The Riding Hood Bakery: Not just a chocolate affair

Published: August 12, 2012

From cakes to poutine, the bakery café provides everything with a touch of Rome. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

From cakes to poutine, the bakery café provides everything with a touch of Rome. PHOTO: PUBLICITY
From cakes to poutine, the bakery café provides everything with a touch of Rome. PHOTO: PUBLICITY
From cakes to poutine, the bakery café provides everything with a touch of Rome. PHOTO: PUBLICITY
From cakes to poutine, the bakery café provides everything with a touch of Rome. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

KARACHI: It’s the love of chocolate that made former squash champion Bushra Ali  and Base Rock café musician Ali Rush open up a quaint little eatery in Khadda Market. The Riding Hood Bakery may be a few weeks old, but its cakes and savouries are already gaining popularity on social media networks.

The couple met in a karaoke bar in 2009, and were married and off for their honeymoon in Rome in less than three months. At Fontana Di Trevi, they realised that their solid appreciation for coffee and chocolate is the same. All of a sudden, while sipping coffee, Bushra asked Rush, “Why doesn’t the same stuff smell and taste exactly like this in Pakistan?” Her mate forlornly answers, “Something of a combination is always missing; sometimes it is the ambience at the coffee shop that is amiss; at times it’s the bakery items or products.”

Their next stop was Paris, where the couple was taken in by the creations and taste of the popular French patisserie Paul. To bring these flavours to Pakistan, they chalked out a plan which culminated in the The Riding Hood Bakery, two-and-a-half years later. While the name doesn’t have the word ‘red’ from the famed children’s story, the café itself is adorned in that particular colour. “Opening up a bakery is certainly not a piece of cake. The story behind the name is that in the fairy tale, Red Riding Hood fails to deliver the goodies to her grandmother, here we make sure we deliver them,” says Bushra.

By ordering authentic coffee beans from Italy; crèmes, frostings and cake mixes from the United States, and baking them here in Pakistan, the pair has introduced their Poutine, Hot Pockets and Ferrero Rocher Cake to Karachi.

Despite the quality and experience being offered, one can’t help but feel that the prices are higher than what other bakeries charge for their treats. Bushra, however, believes that the product is worth the price. “Our prices are worth the quality we are offering. Unlike other bakeries — that mix food colours, which are harmful for the health — we are a very health-conscious brand,” he says. “We offer vanilla and chocolate crème which has zero per cent trans-fat.”

Cheers to the future

Although the couple is being offered partnerships, Bushra stays adamant on keeping the project on a smaller scale. “My past experiences have taught me not to opt for joint ventures.”

When asked about their future plans, Rush shares, “We have something special planned for August 14.” He further adds that, “Besides the independence treats, the whole lot of Sesame Street characters, from Big Bird to Elmo, is going to be here soon. I even want to do Angry Birds.” The couple also chirpily adds that if the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) wins the elections, they will come up with an exclusive batch of goodies dedicated to the political party.

While talking about their motto, Bushra says, “Our goal is to be the Starbucks of Pakistan.”

Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th, 2012.

Reader Comments (16)

  • Abdul Wahab
    Aug 12, 2012 - 10:26PM

    Good place for Choco product lovers and coffee enthusiasts & their cakes are no ordinary cakes. Everyone must try it just once and you’ll fell in love with the taste.

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  • Parvez
    Aug 13, 2012 - 12:08AM

    Four days ago I went in to try their stuff. Picked up 2 chicken patties + 2 mince puffs paid Rs.210/- my wife and I thought they tasted so bad that we did not eat them. The price of a slice of cake ( yes with a fancy name) was Rs.430/- I was asked to put on my glasses to make sure I was reading correctly, no we did not try the cake. Possibly we just have not developed a taste for high end stuff but I hope they do well.

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  • Khan
    Aug 13, 2012 - 12:31AM

    Let see whther this brand will offer any taste or just decorative products

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  • Zohaib
    Aug 13, 2012 - 1:22AM

    Just tried their “Ferrero” cake today. It was really nice. Ordered on for Eid aswell.

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  • SitaW
    Aug 13, 2012 - 2:15AM

    @Abdul Wahab:
    It’s spelt cocoa …

    And to me the red riding good theme sounds weird

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  • Saad S
    Aug 13, 2012 - 2:22AM

    Come on guys you should also open one here in Islamabad it will be a great success :)

    wish you two all the best with your cafe !!

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  • M Usama Kabbir
    Aug 13, 2012 - 10:56AM

    WOW I will start saving money so taht i can afford it in a few months !! YAYYYY

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  • Shaffs
    Aug 13, 2012 - 11:09AM

    Please open a branch in Lahore ! the picture is too tempting !

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  • not impressed
    Aug 13, 2012 - 2:36PM

    cake mixes from the United States
    enough said.

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  • blah
    Aug 13, 2012 - 4:22PM

    Its refreshing to see new ventures like these coming up even in such insecure conditions. Long live the entrepreneurs of Karachi. We salute your courage and creativity. May you grow and prosper :)

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  • Chochoeolic
    Aug 13, 2012 - 10:52PM

    Uh Espresso is the “Starbucks” of Pakistan =)

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  • IMRAN ZAHEER
    Aug 15, 2012 - 9:55AM

    RIDING HOOD BAKERY
    Please confirm your address & contact numbers, if u hav a webpage confirm web address as well.
    Thank you.
    Imran Zaheer.

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  • Abdul Wahab
    Aug 16, 2012 - 12:39PM

    Just because its expensive doesn’t mean its not good. If you can’t afford it then don’t go there. Its that simple.

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  • Aug 16, 2012 - 6:48PM

    wow dud awesom i realy loved it

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  • Sonya Raz
    Aug 22, 2012 - 3:34PM

    Congregations on opening the bakery and hope it will do well in the years.
    I am not a bakery owner or a professional baker or a home-based baker. I am only a food lover and eater!!

    No offence but I would like to ask why comment on other bakeries and home-based business on this?? –>> (Bushra, however, believes that the product is worth the price. “Our prices are worth the quality we are offering. Unlike other bakeries — that mix food colours, which are harmful for the health — we are a very health-conscious brand,” he says). <<– strong textWhen you are using (crèmes, frostings and cake mixes from the United States)!!?

    emphasized textAny baker who has done at least a bit of baking knows that no mixes, frostings, crèmes are stabilizer, preserve free, chemical or dye free so how does that make yours such a health conscious product?

    strong textWhereas you plan to do (He further adds that, “Besides the independence treats, the whole lot of Sesame Street characters, from Big Bird to Elmo, is going to be here soon. I even want to do Angry Birds.”)
    emphasized textso all these characters have very strong colors, which cannot be done without using food colors and that even in large quantity so what makes you different then the other bakeries?

    However I know a lot of bakers and home-based ladies who do backing from scratch, using only organic produce. Please when promoting your business don’t put down others, do your best and let them do there’s, I don’t see any harm in doing your own work without criticizing othere!!..

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  • salma
    Sep 22, 2012 - 9:38AM

    cake mixes??? are you sure???

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