Time to get high – on sugar!

By Iqra Sarfaraz
Tue, 06, 20

This week You! talks to Omer Atif, the Co-founder and interior designer of the much-anticipated Burning Brownie, a go-to cafe for almost every Islooiite…


There's always room for dessert – especially when they're equal parts melt-in-your-mouth and ridiculously good-looking. And, if the space has exuberant energy and chic interior then what else would you opt for, while looking for a hangout on a chilly night in Islamabad…When you enter the funky interiors of Burning Brownie present at the upmarket Beverly Centre Islamabad, you are immediately convinced that the place is not just about lip-smacking desserts and snacks, but it also promises for a fun experience with a quirky feel to it.

In one of his interviews, the cafe’s owner Ammar Mumtaz states, “I am someone who prefers the creative process over business.” The cafe’s interior gives you a fresh vibe with rustic yet modern touch. The environment complements its chocolate brownies and rich blend of coffee aroma floats from afar, even when you are not inside the cafe.

Officially launched in 2013, this dessert cafe is a collaboration between two families and has three branches in F-6, F-11 Markaz and DHA 2.

This week You! talks to Omer Atif, the Co-founder and interior designer of the much-anticipated Burning Brownie, a go-to cafe for almost every Islooiite…

With time, the cafe has evolved in terms of its design and interior. “It started off as a joint venture between my family and another family. At its inception, my father and I jointly designed the original outlet.

However, all of the current design language was developed later when we expanded the brand,” shares Omer. With a subsidiary called Purdue Designs, Omer Atif owns Goodwill Construction & Design Company which specialises in both commercial and residential construction and design.

While talking about the design philosophy of the cafe, Omer reveals, “It is not a theme-based cafe.

The design direction was simple, my partners tasked me with designing something that was fresh and would attract young people.

The goal was not only be eye-catching at first glance but also have customers want to spend more time in it. If you study the design carefully, you will find that I have tried using ‘earthy’ and ‘organic’ tones.”

Any kind of interior is accentuated by its furnishings. And when it comes to a cafe or coffee shop, it is necessary that the furnishings are not just creative, but they should also reflect its customers and target market. Since Burning Brownie is solely made for young cafe goers and dessert lovers, it doubles the pressure on the creators for churning out ideas of a lively and cool space. The cafe has a surreal upside-down Vespa hanging on the wall with a number of hip frames translating a vintage sense. “We imported most of the furniture from the Middle East and Europe. It is mostly wood-based while most of the outer furniture is stainless steel and the reason behind this choice of material is practicality and ease of maintenance. The signature wall is a collection of quirky plates from all over the world and it was designed to engage the customers and give them a good laugh,” tells Omer. While talking about the colour palette used in the interior, he adds, “The main constraint was to make it as organic and earthy as possible and hence the use of wood, black and charcoal. All the colours you see inside any outlet are soft and close to nature as opposed to bright and high contrasting colours (but not boring) used by some brands. The reason behind using such a colour palette and furnishings was to create an atmosphere that is timeless and inviting for the youngsters from all walks of life.”

When asked how they maintain the very young and quirky vibe of this dessert and coffee space and if they have followed any latest trends, Omer replies, “About following trends, I would say yes and no. This is because if you look closely, you will find that the atmosphere is a blend of past and current trends with a hint of nostalgia in it.”

Omer Atif believes that in order to create a pleasant atmosphere, a cafe needs to be airy and well-lit with elements of nature such as some subtle plantations and neutral colours. In that regard, Burning Brownie has all these elements for its customers who can come and relax with high quality desserts and a unique twist to them.

Last but not least, a cafe or restaurant’s menu and pricing is something which we can’t go without. On asking about its special menu, Omer concludes by saying, “Burning Brownie is very much a one-stop wholesome dining experience. From the crunchy Green & Healthy Salad and freshly baked Grilled Chicken Panini, it’s fairly priced. The Costa Rican single blend Cortado- without milk is something to die for! Opting for it over the Flat White would be preferred as it’s actually tastier and more satisfying. Also, you can’t have a Burning Brownie experience without trying the super sumptuous slice of cheesecake. And if you want to be experimental, you can also try the Rasmalai variety.”

These days due to the lockdown, one cannot enjoy the cool ambiance of a cafe, but can always relish their goodies via ordering online or take away...