Saturday, May 26, 2012

Gloria Jean's Coffees, Dolmen Mall, Clifton

In my last post, I talked about the most happening mall that has opened up in K-town: Dolmen Mall, Clifton. It is hands down the most sprawling and spacious mall in the city!

Well, this month, Gloria Jean's Coffees opened up yet another outlet on the upper floor of Dolmen Mall. Pictured above is its main (ground) floor.

 Situated under this picturesque canopy on the ground floor, is an aquamarine colored water body having small gurgling fountains, which adds a nice touch to the overall ambiance.

Result? People, especially children, continually throng its periphery, taking photos and just watching the water bubble.

No surprise that a security guard is always nearby, trying to stop little children from climbing up on the edge of the fountain, lest they fall into it in their excitement!

Can you notice Cinnabon in the distance in the photo above? :)

As you can see, the shops on the upper floor of the mall are yet to start doing business.
Can you guess what that centrally located kiosk visible in the photo above, sells? 
Hint: FroYo (Frozen Yogurt).
Yup, its SNOG!

En route to Gloria Jean's, you will pass the about-to-open outlet of Gun Smoke.

The entrance to Gloria Jean's Coffees is a bit obscure (it is not visible from the ground floor), but once you arrive on the first floor and spot Gun Smoke, you can find it easily.

A few small tables have been placed outside the entrance on the veranda, for those who'd like a view of the lower floor of the mall below whilst dining.

If you walk into Gloria Jean's and wonder why everyone seems to be reading a newspaper, its because their menu is in the shape of one. :)
Nice touch, me thinks! :)
Local Pakistanis are not much into reading, as it is.

The "newspaper" has different "sections". This one details the wraps, sandwiches and steaks.

All-day-available breakfast menu.
What I liked is the article next to the menu that describes the benefits of eating a healthy breakfast! An avid reader and writer like myself awards a big thumbs-up to the menu at Gloria Jean's.

Desserts, enjoyed by most with a caffeine fix.

Coffee menu.
They also have chillers, milkshakes and good ol' desi chai (tea), latte style.

The staff more than welcomed my taking a shot as they prepared an espresso shot (pun unintended).

I like earthen tones in interior decor. The couches, ottomans and sofa chairs add a very cozy, soothing touch to the ambiance.

The wooden walls and floor are reminiscent of walking into a cottage in the hills. :)

As much as possible, I try to never photograph people when I take pictures in eateries.
Nevertheless, I've now learned how to "edit" (smudge out) the faces of any people who come into the photos I take, to respect their privacy.

Overall, I like this outlet of Gloria Jean's much more than the one on Sindhi Muslim.

The best part about it were its huge glass-pane windows that provide a wide view over the Karachi shoreline, allowing diners to gaze out over an as-yet uninhabited area along the sea.
I am sorry I could not capture that view, since we visited this outlet at night.

The delectable desserts, including cheesecakes, Black Forest cakes, chocolate cakes, cookies and tarts. (Refer to the menu above)

Book-lined bookshelves too! I like. :)
Give me a book (or anything else to read) over a television program any day.

There is no dearth of space in this outlet. Nevertheless, expect a long queue at the cashier when you place an order.

The wood-paned walls and tall indoor plants add to the homely atmosphere.

Aussie Chicken Club Sandwich - Rs 415 plus tax

This sandwich came with Cole Slaw, chilli sauce, a generous helping of French Fries.
It was just okay; nothing to write home about. The sandwich and its contents (cold cuts of chicken) were, cold, whereas the fries were hot. Eh?
I would probably not order it again.

Macaroni, Chicken and Cheese - Rs 325 plus tax

Accompanied by a piece of garlic bread, the bowl in which this arrived was quite unique. Its rim was much wider than its center, which was deep.
The quantity looked little at first, but after I dipped the fork in and mixed the gooey potpourri around, it looked like this (below):

Cheesy sauce generously draped the macaroni, which was dotted with cubed chicken, green bell peppers and mushrooms. The portion size was great! I had trouble finishing it off, even though I was ravenous.

The only thing I did not like was that I could taste the rawness of the diced capsicums and onions in the macaroni.

It seemed as if the macaroni had been tossed with cold vegetables and chicken, and topped with hot cheesy sauce.

I prefer pasta that is baked through after all its ingredients are added to it, to ensure that the veggies are cooked, yet crispy.

This differentiates a hot pasta dish from a salad!

Chocolate Fudge Cake slice - Rs 210 plus tax.
Very rich and dense, this cake left the quintessentially bitter taste of pure dark chocolate in the mouth.

The good thing about all-day breakfast items that are found on the menus of cafes all over Karachi nowadays, is that there is a wide array of things that children love to eat that parents can order for them, such as omelets and French Toast.

My children wanted Waffles. However, we were told that waffles were not available. What a downer!

So instead we ordered Blueberry Pancakes.

 Blueberry Pancakes - Rs 295 plus tax. The cute little jug contained warm, oozy maple syrup.
 The pancakes were light, fluffy and warm. A hit!

Potato cakes - Rs 50 plus tax - accompanied the pancakes.
These were thinly sliced, square-shaped slivers of potato sandwiched and baked with what tasted like sour or clotted cream in between; I am not sure, though. Whatever the filling was, we liked these potato cakes nevertheless.

Verdict: What the savory fare lacked in taste, the location, comforting ambiance, sprawling view, rustic interior and family atmosphere (expect lots of little ones running up and down the outlet!) made up in overall dining experience.

I will probably return here some day in the future, insha'Allah, to capture the view from the windows; probably in the day time, especially if and when any of my girlfriend(s) from abroad customarily visit during the summer.
FYI: Contact number of Dolmen Mall, Clifton:  021-35294255


I went back soon to capture the view of the sea from the glass pane windows in Gloria Jean's Coffees, Dolmen Mall during the day:

You have to admit that that is one great view!

