Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cafe Mubarak, Garden Road, Saddar

Sometimes a tryst at a rustic eatery that brings back old memories is what gives the family a really different thrill of adventure! Come summer, my better half decided to avail some of his official, pending leave days at work. 
We were thinking of doing something different, so he decided to take us for breakfast one weekday morning to a local cafe in Saddar, a stone's throw away from his Alma Mater, IBA, where he often had breakfast before classes in the 1990's, as a young MBA student.
Rest assured, the experience was a memorable one!

Cafe Mubarak is located on this main crossing in Saddar, on Garden Road.

The pedestrian bridge built especially for IBA students to enable them to enter the gates of IBA easily, is visible a short distance from the cafe's entrance.

The quaint interior of the cosy, dim-lit cafe seemed to take us back in time.

We proceeded upstairs to the "family" section.

It is housed in a verandah-like space overlooking the cafe's main eating area below. The long-stemmed fans moved lazily as the cafe floor was dusted clean for the day. We arrived at 9 a.m, so only one other customer sat sipping tea and browsing a newspaper.

Will you ever be able to eat prawn, mutton and chicken dishes in Defence or Clifton at such economical rates? I doubt it!

We were surprised that the breakfast menu had no paratha's or puri's in it. The influence of the English was apparent, as a typical, gora breakfast was on offer.

The breakfast menu was simple and economically priced.

Like Cafe Chullu Subhani that is also located in Saddar, this cafe offers Chullu items on its menu as well.

The omelette was fluffy and light; the half-fried eggs were just right (although they are not on my hot favorites' list, but hubby likes them). The toasts were buttered lightly on the inside. Classic gora breakfast!
You could just imagine while sitting there, how gentlemen probably would come for breakfast to this cafe back in the 80's, when few restaurants existed in Karachi.

The strong tea was brewed in this small stainless steel kettle like classic doodh patti, part of Pakistan's age-old culinary heritage.
Its perfect taste took me momentarily back to my childhood when I drank the tea my Nani similarly brewed in a stainless steel kettle in her house after dawn each morning!

As you can see, the total bill (including fresh packaged juice for the kids) was very economical.

Egg Pudding, enjoyed on a subsequent trip to Cafe Mubarak, for Rs 50
Topped with a blob of cream, this had the traditional taste and texture of egg pudding - the kind made from organic, full cream milk and free-range eggs. At such an economical price, this quaint little dessert was a pleasant surprise!

Verdict: The uniformed waiter was prompt and polite in service; everything about the breakfast was just right! For anyone who enjoys a traditional English breakfast, I say that you must try out this experience. Why not go early morning one of these days, during summer holidays?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Secret Recipe, Khayaban-e-Shahbaz

Note: This franchise has closed down since this post was published. This restaurant no longer exists at this location.

Located on main Khayaban-e-Shahbaz in Defence Phase 6 is an outlet of the international Malaysian food franchise called Secret Recipe.

The interior is spacious and tastefully decorated in red and skin hues.

Here you can see the counter housing their baked goods, in particular the scrumptious cakes. Their cakes are huge in size and priced between RS 1400-Rs 2500 per cake. However, the size and quality of the cake makes the price worth it, especially since other local bakeries offer ordinary gourmet cakes at similar prices. The restaurant has three levels, including a basement.

The seating arrangement has both dining chairs and sofas/couches for the more cafe-style look.

Whenever we have gone to Secret Recipe, we have noticed that it has a family atmosphere, with the usual presence of youngsters/teenagers "chillaxing", in addition to groups of ladies and families with children.

The starter menu. Prices are in the same range as the other expensive restaurants in the vicinity.

Thai cuisine is also on offer in the main menu. You can see that one main a la carte entree costs between Rs 350-500.

We had gone for dessert. The desserts range from Rs 100-Rs 200 exclusive of tax; mainly cake slices of different kinds, including cheesecakes. It is difficult to pick which one to have!

A slice of the cake Chocolate Indulgence cost Rs 165. It was as good as it looks, believe me!

Hot Chocolate

Smarties and ice cream. Notice that the edge of the dessert spoon is inscribed with their name! Unique.

A huge slice of Chocolate Fudge Cake cost Rs 145. And I mean it when I say "huge"! One person can finish off this calorie-infested nemesis of their diet only if they are very hungry.

Verdict: It is a good restaurant with tasty food and high quality desserts. Portion size is satisfactory and the staff is polite and welcoming. Highly recommended for family or girls'/ladies' outings.