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Kay's House of Treats

Friday, October 10, 2014

Cosmopolitan cafe

Cosmopolitan Cafe
Cosmopolitan Cafe

Cosmopolitan Cafe: 
Visited this new eatery located at E-street Clifton a few weeks ago, and found it to be a promising addition to the upscale cafes in Karachi. The modern decor, with the hand-painted mural depicting the cityscape of Karachi invites one to come inside & relax. The scrumptious desserts makes one want to linger over coffee & dessert with friends or family.
For more details about the place, and the menu on offer, please check out my review published at Dawn.com
 Cosmopolitan Cafe: Modern decor, sinfully amazing dessert 

Cosmopolitan Cafe

Contact Details - Cosmopolitan Cafe

C-33 Main E Street
Block 4 Clifton
Karachi, Pakistan.

(92-21) 3-529-0156, 3-529-0058



15th August 2014


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Magnum Store Launches in Karachi

Quite a few of you must have seen the photos that I shared of the Magnum store and the personalized Magnum that I made on my Facebook page. Here's my write-up of that same event.

Magnum Store Launches in Karachi
Picture provided by Creative Chaos
Magnum Pakistan held an exclusive Digital Launch on 14th September 2014 for bloggers & twitterati. Ice-cream being one of my favourite desserts, and since I am a blogger, I was very excited to attend. The event was scheduled at 5 pm and lasted about two hours. I reached the venue around 5:15 pm with Sara Muzammil from Creative Chaos personally greeting all the bloggers, giving us a brief overview of the store & showing us around.
Magnum Store Launches in Karachi
Picture provided by Creative Chaos
The first thing you notice about the Magnum store is the luxurious and chic decor - light pink Magnum monogrammed damask wallpaper complemented by chocolate brown painted walls. Situated right under a series of gorgeous looking 'Magnum' prints, the Magnum bar is the main feature of the downstairs floor. Other than that, there's lots of quirky furniture and artistic backgrounds scattered around, with a series of mirrors at one end, a wall decorated with triangular black art and strategically placed TV's. The upstairs floor continued the same concept, with stylish & funky furniture, and more backgrounds perfect for posing & taking selfies. 

Magnum Store in Karachi
There was about 30 minutes of mingling around, after which the event formally started with the brand team introducing themselves, welcoming us to this exclusive event and then letting us know all about the 'Make My Magnum' experience, which allows us to design our own personalised Magnum at the 'Magnum Bar' downstairs. 

Magnum Store in Karachi
Magnum Store Karachi - Toppings Offered

While the 'Make My Magnum' experience utilizes the Magnum bar which is available in stores, it enhances the experience by letting you choose from an array of unique toppings, which is dipped into the chocolate of your choice. The first step begins with you selecting your preferred ice-cream stick - either vanilla or chocolate, then choosing your toppings (3 is the best combination but you can add more), and then choose either a milk chocolate or dark chocolate dip. The toppings on offer consisted of 3 categories - the basics ranging from white chocolate vermicelli, chocolate rice krispies, crumbled corn flakes and honeycomb; the specialties ranging from chopped hazelnuts, crumbed biscuits, white chocolate chips, crushed coconut, and chocolate sprinkles; the experimental is what created the most buzz with flavors ranging from popcorn, sea salt, chilli flakes, dried pomegranate, poppy seeds and dried cranberries. 

As part of the activities at the event, the bloggers were asked to take part in the 'Make My Magnum Challenge', where all the bloggers took a picture with our customized Magnums and nominated four of our friends on social media to 'Make My Magnum Challenge'. If the tagged friends fail to make their Magnums within the given time frame, they would have to treat us to a Magnum of our choice. Definitely a fun challenge to try out all those experimental toppings! 

Magnum Store in Karachi
Picture provided by Creative Chaos
So I went off to the Magnum Bar to make my personalized Magnum - vanilla Magnum topped with hazelnuts, crushed biscuits, honeycomb & fruity pebbles topped in a milk chocolate glaze. I was expecting something similar to a normal Magnum but the multiple toppings & the double dipping made it something superior that will push people to come to the store. In the midst of tweeting & social media sharing, I was interacting with fellow bloggers, and the hot topic of discussion was what flavors did everyone get, and who was adventurous enough to get the chilli flakes! 

