“Once Upon A Time”-Themed Cafe Review

It’s an interesting year for the foodies in the K-town as we are witnessing a surge of interesting new cafes. Some of them are apparently aiming to focus more on ambience and customer experience besides food.

I had been planning to visit and review Musicafe and Once Upon A Time specially because both have an out of the box setup-the former is based on live music theme and the latter is designed around classic storybook characters. I shared my plan of visiting Musicafe on instagram but for some reason I ended up at OUAT! So I am sharing my review here.

I visited the cafe with my friend Anika. We reached there around 5 p.m and we were glad to see no other customers around during that hour. Yes we hate crowds *in our heads*, and love food, so its always a catch finding a cafe deserted *not that it happens every day right?*! But that’s just us!

Location and Ambience

Located in the Main Khayaban-e-Muslim next to Cineplex Cinema, OUAT is a themed cafe which is set around the characters from the classic and popular storybook characters. The cafe currently follows the theme “we are all mad here” inspired by the famous Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland. Next in line is either Snow white or Cinderella *the team is still deciding* as the theme will change every eight months.

The cafe is quite small with six dining tables and a couch placed fashionably around the corner. You would obviously want to choose the couch because it’s the most comfy seating arrangement in there. For a themed cafe, I found only a modest effort gone into decoration and minor details. Only the centre wall and the entrance side table resonated Mad hatter theme. But Zohaib Ijaz, one of the managing partners of the cafe, shared how the team is going to install a few more items in the coming weeks.

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Menu and Taste

OUAT offers street food from around the world and currently has limited items in the menu. Like a few other cafes, their “Tick box” menu card is quite handy and simple. There are different dishes from selective countries which the cafe claims to prepare in an authentic way as you would find them in their countries of origin.

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I am reviewing the food in the manner we ordered every item:

Starters

Onion Rings

They were crispy but not quite crunchy. The ring bread had a seasoned flavor but I wish it was a little less oily.

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Main Course

Fish & Chips

*Major and serious Grease Alert*

Oil was the only thing I could taste here. The salmon was oily and limp failing in yielding a crispy crust. Chips were equally greasy! The staff shared how they marinate the fish in Soda to create the traditional English flavor, but unfortunately something really went wrong here which turned the dish quite inedible! They need to fix it soon.

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Pasta Alla Pizzaiola in white sauce

The cafe makes the authentic Italian Alla Pizzaiola with a generous amount of Basil to lock a rich aroma. Surprisingly this lavish quantity of basil didn’t turn the flavor bitter as I expected.  The proportion of herbs to white sauce was well balanced; pasta was creamy, fatty, and delicious.

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Desserts/Drinks

Nitrogen Strawberry Ice Cream

It was a creamy little delight! The ice cream had a topping galore of straberry syrup and chunks thrown into the scoop with perfectly smooth texture. This was the only thing I can say was absolutely delicious.

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Teh Tarik

It’s a hot milk tea made from a sweetened creamer. I found it slightly but pleasantly bitter sweet for my taste and I didn’t even need to add extra sugar. The taste is close to matcha tea but not too strong, so yes it’s in my preferred tea list now.

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Quantity

I was happy with the serving of fish & chips and onion rings, but the quantity of pasta was not so generous as compared to what you get at other cafes for a single serving.

Price

The prices are quite reasonable and won’t leave you broke for the day. The starters begin with Rs. 180 (regular serving), and the main course ranges between Rs 550 to 800. And if you are not happy with your fat bill, you can play the dart game to get discount. I scored a 50% discount because I hit the bull’s-eye right in the second go! *Drum rolls please* I should take this game professionally!

Customer Service

Serving was timely; the server helped us in selecting the menu and informed us in detail about a few dishes we were unfamiliar with. Their presentation of bill was also very professional and neat. Anika specially went head over heels for their mini billing tray made fancy with a hand sanitizer and a little adorable plant pot and pebbles. *She still daydreams it I bet*.

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My Verdict

Once Upon a Time is a small cozy space to have snacks or just to spend a casual time with your friends. If you are a fan of classic stories and comics, you would like the ambience. Would I visit the cafe again? Yes, but probably just for ice-cream and to have a look around their upcoming theme. As for Anika, she became sick to her stomach following the meal, so she is probably never going to visit this place again.

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