Grilled, baked and served

July 27, 2014

The Kitchen Cuisine chain expands its way in Lahore

Grilled, baked and served

The light side of life seems to be a trend that is slowly gaining footing in Lahore. Cosa Nostra Deli, I’d say, can be blamed for this. Certainly, Lahore’s much-loved food scene is synonymous not with all things healthy and wholesome (and crunchy and green). Bring on the Punjabi karahis, paye, channay, takkatuk and maghaz it is more like.

There isn’t any big-time paradigm shift taking place in food culture, but variety is the spice of life, and we in Lahore are glad to see more and more of this in the last year or two.

Enter the KC Bakery Cafe. Located in the chic new Gulberg Galleria mall, the bakery cafe is all that and more, too. Spread over three levels, there is the cafe area (small and intimate with half a dozen tables), the bakery floor, and then you sink to decadence - the gelato and chocolate counter lower level.

On a couple of visits there, I found the cafe to be quite the popular spot, notwithstanding the small seating area. Footfall is surely greater since it is in a prime location, and mall customers seem to keep drifting in.

The KC Bakery Cafe calls itself that, but is surely inspired by the deli culture - since sandwiches are the stronghold of the menu. There are 11 kinds on offer. Besides two crepes, two wraps, three soups, and a few salads and the rotisserie chicken. So the proof of this one would lie in the sandwich, not the pudding, I guess.

I went for the Tuscan Chicken Sandwich, which was light and fresh, though the olives promised in the description were missing. This is a sandwich I’d be happy to repeat. A choice of bread is offered by the server, and what I do really like about this cafe is that there are little touches to make your meal a happier one, such as that you can order a full or half sandwich, ditto salads. So one can have two different sandwiches on a platter, too.

What I do really like about this cafe is that there are little touches to make your meal a happier one, such as that you can order a full or half sandwich, ditto salads. So one can have two different sandwiches on a platter, too.

Having had two of the salads - the Thai Beef Salad and the Mediterranean Salad, I’d say, I like my Med Salad regular -- without the cranberry dressing drizzled atop, which gives it an unwarranted sweet touch. The Thai Beef I would say disappointed, claiming ‘whole wheat noodles, beef, tomatoes and mushrooms’, the noodles did not seem whole wheat, the beef needs to be beefed up (there could be more of it amidst the noodles), and mine sadly lacked tomatoes and mushrooms. We had the Hot & Sour soup, the soup of the day, and found it to be flavourful, unlike the corn flour-infused variety served in many places.

If you’re not the sandwich type, you’d be having the crepe, wrap or chicken. I’m one of those who is on the rotisserie chicken bandwagon these days, popularised as it is in Lahore by Cafe Upstairs and Cosa Nostra Deli. The one at KC needs to be given a bit of attention - mine turned out to be too pink (read ‘streaked with fine red’) on the innermost side. Not an appealing sight. The sides were very good, though - the grilled vegetables and potato wedges, as was the choice of brown gravy opted for. You can choose between Texan, lemon and garlic, and brown.

No qualms with the crepe and the wrap either. The Chicken Tikka Wrap is a welcome addition for someone who wants a desi bite, though the chicken was a tad dry. The Chicken Fajita Crepe was rolled out thin, the way it should be, the sour cream on the side thick, the way it should be.

Our drinks were just about perfect - the fresh juice fresh, unsweetened and not diluted; the Mint Margarita the right balance of minty, tangy and slushy.

Not being a big ice-cream fan, I have this much to say: do try the ice-cream here; you can actually taste the fresh fruit and dairy ingredients that went into it. The additional feature of a table or two at the gelato floor is nice for just walk-in ice-cream types. As is the wide range of Wilton’s baking products on sale (from pans to sprinkles) for baking types.

I would say, though, that the ‘Cafe’ in KC Bakery Cafe ought to be looking into expanding the menu, lest it ends up being primarily the go-to place for weight-conscious ladies-who-lunch. Unless that is the intent.

Endnote: The chocolate cake I picked up from the bakery section the other day was the best I’ve had in a long, long time. Though the variety of bakery products here too is the same as the other outlets, this one tasted far fresher and richer than their chocolate cake I at times get from other outlets.

Grilled, baked and served