Thursday, February 14, 2013

Original Crepe Factory, Khadda Market, Phase 5, Defence

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Tucked away in one of the side lanes off Khadda Market on main Khayaban-e-Shamsheer is Original Crepe Factory.
The website of this business is surprisingly quite well-maintained and comprehensive. Browsing it made me want to try out crepes for breakfast on a Sunday.

Original Crepe Factory is located in the side lane near the clothing store Labels (which is clearly visible on main Khayaban-e-Shamsheer).

There is a parking lot right opposite, on the side of the road having the "banglows" (*chortle* :P).

We were the first and only ones there. 
I was immediately disappointed to note that, even at 9:45 a.m in the morning, the drapes were drawn and there was no natural light. This made us almost want to go elsewhere.
Almost. :)

The staff insisted that they could not lift the drapes.
Anyhow, everything else in the ambiance was alright. The couches and coffee tables were comfortable and inviting. However, space was limited.

The rest of the interior gave off a warm aura due to the mahogany hues and the ample use of wood. 

There are seating options for lone crepe aficionados as well. :)

The couches are situated just in front of the bar and coffee counter....and the wall-mounted television (yawn).
The staff cordially shut it off when we requested them to, since we were the only customers. We enjoy talking to each other over our meals, instead of staring passively at a screen.

You can see the baristas prepare your caffe's and lattes right there, on the coffee machine near the counter. A great chance for my home-schooled children to see how a latte is made. 
Even the crepe-making machine (a flat, non-stick griddle that looked like this) on which the staff prepares your crepes, is right there in front of you. My children really enjoyed the live cooking demo. :)
They have never had crepes before, so they kept asking how crepes are different from pancakes, until they finally saw them being made.

Original Crepe Factory call themselves a bistro. 

Thats the best shot I got of the menu.
Most of the crepes in the a la carte menu range between Rs 300 and Rs 480. All prices quoted are inclusive of taxes.
There are both savory and sweet varieties of crepes on offer. The portion size leaves nothing to be desired.

They have a special set of items for breakfast (brunch), called "Omelet Crepes".

Chicken Sticks - Rs 275

They were out of Mozzarella Sticks. Disappointing! :-|
These chicken sticks that we ordered instead, were served with a tasty sauce/mayo that tasted almost exactly like tartar sauce.

Hot Chocolate Crepe - Rs 430 
Drizzled with hot chocolate sauce on top, this crepe was stuffed inside with Nutella. A chocaholic's calling, truly! :)

Hands down, the Hot Chocolate crepe was a big hit with my family, especially the kids (even the baby!)
Which chocolate-lover wouldn't enjoy a breakfast like this?

I took another shot to highlight the ample, oozing Nutella filling.
You'll be licking the sticky chocolate off your fingers and plate when you have this crepe!

Mushroom and Cheese Omelet Crepe - Rs 420
The good stuff oozes out when you cut it open. 

We ate the crepes by dissecting them down their middle first.
You can see the alternating layers of omelet and cheddar inside the delicate folds of the crepe.

Behold the melted cheese!
The piping hot crepe melts the sliced cheddar when it is folded over it. Yum.

In this shot, you can see the mushrooms as well.
Cheese, mushrooms and omelet in every bite. Delicious!

Cafe Mocha - Rs 190
Their coffees are somewhat cheaper than the ones at other popular joints (such as Espresso, Roasters, Gloria Jeans, and Cinnabon), even though the quality and quantity is the same - something that I really liked.

Tea - Rs 90 (tea bag chai, not doodhpatti).

Latte Macchiato - Rs 190
I am a bit confused. I ordered a latte macchiato but got what distinctly seemed like a cafe latte.
In the description of this drink on their menu card, they stated that it would comprise of the contents of a latte in reverse: steamed milk, topped with milk foam, topped with espresso. 
Whatever the case, a macchiato is supposed to have a "mark" of espresso on top of white milk (and hence the name), no? Where is it in the picture above? :P
Whateva! :-/


Verdict: It was an enjoyable outing, and the crepes were great. No complains about the taste, quality, or quantity of the food. The service was prompt and cordial. The staff made us feel very much at home, despite the din created by our spirited children. 

I will be going there again if I ever feel like having crepes, in sha Allah. :) I don't think we Pakistanis get crepes so easily anywhere else in Karachi.

Papparoti, Dolmen Mall, Clifton

 بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ

The Malaysian food franchise Papparoti has finally opened up at Dolmen Mall, Clifton.

It is located right across from the elevator on the ground floor, right next to Summit Bank, which is right next to Debenhams. It is across from the centrally located (and clearly visible) outlet of Butlers Chocolate Cafe.

Like KFC's Colonel Sanders who cooked up (pun not intended) the original, innovative fried chicken recipe, we now have a Pappa Sahib who is bringing to us a unique kind of "roti" or bun. :)

The outlet has been done up in hues of golden-brown and beige, reminding one of the main ingredients of flour and butter that warm baked buns are made up of.

I like how the huge white chairs juxtaposed against the dark wood accentuate the grey brick walls.

Wisely enough, the only "decor" is that of artificial wheat stalks. Get it? Buns made of wheat? :P

There is not much seating space inside the outlet, perhaps for about 20 people, at the most.

Which is why there are a few tables situated outside the outlet as well. The waiters serve you there. A welcome change from the self-service in the crowded Food Court on the top floor!