The management sure was using their brains when they invested in this space of the mall to open a GJC outlet.

During the day, GJC is brimming with lady shoppers and their children; not to mention, young students lounging around with their laptops. There is a constant turnover of customers of all age groups.

The bright light suffuses the entire eatery.
What I like is the family friendly atmosphere. Your kid won't be told off or glared at, by either the staff or the customers, if s/he tries a few typical naughty antics (viz. standing on the couches, pattering across the wooden-floored corridors, or staring at the delectable cake display with their nose plastered flat against the glass, demanding their choice of a cake slice at the top of their voice! *sigh*).

We had some chillers - perfect refreshments for a hot summer afternoon.
From left to right: Chocolate Cake (again!), Mint Chocolate Bomb (small: Rs 245), and Crème Brûlée Chiller (small: Rs 245). The latter both had whipped cream toppings (on request - the servers ask your preference).

The chillers were quite refreshing, with the Mint Chocolate Bomb containing a subtle but not overpowering blend of mint and chocolate (duh?), laced slightly with an undermined taste of coffee. Do pass over the heavy, sweetened whipped cream blob on top if you are counting your calories. [I am not. :)]

On a subsequent visit to Gloria Jeans with friends, more savory lunch items were ordered.
This is Spaghetti Bolognese, for Rs 446
The beefy sauce was everywhere. Extremely filling. For those who avoid red meat, this dish is not for you. :)

Grilled Chicken Sandwich - Rs 455 plus tax

Penne Al Arabiatta - Rs  446

Portion size deserves a thumbs up. The pasta was cooked through and drenched heavily in the sauces.

And now, snaps from a more recent breakfast meeting:

From the all-day breakfast menu: Aussie Omelet - Rs 365 plus tax

Low-fat Frittata - Rs 315 plus tax

Cinnamon French Toast - Rs 215

Jumbo Combo: Garlic Bread, Onion Rings, Buffalo Wings, and Potato Skins, accompanied by 3 kinds of sauces. For Rs 595 plus tax.

All in all we were a satisfied lot after having our food. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cinnabon, Dolmen Mall, Clifton

Some time earlier this year, the international cinnamon roll franchise called Cinnabon opened its doors on the first floor of Dolmen Mall, Clifton, Karachi. For those who do not know, this mall is located a stone's throw away from Seaview McDonald's, and is crawling with international brand-chains, be they providers of food, clothing or whateva.

 The last time I had a huge, hot cinnamon roll swathed in toffee-colored sauce, it was at the now defunct Déjà Vu restaurant on Zamzama, back in the nineties. Don't fire me for being a loser. I just don't like cinnamon rolls that much. :-/ That has, however, changed with the arrival of Cinnabon

You can peer at the photograph above to see the menu and prices of the beverages. The coffees are the standard fare available at other cafes in the city, at the same prices, more or less.
I meant to photograph the cinnamon roll menu too, but couldn't.

With their permission, I took a shot of the counter housing these world famous cinnamon rolls. Yup, that was it. Its a pretty minimalist outlet, operating out of a counter, with tables and chairs placed in the open space in front. A self-service counter on the side stacks straws, plastic spoons and forks that you need to fetch yourself.

Don't expect a walled, comfy, cozy cafe. You will be eating right there on a marbled balcony on the first floor of the mall, on very small tables, with hardly any privacy, stuffing the rolls into your mouth as people pass by you looking at what you're having. :) 

Most of the time, shoppers just walk out of the mega Hyperstar nearby and stroll over to Cinnabon for a coffee, a roll, or just to see and be seen, if you know what I mean. ;) We dwell in "Burgher-land", after all.

Back to the rolls - you can see that they have them in two sizes: visible on the left above are the big ones. And by that I mean Hulk-style big. On the right are the more moderate-sized ones.

This was the Chocobon, priced at Rs 285.
No complains there. It was great! Portion size was more than satisfactory.

Another shot of the Chocobon

Cinnabon Classic Roll, Rs 270

Small Cappuccino, Rs 245 

Verdict: Cinnabon is reportedly open for breakfast as well, after 10 . If you like devouring soft and warm cinnamon rolls with coffee or other sweet beverages, you'll enjoy visiting this outlet. My children absolutely loved the cinnamon rolls!

FYI, Dolmen Mall is also already home to branches of Butlers Chocolate Cafe, Gloria Jeans Coffees and - according to the latest rumors - Hardees (I have heard it will open up in Dolmen Mall in the near future, Allah knows best). As I write this post, probably 2 more outlets of some restaurants (e.g. The Hot Spot) are opening up in that huge Goliath of a kidding! 

On a more serious note, for those shopping junkies who are into brands and tags, Dolmen Mall, Clifton will probably help them burn more holes in their wallets. :)


In October 2012, Cinnabon Pakistan launched their new line of cupcakes that come in three flavors: Red Velvet, Vanilla Bliss and Chocolate Passion. 

You can see the cupcakes arranged according to flavor in the picture above.Each cupcake costs Rs 135, regardless of flavor. 
The frosting on the cupcakes is their signature cream cheese classic icing, with toppings of sprinkles and other colorful goodies. 

A closeup shot of the Chocolate Passion cupcakes. These are my favorite among all three.

Sometimes, one needs a delicious, fluffy cupcake along with Cinnabon's Chocolate Mocha Chillatta (regular: Rs 325) to just sit back and enjoy the good sweet things in life!

I love their cupcakes and deem them to be one of the best (and lightest) I have ever had. No exaggeration. :)