Magnum Store in Karachi
Hazelnuts, Biscuits, Honeycomb & Fruity Pebbles
Magnum Store in Karachi
Salt, Coconut & Candy Bits
Getting a lot of good reviews from people who did try the experimental flavors, I decided to get another one and this time choose coconut, sea salt & candy bits dipped in dark chocolate. While the traditional toppings were also good, this one was much better - the sea salt balanced the sweetness from the chocolate with the coconut & candy bits providing 
the crunch. 

Once the Make My Magnum event was over, we had another activity of the 'Magnum Pleasure Hunt' where we had to tweet 'where's the treasure?' to the Magnum Pakistan twitter account (@MagnumPk) and then respond to the questions. Only 10 people were selected as the lucky winner, but the rest of us were not let go empty handed, and were given free vouchers for a free 'Magnum' the next time we visited the store. 

Overall the Magnum Store looks to be an interesting addition as a dessert bar in Karachi, providing a welcome change from the plethora of fro-yo outlets in town. The Magnum Bar concept is similar to our local Dip Shop, but that's where the similarity ends because the decor, ambiance & variety of toppings offered gives it a premium feel bound to appeal to youngsters. Priced at Rs.250 for a personalized Magnum with 3 toppings, it is pricier compared to the store version, but on par with offerings from other ice-cream outlets. The Magnum Store promises to be an experience, so it remains to be seen how the brand team can keep on introducing new & innovative ideas that will keep people coming back to their store. 
Magnum Store in Karachi
Bloggers Group Photo at the Magnum Karachi event -Picture provided by Creative Chaos

This was a by invitation event for bloggers, with the Digital PR being managed by Creative Chaos and the BTL team was from Empact.

Magnum Store Details:
Location: Block 7, Clifton, Karachi (Opposite Boat Basin)
Timings: Weekdays: 12 pm - 12 am & Weekends: 12 pm - 1 am
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MagnumPakistan

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Pantry - A globally inspired cafe

"Breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Prince and Dine like a Pauper"

Breakfast is the topic of discussion on my Facebook page these days - lots of quick & healthy ideas. But Sunday's are meant for lazing around & a leisurely breakfast in the midst of family & friends. Breakfast at home has its own charms, but the not having to clean up anything (except your wallet) experience that you get when eating outside is beyond compare.
Pantry - Breakfast
Today I am going to review the breakfast I had recently at Pantry. Comprising of two floors, Pantry is a welcome relief from all those tiny cafes that are opening up in the city these days which are such a problem if you are dining with a large group, or if someone has kids. We ourselves were a group of 5 people with 2 kids. We decided to sit on the top floor which is more spacious and also had a little bit of space for kids to move around. The ground floor is smaller, but it has their drinks & desserts counter along with a display of fresh artisan bread & kitchen appliances for sale.   

Pantry is one of the few places where the menu, tagline & ambiance are in sync with another. "Comfort food with global influence" is the slogan written on the menu and this is reflected beautifully in the cafe. The setting is of a casual cafe, with beautiful windows letting in loads of fresh light. The menu isn't huge, but it features an eclectic mix of favourite dishes from around the world. So there's Tuscan scrambled eggs from Italy, Eggs Benedict from France, Lettuce Wraps from China, Beef Pho from Vietnam and so on and so forth. What further interested us was the ingredients mentioned - instead of a typical cheese & mushroom omelette, theirs is known as Country Omelette with caramelized onions & emmental cheese. Instead of basic pancakes or french toast, they have cinnamon buttermilk pancakes & french toast with salted caramel. 

Since a few of us reached earlier, we decided to order coffee while waiting for the rest. My last coffee experience at Pantry was a bit sad since my friend and I had ordered the wrong coffee, which didn't give us the jolt needed to wake up in the morning. This time asked the waiter for his recommendations, and ended up ordering large/tall cafe lattes which were exactly what we needed! It's a major pet peeve to go to a cafe with a huge variety of coffee on the menu & a clueless waiter - glad to say this was not the case with Pantry. 

We were a bit disappointed when placing the order since they didn't have pancakes or sweet potato fries or the chocolate tart on the menu. One of us had already had breakfast & had planned on ordering just the tart but was disappointed. The tart did become available later, but she had changed her mind by then.  

