Pane and Amore: Sweet, savoury treats
Inspired by European-style cafés, Sohaila's cafe serves light meals and provides a great environment.
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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