Anusha Bawany chats with Zainab Parekh and Anam Jangda, the talents behind Karachi’s hot new eatery
When did the two of you decide to start up your own business?
ANAM: Whether it’s checking out a new restaurant in town, salivating over the delicious foods that our mother’s make, or secretly judging people who don’t eat haha, food has always been a big part of our life! We always knew we wanted to open a cute little café together someday, but it all started coming together when I made the move to finally quit my job and start baking from home.
Where did the name come from?
ZAINAB: We knew we wanted our theme to be minimalistic and modern – a concept you can see reflected in our logo, branding and even the look and feel of the store. The name is one that we thought would be classic, easy to remember, and more importantly, pronounced correctly by everyone.
How do you divide and conquer responsibilities?
ANAM: We know where our individual strengths lie, so we divide our tasks quite easily. Zainab focuses on strategy, marketing, design and the business side of things, while I focus on the baking part. However, we realized it was difficult to clearly demarcate our roles as there is always a lot of overlap, and so all decisions regarding the development of recipes are done by us both.
What are the pros and cons of working with your close friend?
ZAINAB: We are childhood besties, so yes, everyone warned us about going into business together, but it works quite well for us. We have always had a very honest relationship, so all disagreements are tackled by having open conversations and discussing the pros and cons of every issue. At the end of the day, it’s all about balance and compromise.
What’s your go-to place for inspiration?
ANAM: The sitting area in The Bakery has become our little “think-tank”.
ZAINAB: Yes! I totally agree with AJ on that one. You will often find us staring out of the window, thinking of new and innovative ways to evolve our brand.
What’s Your favourite item to WHIP UP?
ANAM: I took several baking courses in London, and the breads were my favourite to work with for sure!
ZAINAB: Items from our health menu. It’s interesting to see how you can take a recipe, find healthy substitutes and make sure it still tastes good. Who knew you could substitute almond flour for parmesan or zucchini sheets for pasta sheets?
What’s your go-to comfort food?
ANAM: Something sweet. We always tell ourselves we need to sample everything to ensure quality, but in actuality, I think we just want to be piggies!
What’s your most memorable experience while setting up shop?
ZAINAB: The neon sign being installed. I think that is what we both looked forward to the most, and at the same time were the most nervous about executing! We weren’t sure if it would look quite as we wanted it to, but when we switched it on for the first time, everything felt so much more real.
Any horror stories so far?
ANAM: The oven temperature being changed by the staff while attempting to turn on the new heavy duty stove! We had several baking disasters due to that.
ZAINAB: Because of the traffic in the city, the first week that we launched our delivery service was a total nightmare! Luckily, now we’ve gotten the hang of things.
One baking/cooking rule to live by:
ANAM: Measure, measure, measure! Baking is a science, so everything has to be done the exact same way every single time to ensure consistency.
What are some of your signature dishes?
ANAM: Our signature Honey Bundt cake would be our most popular item from the dessert menu, and the Pumpkin Tortellini (a special) from the savories. We are always experimenting with new and interesting flavor profiles, which is what gives us an edge! Come and try our Siriacha and Caramel popcorn and you will know what I mean!
Tell us a little about your upcoming healthy menu:
ZAINAB: We knew we only wanted to work with the best, and so, we have partnered with The 42 Day Challenge to develop a menu based on their meal requirements.
How does it feel to be young female entrepreneurs?
ZAINAB: It feels quite empowering! Being a woman in Pakistan has its own set of challenges, but that hasn’t gotten in the way. We hope that we can show the young women in Pakistan that you can do anything you put your mind to.
Up next for you two:
ANAM: We are almost ready to open doors at our Zamzama shop! I’m excited to take on the madness that comes with having on the spot orders.
ZAINAB: Once the Karachi shop is up and running, we hope to take our concept to another city and branch out into retail.
Photography By 2AM Design