Our total order consisted of the following:
  1. Masala Omelette - Rs.390
  2. Greek Omelette - Rs. 480
  3. Country Omelette - Rs. 480
  4. Cajun Jambalaya Chicken - Rs. 550
  5. Cheese Poppers - Rs. 480 
  6. Chocolate Tart - Rs. 370
  7. Short Cappuccino - Rs. 210
  8. Tall Cafe Latte - Rs. 250
Pantry - Cheese Poppers
First to arrive in about 10 minutes were the Cheese Poppers - Golden nuggets of cheesy goodness served with a chipotle & jalapeno aioli. These were so good, both in looks & taste, but the 4 piece serving size was quite small compared to the price.
Pantry - Greek Omelette
The rest of the order came after 10 minutes - my friends ordered the omelettes and I had ordered the Cajun Jambalaya since I wasn't in an eggy moodThe Country Omelette & Greek Omelette were both served with roasted potatoes & grilled tomatoes along with a basket of freshly made bread with butter & jam. The omelettes were light & fluffy, with cheese being the star ingredient in both. The Country omelette had a more savoury meaty taste with caramelized onions, mushrooms & melted emmental cheese. On the other hand, the Greek omelette was lighter as it had onions, tomatoes & capiscum with feta cheese & fresh rocket leaves. 
Pantry - Country Omelette
The Masala Omelette was Pantry's take on the Desi Pakistani Omelette and instead of bread, it was served with Palak Paneer & Paratha's. It was instantly & happily devoured by my friends two kids so I am going to assume it was good. 

Pantry - Cajun Jambalaya 
The Cajun Jambalaya was a visual delight when it come with the liberal use of colored capiscums (green, yellow & red) with a sprinkling of paprika at the edges of the plate. The linguini was cooked perfectly, and the cajun spices complimented the sweet peppers brilliant. However, I felt it missed something, maybe shrimp would have been a better option or some side option to provide just a bit of crunch.

Pantry - Chocolate Tart
In the end, we decided to order the chocolate tart since it was now available. It was a fitting end to a delicious meal. I have always preferred savoury over sweet and there are few desserts that make me change my mind. This was one of them - a rich dark chocolate tart with a walnut crust served with cold vanilla ice-cream! So indulgent and absolutely delicious. The only negative would be that the ice-cream felt store-bought and I think fresh would complement the tart better. 

The service at Pantry was as good as the food we had with attentive & trained waiters. It was annoying that a few items weren't available but the waiters were well-versed about the menu and informed us on time. I do wish that there was more space downstairs, as that is non-smoking. It's never a good idea to sit in a small place with kids which is why we opted to go upstairs, but that was obviously smoking. 

Overall, Pantry is a cafe that is a must visit, especially if you are in the mood to try different cuisines. I am planning on buying their fresh bread, and using it to make sandwiches for my home-made cheese. The prices vary depending on the dish & ingredients. If the dish is using local ingredients, then the per head costs are similar or slightly higher to other cafes. However, if deciding to order a dish that incorporates expensive ingredients like fresh buffalo mozzarella or smoked salmon then the per head cost goes up. 

Contact Details:
14-C, 10th Commercial Lane,
Zamzama, Phase 5, D.H.A.
Karachi, Pakistan.
Tel: (92-21) 3-581-0515, 3-581-0517

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Lemon Garlic Chicken

There are some recipes that you just want to make at once. They make you forget about the list of chores that need to be completed, the tv shows that you could be watching, and instead you are standing in the kitchen with ingredients laid out on the counter.

This lemon garlic chicken was one such recipe for me. Instead of the Chinese styled lemon chicken, this is more of an Italian version where the chicken is first browned, then cooked with loads of garlic & spices to make this thick gravy that is just delicious served with spaghetti. Ideally you could serve rice with it, but I prefered the noodles. 
Lemon Garlic Chicken

Lemon Garlic Chicken
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse's Lemon Garlic Chicken Thighs recipe.

  • 500 grams boneless chicken, cubed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 cup oil
  • 1 cup onions, finely chopped
  • 12 cloves garlic (about 1 heads) garlic, peeled and smashed (I peel the garlic, put it in a clean plastic bag then use a meat mallet to smash it)
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)
  • 3 to 4 peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 cup chicken stock (1 chicken cube dissolved in 1 1/4 cup of water)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 3-4 green chillies, whole 
  • 450 grams egg noodles or spaghetti 
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried parsley
  • Spring Onions or Cilantro/Dhania - for garnish

