Last year, a small London café by the name of Molly Bakes revolutionised how we expected milkshakes to be like. They introduced ‘freakshakes’ – possibly the most extravagantly presented shakes ever, topped with doughnuts, brownies, pretzels, ice-cream and whipped cream. Needless to say, the images left one drooling over their Instagram. Luckily for people in Islamabad, a newly opened café in F-10 is now serving these freakshakes as well, along with a variety of appetisers and snacks to ensure we can get a taste of Molly Bakes without having to travel halfway across the world.
But the shakes are not the only thing that sets this café apart. Café M is a unique addition because of its menu, concept, architecture and décor! Haroon Naseer, the brains behind Café M told The Express Tribune that the idea behind Café M is to give people a place to hang out and work. “The space is very creatively designed; ensuring people can let their creative juices flow while they come in to discuss new ideas over cups of coffee. Our menu is limited but unique. We try to offer different things that other cafes in the vicinity don’t and we will continue adding items to our menu with every passing month,” he said.
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We started off with the freakshakes that have become extremely popular and picked the Nutella and M&Ms option, which lived up to the hype. Admittedly a little heavy to consume with a main course, the drink was a perfect blend of the rich, creamy Nutella spread. My friend tried the chocolate brownie freakshake and was all praises too, specifically for the gooey brownie. The shake itself has crushed brownie bits stirred in which made one feel like they are munching on brownies while drinking the shake. According to the café’s management, the brownies are imported, which speaks about their distinct taste. The only downfall we could see is that each shake is priced at around a Rs1000, which is expensive. But once you have it, you’ll realize how they are worth it.
Out of the sandwiches, the BBQ sandwich had a nice smoked BBQ taste with fresh bread making it the perfect grab-and-go meal for those at work. The Jalapeno Panini was also absolutely delicious, with crispy panini bread filled with a thick layer of cheese, jalapeno and chicken, perfectly spiced to add a unique zing to it.
From the desserts list, it was the blue velvet cake that caught our attention. Though it tasted just as good as red velvet does – super moist, soft with two thick layers of cream cheese and three of blue colored cake – it did look remarkably distinctive. Another dessert that needs a special mention is the cheesecake! Though a staple at most cafes, very few bakers can do it really well. A crunchy base with a fluffy cheesecake layer on top, not too sweet but with just the right amount of flavor is what you want and Café M offers exactly that.
Also, the rest of the menu is priced quite reasonably and competitively, with most items falling within the bracket of Rs500 to Rs700 rupees.
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One of the best things about Café M is its presentation. One could argue that maybe they are able to make everything look so picture perfect and magazine-worthy because their menu is limited. But everything on the menu always comes in with a beautiful presentation. The paninis are served with potato wedges on wooden platters that give a very unique and interesting look.
Atmosphere : 4/5
Amongst Café M’s most distinct features is its interior. It is so unique and stylish in its own special way that it leaves you in awe. The angular roof and corners, along with the vintage bulbs, make it stand out from the rest. Its customised origami-inspired ceiling design instantly catches one’s attention. The wooden furniture in warm tones and book shelf give off a cozy vibe, making it the perfect spot to enjoy Islamabad rain in. There are a few tables available for outdoor seating as well.
Verdict: 4/5 stars