LAHORE: Remeber when Monica, Rachel, Chandler, Joey, Ross and Pheobe all laughed and cried about life sitting on that familiar orange couch sipping coffee?
Now you can too! If you’re in Lahore that is.
Based on the theme of the famous Central Perk coffee shop in sitcom Friends, Friends Café and Fine Dining restaurant recently opened its doors to the flourishing food scene of Lahore. Located opposite Shaukat Khanum in Johar Town, the themed café borrows heavily from the TV show to attract youngsters looking for a hangout with friends.
“I was a fan of Friends and thought this location would be perfect for such a restaurant since there are so many universities here. It’s to attract the young generation to come hangout and have a good time,” said Mohammad Faisal, owner of Friends cafe.
The café is fittingly filled with big orange couches, with cast photos hung up on red brick walls. Memorable quotes from the show have been framed and hang on the walls, including Joey’s famous line “How you doin.”
A guitar and foosball table have been set up for visitors to enjoy themselves and a gig every fourth night is under works. Red and black light fixtures spruce up the already colorful space and a bar with its very own Gunther is in the pipeline.
Although the ambiance almost boasts of a real-life Central Perk experience, many things remain amiss. The iconic Central Perk sign that was featured in almost every episode is nowhere to be seen. Cold coffee is not on the menu nor are small round tables with high chairs as seen in the TV show. The furniture has been replaced with grey and brown sofas along with zebra print wooden chairs. A lit up coffee and service sign is missing and the place requires ventilation.
However, the restaurant owner stated that a lot of development is still underway and Central Perk monograms will be put up soon. “Slowly I’ll be including a lot of other things. The Central Perk monograms are coming from the US,” said Faisal.
More than just a hangout place to have coffee and dessert, the café is banking on its food. Friends Café offers a myriad of items ranging from Continental, Thai and Chinese cuisine.
Their basket of Masala French fries and Nacho Machos have a spicy tangy taste. Whipped up in special spices and herbs with a hint of lemon, both dishes had us licking our fingers.
For the main meal, their Jalapeno beef burger with cheddar and cream cheese is worth ordering. The beef was well-done and juicy topped with jalapenos, lettuce and tomatoes; the meal was wholesome and scrumptious.
From the continental palate, their menu also offers a wide selection of chicken and beef steaks. Other items from the Thai and Chinese cuisine include prawns, Thai Chicken cashew nuts and green curry among others.
According to Faisal, none of the restaurants in the neighborhood offer such a multi-cuisine menu. The vast number of eateries around the area either offer desi Pakistani cuisine or just continental.
Also, easy on the pocket, food prices are very reasonable ranging from Rs300 per burger meal to Rs650 for steaks. An individual can easily eat under Rs1000 including drinks and dessert.
Friends Café and Fine Dining restaurant opened on 1st December and so far the response has been fairly good. According to the owner, daily footfall has been roughly 200 plus.
While the café is new and an exciting venture, we hope it continues to take more inspiration from the sitcom and lives up to fans’ expectations.