Give your wallet a workout at Café DownTown

Published: June 2, 2012

Café DownTown is another addition to the eating-out map of Karachi. PHOTO: FARAH KAMAL

Glitzy, jazzy and hip.

These are the words that came to me as soon as I stepped into Café DownTown, located on Khayaban-e-Sehar in the DHA area of Karachi.

In a very short period of time, this expensive new eatery has become a fairly popular hangout among the young crowd of DHA and Clifton.

Café DownTown is another addition to the eating-out map of Karachi. Talking to the five young entrepreneurs of this restaurant, I learnt that an ardent passion for food led them to open the place. Their goal in setting up Café DownTown was to respond to the need of many offices and businesses as well as young adults.

The restaurant has a very modern feel to it. It is very big, complete with two floors, done up with contemporary décor that is very loud, bold and metallic. Hard metal-rock is usually playing in background.

However, I have my reservations towards the fact that Café DownTown serves Shisha. 

The café aims to attract mainly students and young professionals who meet socially. However, what I fail to understand is that this restaurant is not cheap and is priced at the high-end. How can they aim to attract students and young professionals with the sort of pricing strategy they are using?

Coming to the good part, let’s talk about the menu!

Café DownTown offers a vast variety of food,  ranging from dishes cooked in Italian, Mediterranean, Mexican and continental style. There is a fabulous selection of appetisers, sandwiches and wraps.

I tasted a selection of appetisers from their Mega Mix Plate that turned out to be a huge tray full of crumb fried chicken wings, finger fish, chicken strips, cheese sticks, fried prawns and chicken cheese balls, served with three different kinds of dips (tarter sauce, honey-mustard and marinara).

I particularly enjoyed the Chicken Avocado Salad here; it was a fresh, zestful spread of avocado, cheddar cheese, tomato, boiled eggs, spring onions, cubes of grilled chicken and crispy beef  bits served on a bed of crunchy lettuce, drizzled with orange balsamic dressing. Full marks on this delicious salad!

Having said so, I noticed that the café had only four varieties of salads and soups on their menu. Since soups and salads are a very popular choice for weight watchers, the owner should think about adding more selections of these to the menu.

Coming to main courses, I found almost everything on the menu including burgers, steaks and seafood served with great sides.

I decided to go with the Tuscan Chicken. This turned out to be grilled chicken topped with mushroom sauce and cheese. I could not taste any Tuscan herbs in it, or even olive oil – a key ingredient for any Tuscan-style cooking. This was disappointing, but having said so, the dish was perfectly pleasing; the chicken was tender and succulent and the sauce was prepared well.

The DownTown steak, on the other hand, was something to remember for sure. A fine double cut Fillet Mignon is offered on the menu and is prepared as per the customer’s taste and preference of flavours. This is then topped with a creamy mushroom sauce.

Keeping in mind Café DownTown’s target clientèle – the hungry youngster with a huge appetite – the portion size offered here is hearty. In addition to this, the executive chef has  many years of experience working in restaurants in the Middle East, and one can taste his experience in the food served.

Café DownTown is definitely a place that will not disappoint, if you have the money to spend!

To view the original version of this post, click here.           

Read more by Farah here

Farah S Kamal

Farah S Kamal

An education and development consultant, who is currently leading the iEARN programs in Pakistan. Photography is her hobby and passion and she tweets @FSKamal (twitter.com/FSKamal)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Maham Kamal

    Good read!!! The layout and presentation of their menu is also very interesting, haven’t found such creatively done menus so far! Recommend

  • Dante

    No thanks Downtown Cafe. I’d rather eat home made meals which are tastier and healthier than what’s served at any of the restaurants/cafes etc. Recommend

  • khan

    So you went there to inform every one that what a sumptuous place you experienced.Recommend

  • Parvez

    If the prices are steep and the food anything like the pictures, then I’m out.
    Compliment’s on the review because it gives a good sense of what the place is all about.Recommend

  • someone

    @khan: No she must have been invited by the restaurant to review them because there’s a thing called food blogging and more elaboratively food journalism, if you’ve been living on some other planet all this time :)Recommend

  • http://donthaveany.wordpress.com anon

    weight watchers*
    ET needs some new editors. Recommend

  • Big Rizvi

    Give my wallet a workout, seriously? How about we all work hard and make it obese instead? Just saying.Recommend

  • Scott

    The pictures are great but I am afraid the ‘reviews’ are not so much objective and critical reviews as fawning advertisements. Does the ‘reviewer’ get paid for these advertisements? If so, wouldn’t it be more ethical to have a small disclaimer to the effect that the meal was sponsored by the restaurant? At least the reviews that appear on ET should have that disclaimer. Recommend

  • Tahira Balouch

    MS Farah Kamal, It is very helpful when you quote the prices of the delicious food you ate!Recommend

  • Tubi

    Dear Farah,
    No doubt ,as title says so,these kinds of restaurants do add glamour in life and obviously choices as well. but for me one of the biggest drawbacks are they develop is the inferiority complexes among the young ones for whom it completely sounds unaffordable.I think all have the right to enjoy all available in the country so why such discrimination.The offer would have been more appealing when it would have been affordable for all.
    Though your presentation through photography is as usual mouth watering:)
    Hugs,
    TubiRecommend

  • Tubi

    dear Farah,
    No doubt ,as title says so,these kinds of restaurants do add glamour in life and obviously choices as well. but for me one of the biggest drawbacks are they develop is the inferiority complexes among the young ones for whom it completely sounds unaffordable.I think all have the right to enjoy all available in the country so why such discrimination.The offer would have been more appealing when it would have been affordable for all.
    Though your presentation through photography is as usual mouth watering:)
    Hugs,
    TubiRecommend

  • Rational

    Thanks alot for keeping us updated about the places to go when we visit karachi.
    I wish some one would write about Lahore alsoRecommend

  • Parvez

    Nice review. You have given me a ‘feel’ of the place. When one goes to an expensive joint one goes for quality not quantity and honestly the food in the pictures looks like stuff served in a ‘fast food’. Recommend

  • Parvez

    I give up, I have posted my comment twice with no luck.Recommend

  • Sarah B. Haider

    I think most cafe’s have the same kind of ambiance, the same kind of menu, the same crowd, and the same prices. Talk about menu, Purple haze, zero degree, latte lounge, ole, grilled chillez, and now this down town, i seriously don’t find any difference. The only different ones that I liked the most was Studio Cafe (but again, in terms of the menu and taste, same!!)

    P.S. @Khan, I guess you don’t read many magazines. Never read a food outlet review before? Recommend

  • Komal Ali

    I really liked the review. I shall visit soon. :-)Recommend

  • http://Karachi. Farah Kamal

    @Parvez: Thankyou, you always read and comment on my blogs, i take your feedback seriously and appreciate your interest. These responses are held for sometime for moderation, so they often don’t appear as soon as we post. Recommend

  • ROSE

    nothing new, one is getting this food in every cafe in khi these daysRecommend

  • Omer

    Wrote a comment which was never posted. eeerrrrrrrrRecommend

  • Muhammad Salik

    why dont they simply squeeze the size of that “HEARTY PORTION”,this way they can save cost,ultimately decrease in price..however the point is that they have the target market of young professionals and students with big money :PRecommend

  • https://twitter.com/#!/nadia_zaki nadia

    You didn’t put up a picture of the steak :(Recommend

  • Farah Kamal

    @nadia: Check out the original version of this blog at gourmalicious.blogspot.comRecommend