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Food & Dining: Ande ka Funda

By Sucheta Rawal Email By Sucheta Rawal
November 2023
Food & Dining: Ande ka Funda

Finally a place where Atlantans can enjoy eggs the Indian way! Eggmania, a New Jersey-based franchise offers egg keemas and Indian-style omelets that desis had been missing amidst a sea of American breakfast places. The restaurant goes a step further with creative, contemporary egg offerings such as Egg Katori, a take on Southern-style deviled eggs, and many more.

If you grew up watching Doordarshan, the Indian national television, in the ’80s, you probably remember wrestler-turned-actor Dara Singh’s famous jingle:

“Sunday ho ya Monday, roz khao ande!”

(“Be it Sunday or Monday, eat eggs every day!”)

This marketing campaign was a hit and it drove up the sales of eggs among even vegetarian households. Families started finding new and innovative ways to cook eggs. At my home, egg bhurjee and omelets became common breakfast items while egg curry with rice often made it to our dinner rotations.

FD_2_11_23.jpgFor desi egg lovers, American breakfast places may offer a nice change once in a while but eventually we crave for the oomph that comes from egg dishes made with spices familiar to our palates. Four New Jersey-based friends (Ilesh Patel, Buland Patel, Hemal Patel, and chef Ankit Patel) knew of this hankering all too well, inspiring them to launch Eggmania, an entire egg-based Indian restaurant franchise. Started in 2013, it has now spread to ten locations. The menu was created by chef Anoop Sharma, who grew in up Surat—as is evident by the Gujarati influences in the food.

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[Top] Chicken Keema Roll: a tight, toasted tortilla wrap filled with flavorful, ground Halal chicken cooked in spicy curry masala and melted cheese.

[Left] Paneer Ghotala: shredded paneer served in a thick chili, tomato, and onion paste.

Eggmania entered the Atlanta market in May 2023 with a location at Patel Plaza in the Johns Creek- Suwanee neighborhood. Franchise owner Ravi Patel is planning to open a second location soon. Open for brunch, lunch, and dinner, the restaurant’s décor features yellow, eggshell-shaped chairs and fascinating egg trivia on the walls. The interior has a modern industrial look that has gained popularity among other local restaurants such as Chai Pani and Masti. Television monitors display pictures of the food and live sporting events. Old Hindi songs play in the background. Wall posters display quirky jokes about eggs. Here is one: “What does a meditating egg say? Ohmmmmmlet!” 

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With seating for 70 in the 2700-square-foot space, there are comfortable wood chairs and tables for seating in groups of two and four. With a few people inside, it can get pretty loud as the voices echo off the high ceilings. There’s a full bar on one end of the restaurant. It displays all kinds of spirits but also offers cocktails, mocktails, fresh juices, and milkshakes. Mango margarita with jalapenos, Bebo ka Nasha with vodka or tequila, and chilly guava and shikanji (pani puri water), to name a few. The choice of refreshing hot chai with ginger or buttermilk offers a flavorful accompaniment to any meal.

 

Bombay Grill Sandwiches: Chicken Peri Peri [Top] ,  Hara Bhara [Left] , and Paneer Masala [Bottom] . 

The menu has a dizzying array of beautifully executed, innovative dishes that are not found at other Indian restaurants. For appetizers, there is Egg Katori—a take on Southern-style deviled eggs—featuring two boiled eggs, halved and stuffed with a thick onion, tomato, ginger- garlic masala, and topped with shredded cheese. The cheese tastes like Amul but is actually Land O’ Lakes due to its ease of availability. The Chicken Keema Roll comes as a tight, toasted tortilla wrap halved into two pieces, each filled with flavorful, ground Halal chicken cooked in spicy curry masala and melted cheese. Paneer Gotala is another unique dish in which shredded paneer is served in a thick chili, tomato, and onion paste alongside a thin homemade roti to counter the spice. You can also order a side of white bread for a more homely brunch feel.

There’s an entire section dedicated to Bombay Grill Sandwiches, which seem to have become commonplace at Indian restaurants across Atlanta. I tried the Vegetarian Masala Grill which had fourquarter portions of a layered, buttered, toasted sandwich filled with mashed masala potatoes, mint chutney, tomato and onion mayonnaise, and American slice cheese. It was light enough for a small entrée, large enough to share as an appetizer among four people.

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It was hard to decide which egg-based dish to choose from. After all, how many eggs can someone who rarely works out eat in one sitting? I picked Anda Lahori, mainly because it reminded me of Middle Eastern shakshuka. It also had more than one iteration of eggs to keep things interesting. It turned out to be a combination of sunny side up eggs and sliced boiled eggs simmered in a runny tomato puree and garlic gravy with chunky onions.

[Left] Anda Lahori: sunny side up eggs and sliced boiled eggs
simmered in a runny tomato puree and garlic gravy with chunky onions.

 

For more traditional Indian fare, there is Chicken Makhan Mari Kebab—my server recommended this one over all the other kebab items, and I can see why it is one of the best sellers. Boneless pieces of chicken, tenderized overnight in a marinade of yogurt and “special seasoning mix,” are wrapped in aluminum foil and grilled to perfection on skewers in a tandoor and served with mint chutney, sliced onions, fresh cilantro, and red chili flakes. The chicken was flavorful and tender. Among the selection of pulao, the egg pulao reminded me of a vegetarian biryani with basmati rice, diced green bell peppers, onions, and chopped boiled eggs. Heat and spices have definitely not been watered down for the Western palate. While all dishes are made to order, premade spice mixes are sent to each location from the factory to ensure consistency and secrecy of the recipes.

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[Right] Chicken Makhan Mari Kebab: a best seller, this has boneless pieces of chicken, tenderized overnight in a marinade of yogurt and “special seasoning mix,” wrapped in aluminum foil and grilled to perfection on skewers in a tandoor and served with mint chutney, sliced onions,
fresh cilantro, and red chili flakes.

I was disappointed to see that after such an exciting and rich meal, there’s weren’t any desserts on the menu. “They are coming soon!” informed my waiter, offering me a pick from a variety of Oreo, Khajur Gulkand, and Chickoo Chocolate ice cream shakes, instead. I opted for a fresh Meetha Paan.

The service at Eggmania was personable and prices were very reasonable. It wasn’t fast food, as the food took some time to arrive and tasted fresh. For a restaurant offering a full bar and tableside service, serving in paper plates and plastic cups felt like a disconnect. It took away from the nice ambiance of a sit-down restaurant.

Eggmania is definitely a musttry for egg and paneer lovers. Vegans may have a tough time, but other discerning eaters will leave satisfied.


Sucheta Rawal is an award-winning food and travel writer who has traveled to over 100 countries across seven continents, experiencing the world through her palate. She has been named one of the most influential cultural bloggers in the world for her blog Go Eat Give. Find her on social @SuchetaRawal.

 


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