  1. Season the chicken with 1 teaspoon salt & 1 teaspoon black pepper. Sprinkle the chicken with the flour and mix it together. Set aside.
  2. In a large saute pan or wok, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and golden brown on both sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and keep aside.
  3. Keeping the heat on medium-high, add chopped onions to the pan and cook till light brown. Add the smashed up garlic, red chilli flakes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, peppercorns and cook for 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice, chicken stock and browned chicken back to the pan. Bring the mixture to boil, then turn heat to simmer. Cover pan with lid, and cook for 10 minutes. Remove lid, and cook for about 5 minutes till the gravy is to the consistency you prefer. If you want thick gravy, then add cornflour dissolved in water to thicken it. 
  4. Deep fry garlic cloves in a small frying pan or tempering pan (baghar pan) till light golden & crisp. Drain on paper towels. Cut the top of the green chili's, take out the seeds from the top, and then shallow fry green onions till blistered. Drain on paper towels again. 
  5. Cook the noodles till al dente (timing specified on packet). Drain well, and toss in a large bowl with the butter & parsley. Sprinkle some of the parsley on top for garnish. Keep the water to boil for the noodles when starting to brown the chicken. The noodles should be added when the chicken is on simmer so both chicken & noodles are ready at the same time for the optimal temperature. 
  6. Top chicken with fried garlic & chili's. Another option for garnish is to use sliced spring onions or dhaniya/cilantro. 
  7. Serve lemon garlic chicken with noodles on the side. 
Lemon Garlic Chicken with Egg Noodles

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Vintage Bakeshop & Cafe

Vintage Bakeshop & Cafe - The ambiance & decor
Vintage Bakeshop & Cafe: Visited this quaint little eatery a few weeks ago. Even from outside, Vintage makes quite an impact with the beautiful yellow door, and once you enter, the decor takes you right to the Victorian era.

For more details about the place, and the menu on offer, please check out my review published at Dawn.com

Vintage Bakeshop & Cafe - A classic cafe with a modern twist 
Vintage Bakeshop & Cafe - The food & desserts on offer
Contact Details:

Vintage - Facebook Page

25C, Khayaban-e-Seher, Off Saba Avenue, Phase 6, DHA, Karachi, Pakistan

021-35341722 - 03218957066

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Salted Caramel Custard & a Belated Eid Mubarak

Eid Mubarak - Family togetherness with delicious food
Belated Eid Mubarak everyone! Whether you celebrated it simply or in a much more festive manner, I hope it was spent in the midst of family & friends. That is what Eid is all about - family & togetherness. 

I remember as a child, Eid was about new clothes, the delicious food, and of course the Eidi. Getting all dressed up with matching shoes & churiyaan (bangles); going from one house to another to meet relatives & discussing where we would get the yummiest treats; collecting Eidi in little purses, counting it up and then comparing who had gotten the most. 

As an adult, things remain the same but my perception has changed. I still get new clothes, but I try to make sure the less fortunate around me have Eid clothes too; I don't throw a fuss if there's a tailor mishap or if I don't have matching shoes. It's still about the food, but its about appreciating the love & care that someone went through to make a favourite dish for their nieces/nephews. It's about trying new things & complimenting each other instead of being a critic. Lastly, the Eidi. It's not about the monetary amount anymore, but a token which reminds me that while I might be an adult, I am still a little girl in front of the my family who loves me.

There is nothing traditional about the dessert that I am sharing today but its a new Eid trend that I started a few years back. My mom is a brilliant cook in the family (MashAllah) and I hope to someday be as good as her (InshAllah). But ever since I discovered this food passion of mine, I have taken over making desserts for family parties. The response has been brilliant (Alhamdullillah) with the family looking forward to my desserts so much so that every year, I try to outdo myself. So multiple desserts & over the top desserts & staying up half the night is another new habit. But it's all worth it when I start taking away the dessert dishes, and I realize there's nothing left :) 

Salted Caramel Custard

Salted Caramel Custard

Adapted from Bon Appetit 

Assembly: Can be assembled in a large glass bowl or in small glasses/round bowls for individual servings. Assembly should be done before serving or at 1-2 hours before serving so that the biscuit crust doesn't get soggy.
Make-ahead: Salted Caramel can be made ahead by least a week and refrigerated, the custard can be made a day earlier.  


