In-store cafés are new to us, though these are quite common in the supermarket chains in the UK and USA. Green Valley, at the Mall of Lahore, has come up with its own sweet little version.
An artisan bread and pastry boutique, named La Patisserie, the café recently opened in Y-Block, DHA, to a huge public response. For the owners, it’s a clever marketing ploy as they obviously wanted to cash in on the footfalls in the commercial area. To quote manager Fatima Lodhi, “We are offering our customers a place in one of the city’s prime locations. It’s an expanding market.”
The three-storey café prides itself on being a one-stop dessert shop with a twist. The ground floor attracts customers mainly because of the availability of a large variety of desserts that include your one-bite sweets, pastries, specialised cakes, chocolates mousse, chocolate bomb, brownies, éclairs, cupcakes, tarts, cheese cakes, and tiramisu.
As Lodhi puts it, “Green Valley imports ingredients like chocolates, and our grocery area consists of a mammoth bread section ranging from whole wheat, malt, organic and pita.”
The stairway leads you to an open sitting area along a row of separate sections where you can place the orders. The décor is sparse, with wooden chairs and tables, and easy-to-maintain stone-glazed flooring. This can be your ideal, noise-free, meetup joint.
One of the walls is covered with decorative plates, another is hand painted with food related graffiti. The focal point remains the glass counters that offer a delectable variety of food items.
La Patisserie claims to offer “French breakfast fit for a king.” This includes French toasts, cheesy croissants, bagels, and eggs.
The staff behind the counters is suitably trained to make the perfect cold coffees, juices, or at the vitamin bar, cappuccino, espresso, macchiato, hot chocolate, and tea. There’s also an ice cream section with its irresistible offerings.
But ultimately, Pakistanis are a nation of tea lovers. And, La Patisserie knows this well enough. I for one couldn’t stop myself from ordering a cuppa, along with fajita Sicilian pizza, chicken BBQ wrap, and flame-grilled beef burger.
Oh, the menu list is large enough — the three starters, pastas, rotisserie, chicken broast, paninis, Turkish, Pan Asian cuisine, and a huge variety of desserts can actually confuse a first-timer.
The salad bar is a build-your-own (BYO) section and offers four good-to-go salad options. The subs are available in 6” to 12,” from roasted oven chicken to turkey breast, steak and cheese.
Mercifully, the food was served piping hot, without much delay, in disposable cutlery. The Styrofoam cups and plastic cutlery is a turnoff but the fact that it is a quick takeaway justifies the use of such tableware.
The pizza fillings of chicken breast, green peppers, red onions, and a generous dollop of mozzarella proved to be the star dish for me. Though, a bit too heavy for my liking, it was richly textured.
The beef burger remained true to its name and tasted very well. After this generous helping, I wished for more space in my tummy to try from their desserts section but after promising myself that I’d visit them soon.
The recipes have been developed to suit the taste palettes of a crowd that comes for a quick bite, mostly. I would say it’s a great idea.