Pane and Amore: Sweet, savoury treats

Inspired by European-style cafés, Sohaila's cafe serves light meals and provides a great environment.

Farah S Kamal December 29, 2011
Named after an Italian term that means 'bread with love', Pane and Amore is a fairly new café located in Shahbaz Commercial, DHA Karachi.

When I visited this Italian cum Turkish styled cafe, I could smell the aroma of freshly baked products as soon as I stepped inside. The café is small, the ambiance artistic, and the food includes many snacks from sweet to savoury; cupcakes that make your mouth water, brownies, Italian sandwiches, and gourmet burgers along with a wide range of Arabic starters are some items on the menu.

The menu is updated regularly. The sandwiches are made with fresh, crunchy bread, with chicken, salmon or beef filling and garnished lavishly with home grown lettuce. I especially liked the open faced smoked salmon and cheese sandwich served with chunky fries.

I am not a big fan of cupcakes but a single bite of the chocolate hazelnut cupcake, which I like to define as 'heaven in a chocolatey cup,' made me fall in love with them.This delicious and moist cake, smothered with hazelnut dark chocolate, turned out to be a divine treat indeed.

Having said so, I believe that at this point Pane and Amore is unique in its variety of desserts. The entree menu, however, needs a lot of help, in that it is very limited. I was told that the target customers are people of all ages. Thus, Sohaila and Mohammad need to strengthen and expand their menu to suit the entire family. Full meals, that can qualify as both lunch and dinner items, need to be added to the menu so that this cafe can compete with the existing ones in Karachi.

Pane and Amore is also lagging behind slightly in their selection of cold and hot beverages. Along with the regular cappuccinos and coffees, additions of specialty coffee, lattes and so on will definitely increase the flow of customers. Fresh seasonal juices and variety mocktails, too, would be appreciated.

The place is quite spacious. The walls and furniture are done in shades of white and pastel and the ambianc is soothing. The walls are lined with elegant artwork, photographs and souvenirs presented to the owners by family, friends and customers. The coasters and table mats are the artwork of Farah Mehboob, a family friend of the owners. Relaxing here with a cup of coffee or your favourite sandwich makes you feel like you are sitting in a mini art gallery.

Pane and Amore is a tiny family establishment run by Sohaila Tubeh and her brother Mohammad - two young and enthusiastic people who have proven to be a great example of youth entrepreneurship. Sohaila began catering six years ago from her home kitchen when she was still a teenager. As her venture gained popularity, Mohammad, then a student in London, made a Facebook page for her products and services, and soon after, her desserts and cakes became a true hit with the customers.

Sohaila never felt the need to move to a bigger kitchen and hire support staff to keep up with the unending orders. The same year she went to Italy and Turkey on a holiday, and came back inspired by European-style cafés. She wanted to own a similar place that served light meals and provided a great environment. Her brother, who had just returned too, joined her and together they realised their dream and accomplished Pane and Amore with the support of their friends and family. The newborn eatery is evolving and I am sure it will continue to surprise its customers with a lot more.

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WRITTEN BY:
Farah S Kamal An education and development consultant, who is currently leading the iEARN programs in Pakistan. Photography is her hobby and passion and she tweets @fskamal (https://twitter.com/fskamal)
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

COMMENTS (20)

SYEDA UNIBA NAUSHAD | 9 years ago | Reply Dear Mam, I am Uniba Naushad , right now your iEarn GCE participant. yesterday I met you first time at the very first work shop and your alumni show us your photography art all i wanna that you are just fabulous n i am big fan of you n you photography....................:)
Nargis | 9 years ago | Reply @ahsan: I'm not trying to be rude either but I was giving my honest feed back and its not really a matter of "saying such things". When you open a restaurant or a cafe you try to give some consideration to the customers that you're going to serve. This place is unique among the establishments of dha and clifton in that nowhere else do you have the school cafeteria feel in what appears to be a modern cafe. I would have spoken to the owners last time I was there, but they seemed to be having it out among themselves in front of the customers and my guests and I felt far too uncomfortable to provide any sort of critique to them. I happened to go back a week later with another friend who wanted to try out their cupcakes. My observations again- A crowd of strange men standing outside the entrance smoking Cup cakes were very good, the food was not. The menu was extremely limited and the only dessert that was any good was the cup cake. I'd say this place is more of a cup cake shop than a cafe, particularly in light of the fact that the coffee we ordered wasn't good enough to have more than two sips of. There were a a lot of people in there that were neither customers nor staff, just hanging about, laughing loudly. This wouldn't matter except for the fact that its a small and intimate space where you don't really have enough distance from everyone else around you and everybody can hear everybody elses conversation. Clearly they were friends of the owners and we just kept getting them buzzing around us, and two of the owners regularly attending their friends while stopping to repeatedly ask us how we were doing. We just couldn't hold a conversation and instead just had to rush through our meal so we could grab a coffee at Butlers with some more of our pals we asked to join us there instead. Again, I'm not trying to be rude but I felt that the owners didnt give much consideration to their patrons. It doesnt really seem to be a place for grown ups.
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