Cookie Crust

  • 1 1/4 cup finely ground/crushed chocolate cookie crumbs (Used Oreo's - about 2 rolls)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
Caramel Custard
  • 3 1/2 cups whole milk, divided
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Salted Caramel

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds removed (or 2 teaspoon vanilla essence)
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Whipped Cream
  • about 1/2 cup cold fresh dairy cream (tetra-pak can be substituted but it will not whip up properly)
  • 2 teaspoons fine granulated sugar
Salted Caramel Custard - The different layers

Cookie Crust:
  1. Mix cookie crumbs, salt, and butter in a small bowl until well combined. Set aside about 2 tablespoons of the cookie mixture for garnish. 

  1. In a small bowl, whisk 1/2 cup milk and cornflour until combined. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the remaining 3 cups of milk until simmering. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In a steel bowl whisk egg yolks on medium speed using a hand mixer for about 3 minutes. 
  4. To make the caramel, stir the brown sugar and water in medium saucepan over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat, and cook without stirring until a thermometer reads 210 – 220 degrees F (100 degrees C) . The mixture will reduce a bit, and it will become a thick syrup similar to normal caramel. Remove from heat.
  5. With mixer on low speed, gradually whisk in the hot milk, then the cornflour mixture into the eggs. Don't mix it altogether because otherwise the eggs will cook & curdle. Slowly whisk in the caramel. Return the mixture to the saucepan and whisk constantly over medium heat, until the mixture thickens (coats back of a spoon) and a thermometer registers 175 degrees F (80 degrees C), about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in the butter, vanilla essence, and salt. Pour through a sieve/muslin cloth to make it more smooth & silky.
  6. Cover and chill custard for 4 to 5 hours. 

Salted Caramel Sauce

  1. Place cream in a small bowl. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Set aside.
  2. Stir sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high; boil, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush, until deep amber color forms, 5–6 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Gradually add vanilla cream (mixture will bubble vigorously so be careful). Whisk over medium heat until smooth and thick, about 2 minutes. 
  4. Remove from heat; whisk in butter and salt. 
  5. If any crystals/hard sugar has formed, stir the caramel over very low heat until the hardened pieces melt and the sauce becomes smooth. 
  6. Strain into a heatproof bowl. Let cool slightly.
Whipped Cream

  1. In a bowl whisk cream and sugar with a hand mixer on high until soft peaks form.
  1. Press the cookie crumbs into the bottom of a large glass bowl. Set aside. 
  2. Spoon 1/2 of the salted caramel sauce over caramel custard/pudding and top with lightly whipped cream. 
  3. Sprinkle with reserved cookie crumbs & drizzle of salted caramel (about 2 tablespoon). Make sure it is chilled before serving. 
  4. The salted caramel custard can be made in a big glass bowl or individual glasses/bowls as well. 

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Chicken Cheese Balls

Sharing another recipe that I tried this Ramazan and absolutely loved - Chicken Cheese Balls. I am a huge fan of the Jalapeno Cheese balls at Pizzo - they are filled with melted cheese which literally explodes in your mouth. Since I can't keep ordering from there all the time, this was my take on something similar. Turned out really good especially with the melted cheese inside. This is a recipe that I can see myself making in Ramadan (inshAllah the next one) & on Eid.
Chicken Cheese Balls

Chicken Cheese Balls

Adapted from Shireen Anwar's recipe 

  • 1/2 kg chicken mince
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 2 bread slices
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chilli flakes (optional - add based on the spice level you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 6 green chillies, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon coriander leaves
  • 12 to 15 mozzarella cheese cubes (one cm in size) - approximately 150 grams of cheese
  • Dry flour/maida to roll
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1/2 tablespoon of water
  • Bread crumbs as required to roll (I personally use Panko style crumbs, but you can use normal as well)
  1. Put mince with all the ingredients into a chopper or food processor, except flour, cheese, egg and crumbs. When chopping ingredients, don't add them all together into the processor as it sometimes gets clogged up. Keeping the chopper/food processor running, add ingredients through the feed tube so that they get mixed properly. 
  2. Chop all the ingredients well. The mixture should be slightly chunky (like kofta/meatball mixture) and not pasty. 
  3. Take mixture on hand, make a round flat disk, put the cheese cube in it and then roll it in a ball. Make all the balls first, keeping them on a tray/plate.
  4. Once all the balls are made, roll them in dry flour/maida first, then dip in beaten egg + water mixture, and then finally in the breadcrumbs mixture.
  5. Deep fry on medium heat till light golden. Since the chicken mixture is raw inside, make sure you don't cook on high heat otherwise the outside will brown but inside will be raw. 
  6. The balls can be kept in the freezer and then fried when required. 

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