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Kay's House of Treats: September 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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