 There are a few combo's that will get you one chai with one signature bun. 
All of these are available at approximately Rs 320 (after adding tax).

The combo's of coffee+bun are a bit higher in price.

You can get one bun only for ~ Rs 250.
Yes. Ouch!

Other drinks..

In addition to hot chai's and coffees, there are chilled milkshakes on the menu as well. 

With permission, I took a shot of the staff preparing the buns before they were baked.

Trays of buns ready to be placed in the ovens.

The industrial-sized ovens.

 One Elaichi Chai with a signature bun.
Thumbs-up for the wooden tray! The bun reached our table straight out of the oven, hence it was too hot to be touched in the beginning.

The core of the bun is dripping wit hot, gooey melted butter. :) Lovely!
These buns really are one-of-a-kind. Especially enjoyable in the chilly weather nowadays.

Honestly, you have probably never had a bun like this elsewhere. 
Its outer dome is crisp and crunchy. Yet, the inner "flesh" is soft, stretchy (like freshly-baked mozzarella) and chewy.
The baby loved it! :)

The same buns can be ordered with a topping of whipped cream and chocolate sauce.
Toppings cost an extra Rs 60-120.
High on calories, it is advisable to save these indulgent treats for your little ones.

Teas ordered on their own (without a bun) are served in mugs.

Tea that is ordered with a combo arrives in a cup and saucer.
After the froth of the chai died away because of my stirring in the brown sugar, its color came to the fore.
This elaichi chai was nothing out of the ordinary. It was thick and made with condensed milk (like a latte), and is more on the sweet side. 

Verdict: The signature Papparoti buns get a thumbs-up from me. But we all know that a full meal can be obtained in the price of just one of their buns (yeah, I did the math) :) Good for a once-in-a-while treat.

FYI: We visited this outlet at around 10 a.m on a Sunday, a down time for business in the mall, because we wanted to enjoy a winter morning breakfast outing/chai run without going through a noisy crowd.
Therefore, we had the whole outlet to ourselves. I'd highly recommend visiting it at this time (even on a weekday morning), otherwise be prepared for noise and crowds.

Hot 'n Spicy Restaurant, Khadda Market, Defence Phase 5

Hot 'n Spicy in Khadda Market (the Defence phase 5 commercial market area that lies "in a hole or trough", as the name suggests) has become synonymous with the vintage kabab roll.

Recently, Hot 'n Spicy moved into a building located right opposite from where it has been doing good business for years.

This whole new building now belongs to the establishment, with a multistory restaurant inside.

The bottom floor, though, still caters to the diners who choose to eat in their parked cars on the road in front.

I like how the management has made special arrangements to make ease for its elderly customers as well.

A staircase leads up to the 3 floors above ground level.

The first floor.

A large aquarium an artificial indoor plants greeted us as we alighted from the rather cramped staircase onto this floor.

There is no restaurant or dining area on this floor, though.

The floor above was empty of diners/customers due to ongoing renovations.

Its interior design was more like a cafe, very different from the upper (topmost) floor.

So, further up the stairs we went.

Finally, we reached the rather, er, ornate door leading to the top floor, where the restaurant is located.

A little bit on the (cough) over-decorated side, i.e. too loud for my taste.

That being said, the owners seem to have invested heavily in brushing up the whole place.

The theme is a bit retro, with traditional touches in the furniture, art and decoration pieces.

There are dining chairs with glass-top wooden dining tables in contemporary designs.... well as sofa booth seating arrangements in one corner.

The owners seem to have clearly tried to turn Hot 'n Spicy into a fine dining establishment that attracts the more, shall we say, 'gourmet' connoisseurs of the city.

The new menu

Very picturesque and classy, eh?
Above are the rates for the Soups and Salads

Starters/Appetizers and side orders
Prices, as you can see, are thankfully still in the normal range.

Kabab Rolls and Shawarma 

Burgers and Broasts, all for under Rs 250.


Chinese items in Chicken, Beef and Fish
We were in the mood for having good ol' trashy fried chicken a.k.a broast the night we went.

Quarter Crispy Broast -  Rs 180

Cheese Broast - Rs 230
The only difference between this "cheese" broast and the normal one, is the small pot of "cheese" sauce/dip (visible on the right, above) that accompanied it.
Go figure! :P

Egg and Cheese Sandwich - Rs 150
The sandwiches are great value for money! Not to mention, great in taste.

Rainbow Delight - Rs 200

An inventive, uniquely desi dessert. We all shared it.

It had pieces of jelly, pineapples and other canned fruit flanking three scoops of ice cream (in vanilla, strawberry and pineapple flavors).
A tiny garnish of sprinkles was on top.

Chocolate Twix Milkshake - Rs 200
This was great! Thick and gooey. 
I had requested them to keep the Twix candy chunks out of it though, as I am not a big fan of chocolate chunks clogging my straw when I drink my milkshake. Chunks of solids are more appropriate in desserts, not slurpies.

Tax was charged at 16% of the bill.

Verdict: Not bad at all. I wonder how this restaurant is doing now, as we went a long time ago, when it had just opened up for business. 

If you like the food at Hot 'n Spicy, you now have the option of eating it in a fine-dine setting (with clean washrooms nearby to wash your hands) instead of out in the car.