After initially being established as an upscale sandwich joint, Café Aylanto later morphed into a fine dining restaurant specialising in Mediterranean cuisine. Offering a posh and sumptuous ambience, the restaurant is a delight for the senses. Recently having established a branch in DHA, Lahore; Aylanto has brought forward a whole new experience of refined sophistication and quality food. Yaseen Chaudhry the man behind the exquisite eatery tells us his struggles and secrets to sustaining a restaurant
How is Aylanto’s new branch different from the older one?
Cafe Aylanto DHA has a very modern and unique decor. Having opened a branch in DHA we have kept the aesthetics in mind that will appeal to the clientele here. Although the menu is the same in both branches, we aim to offer a more soulful experience while dining at Café Aylanto, DHA.
What inspired you to establish Café Aylanto DHA?
We felt like there was a need for fine dining restaurants
in DHA and that is why we decided to open Aylanto in
What is the process of developing a new menu or new dishes at Aylanto?
The head chef in Karachi keeps on experimenting with new dishes quite frequently and whatever gets approved by the management and appeals to the clients gets released under the ‘New Menu’ category on a regular basis.
How is Aylanto’s menu different from what other restaurants are offering?
Cafe Aylanto offers fine dining with a diverse menu for our patrons to enjoy, whereas other restaurants are either offering Chinese, Italian, Japanese or Pakistani cuisine. At Aylanto you can get anything from a simple burger and pizza to barbeque and wagyu beef steaks.
How has Pakistan changed in terms of spending and eating out?
There has been a lot of awareness because of social media. People here are now willing to try different dishes rather than simply sticking to their regular choices. People have started spending on food more than they did before as they tend to eat out more frequently now than before.
In your opinion what differentiates Lahore and Karachi in terms of taste and food choice?
In my opinion, Karachi is way ahead. People of Karachi have exposure to a much more diverse food palette. A lot of new eateries have opened up in Karachi which are doing extremely well. I believe Lahore simply follows suit.
What trends do you see shaping the food and beverage market in 2019?
A lot of new organic cafes should open up, patisseries and small cafes specialising in a specific cuisine should open up in 2019 as people nowadays want to try out new flavours and textures.
What is the secret behind sustaining a restaurant?
Persistence and a lot of hard work; it is a 24/7 job where one has to oversee everything from purchase and operations down to customer service.
What are some of the challenges of being a restaurateur?
It gets really difficult when vegetables or certain seafood items are not available or when a staff member takes a leave without notice. You also have to keep a straight face dealing with a difficult customer. Sometimes customers show up on a weekend without a reservation and simply will not wait.
What’s in store for Café Aylanto DHA in the near future?
We have recently increased our operating hours and are soon going to introduce a breakfast menu. We want our patrons to experience the best experience that we have to offer.