Rahul Verma savours the moments spent at Emily’s, a little restaurant in Landour

I can’t remember when I first went to Landour. Though it was many years ago, I still remember the cook at the cottage we were staying in. He prepared the most delicious meals – and I particularly remember the roasted chicken that he fed us. Since that first visit, Landour has always been a foodie getaway for me. The pizza at a cottage called Devdar Woods is among the best I’ve eaten, and the pancakes and French fries at Vipin’s little shop in Char Dukan can still make my mouth water.

Landour is a well-kept secret that hill lovers have been sharing among themselves. It’s about 30 kilometres from Dehradun, above Mussoorie. A cantonment area – which is why it is still untouched (the armywallahs have strict rules about construction in their areas) – Landour is a quiet and beautiful little town. All that you can do there is take long walks – and eat.

I went back there for a short visit – and decided to have lunch at a new hotel that has opened up there. Called Rokeby Manor, it was earlier mainly for visiting foreigners seeking to learn Hindi. Now it has been taken over by a new group, and done up suitably.

We went there for lunch one sunny afternoon. I’d been told that the view from the restaurant was stupendous. There is an open terrace where you can sit and eat, but it was too hot a day to sit out. So we sat inside the restaurant – called Emily’s – and looked at the menu.

The menu is elaborate. I suppose breakfast there will be most enjoyable. It does the usual eggs, mushrooms and sausages, and has a healthy breakfast for all those health freaks. The menu has an Indian section, but I focused on the continental fare. The entrees included vegetable lasagna (Rs.220), risotto (mushroom – Rs.220, chicken – Rs.240 and seafood – Rs.260). There are a host of other dishes too – shepherd’s pie (Rs.360), fish and chips (Rs.460), almond crusted fish (Rs.460) and grilled salmon (Rs.680).

But my eyes were riveted on the dish that I enjoy the most – a club sandwich. This had been described as the Rokeby special club sandwich (Rs.250) – and was just as juicy as it should be. Bacon, ham, eggs and chicken spilled out of the seams of the bread, and there was a nice heap of freshly fried potato fingers to go with it. I doused my plate with ketchup (forgive me, but a club sandwich has to be dunked in red tomato sauce) and had a great meal. We’d also ordered a chicken stroganoff (Rs.350), which was out of this world. The chicken was soft, and the gravy was deliciously peppery. You can have this with either rice or pasta. We ended the meal with some nice cappuccino. The dessert list looked inviting and consisted of, among other dishes, an apple pie (Rs.100), sticky toffee pudding (Rs.160) and baked cheesecake (Rs.175). But I’d had a late breakfast, so reluctantly gave the desserts a miss.

Emily’s is a quaint little café – and the next time I am there, I should make sure I am not in a hurry. This is a place where you should sit for a couple of hours (at least), looking out into the mountains that surround Landour. There’s nothing, let me tell you, that beats a club sandwich and crispy hill air.