Give your wallet a workout at Café DownTown

Published: June 2, 2012
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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!

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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)

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