A REFINED CLASSIC

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KARACHI-BASED RESTAURANTEER EXTRAORDINAIRE SHAMIRA HAS OPENED A QUAINT NEW EATERY, MARIGOLD & HONEY CAFÉ. ZOHA ISMAIL TUCKS IN:

Last Wednesday, my cousins and I had dinner at the much raved about restaurant Marigold & Honey Cafe. Tucked away in Zamzama, this new eatery recently opened its doors, serving up a brunch menu with a few additional items for lunch. After they launched their dinner menu last week, I knew I had to go try it out.

Marigold & Honey has a vintage and home-y warmth – an aesthetic and environment that has become rare in Karachi’s increasingly corporate and professionalized restaurant scene. The intimate lighting, soft music and charming furniture and ornaments set the tone for the night. The menus are beautifully handwritten in cursive, the place seats about thirty diners in total, and the fine China is very Victorian – all demonstrating the exclusivity of the café. The waiters, clad in bow ties, are helpful and attentive, not to mention the owner, Ms. Shamira, who makes rounds at each table, chatting away and ensuring all are satisfied and content with their dining experience.

After ordering our food, we dove into the warm bread and butter served to our large table. Rushing to serve our loud and obviously famished table, first out were the array of appetizers. Juicy and plump prawns cooked in a lime and lemon grass seasoning were a perfect way to start the meal. There were two salad options on the menu; the rocket leaves salad and the mixed greens salad, and so we ordered both. Drizzled with a light mustard vinaigrette, the smooth and creamy slices of avocado sat playfully on lush rocket leaves. The mixed greens tossed with tender slices of summer peaches and feta cheese went exquisitely well with the balsamic honey reduction. And while I personally think it’s a tad too hot for soup, I know my cousin was very satisfied with the clear chicken soup with kaffir lime leaves and fresh vegetables, which he said was a feel-good comfort dish that was made just right.


The main courses quickly followed. There were two options each under fish, chicken, beef and pasta, so we were not too shy in ordering up a storm to get a feel for all the different choices. I had the Asian Marinated Beef, made up of delicate and succulent cuts of beef, and spectacularly seasoned with Asian herbs. Along with that I tasted a variety of dishes from around my table, including a juicy Red Snapper steak coated in warm teriyaki sauce, the impeccably prepared beef filet with creamy Dijon peppercorn sauce, and the perfectly cooked pan-seared chicken breast with roasted tomato basil salsa. For next time, I already have my eyes set on the pasta menu, torn between the Cappellini with roasted garlic caper sauce or the penne pasta with vegetable bolognese and ricotta (something a gentlemen on the next table had ordered and which smelled amazing).


Picking from the dessert menu was an extremely difficult task because everything looked delicious! While some from the table were full to the brim and went with a cappuccino as the closer to their meal, the rest of us ordered three out of the five options available, and each one was well worth the calories. The cheesecake – a recipeShamira learned from a lady in Africa while she lived there, and is famous for, especially at the previous restaurant she ran: Karachi’s much-loved Café Flo – was soft, fresh and delicious, with the right amount of sweetness to balance out the heavy main course we had just devoured. The tiramisu had a subtle taste of coffee and the 70% dark chocolate cake was sinfully rich! All in all, it was the perfect end to a delicious dinner.

I was sipping on my green tea when I got a chance to speak with the owner, Ms. Shamira.She has traveled all around the world learning about different cuisines and brings her vast experience and expertise to the business. Joining Café Flo in 2005 she talks of her joyful experience of working for Florence Villiers, the owner of Cafe Flo, telling me how Florence gave her the autonomy to further develop her passion for cooking. “Florence is my mentor and a wonderful friend,” she smiles. “The pleasure of creating this restaurant was to introduce perfection within imperfection. It’s a place where I experience culinary joy, creativity, and peace. It’s a place for breakfast, brunch, and dinner with a limited menu and great people coming together,” she tells me about Marigold & Honey.

Marigold & Honey Café is original, extravagant, and versatile. A spot for brunch with family, lunch with friends, or an intimate dinner with your significant other, this new eatery has definitely made its mark and will go from strength to strength. So call and make a reservation today – or I might beat you to it!ADDRESS: Shop #2&3, 8-C,10th Zamzama Comm. Lane, Phase 5, DHA, Karachi
CONTACT: (021) 35293455 (reservations recommended)
DRESS CODE: Casual

Zoha is currently studying Psychology at Mount Holyoke College

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