Determined to bring the taste of a European style boulangerie/patisserie to Pakistan, Ali and Umair Khalili have made their dream come true by bringing Marcel’s to Karachi! The bistro is a delight for the senses, with its snazzy décor by Naheed Mashooqullah; it makes for a great place to come unwind at and to indulge in delectable goodies! Pastry chef, Niha Akbar whips up unique delicious desserts and pastry’s which will leave you spoilt for choice. Marcel’s is definitely a one of its kind restaurant in Karachi and we talk to the owners to find out more!
What was your vision behind opening Marcel’s?
My brother, Ali and I wanted to open up a chain of bakeries and patisseries in Karachi, specialising in artisan baking and delightful desserts; because we thought there was a huge gap in the market, which seriously needed to be filled.
What motivates or inspires you in coming up with a new idea for your restaurant?
I was studying in the UK for four years and I got hooked onto croissants and coffee. It became my go-to breakfast before running late for class every day. So when I came back to Karachi, I started looking for the perfect croissant and I couldn’t find it and that’s when I decided with my brother – that we had to bring European style baking to Karachi. But generally speaking, I think before opening up a restaurant, one needs to study the market vigorously, understand what is missing and what people could be willing to accept as a new addition to their city.
How is Marcel’s menu different from what other restaurants are offering?
I think standing out and being different is imperative. There are so many good restaurants in Karachi serving really good food but if I try to replicate them, then what’s the fun in that? Monotony is boring! In our case, our breads and our desserts are very unique. We currently offer 22 types of breads, all home made fresh, everyday from the finest raw material that we have imported from different parts of Europe. Same goes for our desserts, they are a cut above the rest in the market, the flavours and the product profile that we offer are not available commercially anywhere else.
What are some of the specialties at Marcel’s?
Like I mentioned earlier, croissant and coffee is where it all started, so we wanted our croissant to be our hero. We have spent over a year in R&D, imported the best flour and butter from France and finally have achieved it. Our croissant takes three days to make, but it’s totally worth it, the flavour, the texture; the best in the city. We also roast our own coffee, have three blends especially made for us; people have liked our coffee so far.
A sentence to describe Marcel’s and its meals?
Authentic baking, lovely desserts and flavours from all over Europe.
What’s in store for Marcel’s in the future?
Very soon InshAllah we will be seeing many small stand alone stores of Marcel’s where customers can walk in and choose breads, desserts or just take away coffee similar to any bakery in Europe or North America. This is not a one-off, we want Marcel’s to become a national brand in every major city, we want to change bread and dessert buying experience in the country.