A chance discovery of this hole-in-the-wall café where breakfast and cappuccinos were our morning fix, sipping honey lemon tea had become a ritual—whiling away the crisp, sunny afternoons reading books, just the way my friend and I had thought of spending the time—Perky Beans turned out to be one of the best things to experience for those five days in Pokhara. Amid the countless coffee shops, bistros and diners nestled along the Lakeside road, one might easily miss this modest looking café. So pay a little attention to not miss this spot.
We arrived in Pokhara in the last week of December—the week of Christmas and New Year’s Eve. This period is also popular among the locals because of the annual Pokhara Street Festival; restaurants set up their food stalls on the main street, evening lights, colorful pennants, and banners hung across the street, live grill and fried ice-cream rolls are served on the spot, and lots of people stroll in that stretch of almost 3 kilometers.
Balmy mornings, little sunshine, creamy coffee
The days start early in Pokhara. My eyes would open up to the looming Machapuchare glowing golden yellow in the first rays of the dawn. What a beautiful sight to behold!
Little corner shops open up at 6 a.m. As I peep out of my window, I see shopkeepers sweeping the dust off their entrance. By 7 a.m., Perky Beans is up and running too. This made the nippy mornings delightful for us as we could enjoy hot cups of lemon tea and croissants.
By 8:30 a.m., I had my scrumptious breakfast ready to gorge on – a platter of boiled eggs, fried sausage, hash browns, and slices of bread along with a cup of cappuccino. I look out on the road from the rooftop sitting as the daily life begins to thrive. There is no hurry to leave this place. We decide to relax in our bench, let our skin soak up some sunshine and feel alive while we read our books and try to make sense of this beautiful, enigmatic world. Not to forget the few conversations in between.
When you stand in the entrance and look at it, you can barely guess the nice surprises this place has in store for its visitor. First, it’s their coffee, croissant, and tea. I didn’t try the rest of their hot drinks and cold beverages. But if you are a fan of honey lemon tea, about which I have mentioned a couple of times by now, you will absolutely love the fine balance between its sweetness and sour taste. The croissants are fluffy. It goes well with your coffee or milk tea. I heard a lot of good things about their milkshakes, but I never got to try them.
I was also surprised by their generosity with food portions and the quality, especially for the price we had to pay. Pretty inexpensive! You don’t expect such things on a usual day.
Once, we went to their counter to pay the bill. A flight of stairs on the corner immediately grabbed my attention. Within a few minutes of our conversation with the owner, we got to know about a reading room which lies in their basement. My friend and I quickly exchanged cheery glances and knew what to do. Now we stood in this large room with cushions for seating and warmly lit lamps on each coffee table. It was a comfortably large and spacious room, where one can quietly spend their time reading, writing, away from all the chaos.
That we could find a tranquil café with a hidden alcove where one can sit silently and do nothing—an oasis of sorts, right in the middle of a busy street makes Perky Beans the hidden gem in Pokhara.
I would recommend staying in the Lakeside area if you want to enjoy the perks of Pokhara—boating in Phewa Lake, cycling and exploring the lanes of Pokhara while you get to appreciate the panoramic vista of Annapurna range. Certainly, not to miss the experience of tasting the assorted flavors of organic Nepali coffee and tea. If your itinerary doesn’t include a hike across the Poon Hill or a longer trek to the Annapurna base camp, then three days are enough to spend in Pokhara.
Long before, in 2012, I had visited Pokhara just for a day. The trip was short and done in haste and had felt incomplete to me. The yearning to know this place intimately remained deep in my heart. Before leaving, I made a silent wish to come back once more, and bask in the unhurried and gentle vibe of this place. Little did I know that five years down the line, I would take this journey again.
This time it was easy-going with plenty of long walks, blue skies, and wintry sunshine. Although we didn’t visit the famous Shanti Stupa or Sarangkot hill to watch the sunrise.
That yearning no longer existed.
Pokhara finally felt complete to me.