smell of the egg. Their most popular preparation is the cheese omelette. The omelette is toasted with two slices of white bread with two slices of cheese thrown in between the eggs and the bread during the cooking stage. When the cooking is done, the maker then cuts it into little square pieces and serves it with tomato sauce.
You pick one square piece with a fork consisting of white bread wrapped over my omelette (with a layer of cheese inside), dip it in the sauce and then put it in your mouth. It is a warm buttery cheesy morsel which has a smooth texture and mild taste. It seems perfect in every way. The pleasant environs of Mussoorie do add to the taste. At least that is what I believe in. All in all, it is a blissful indulgence. The fact that most often you have to wait for around half an hour before you get your plate of omelette makes it even tastier.
Ansaris have other tricks up their sleeves which make their omelettes so popular. One is that on Fridays', Saturdays and Sundays, the student community, made up of boarders, gets the preference over all others when it comes to serving omelettes. Those kids who do not have enough money get a discount or even a free treat. The shop owner also provides the facility for students to call back home if they are missing their parents by providing his own phone. For the rest of the customers, the shop owner has a well-practiced conversation about the history of the place. You are treated to this conversation while you wait for your omelette or while indulging in it. Trust me, it is a nice, warm feeling.