Cafe Headlion

By Tehniat Aftab

A “professional” eatery.

As young open minds open to experimentation, my friends and I enjoy exploring new places and ideas. Finding new locations in which to both eat and socialize are a special treat. After hearing a recommendation that described a bustling centre of exchange in good ideas with a unique menu, we decided to investigate the new eatery, Café Headlion. Situated in Clifton, Karachi, Café Headlion is an addition to the numerous cafes in Karachi. Café Headlion is the first marketing and advertising café which offers great food for both the stomach and the brain. Headlion holds marketing events, debates, campaigns, and discussions, all under one roof. It’s all about promoting different products from up and coming brands. Events like ‘Marketing 360 Debate’, or ‘Marketing 360: The Reality behind the Reality Shows’ take place. Locally renowned  marketing related personalities frequent the café, such as Yasir Riaz the Director of Brand and Strategic Planning for Geo TV, Ali Raza Merchant, the Director of Synergy Group, or Umair Saeed, the Account Director for Blitz DBB.

Although it attracts several big names, the management treat everyone with the same encouraging and open attitude. Upon entering the café the first thing you see is the waiting area: a dark red wall with writings in chalk. The whole café consists of two rooms: one is a small conference/discussion area, and the other is the eatery. The conference room is lined with shelves of books and DVDs.  I particularly liked the interior of the discussion room; it has a unique contemporary look with dark wooden furniture, scattered books and magazines on the table and low hanging ceiling lights. Despite the welcoming setting, the lights are very dim, which sets a different mood than one of a working ethic. The café’s eating area has brighter lighting with large comfortable black sofas and red walls which continue from the waiting room.

The café has a very interesting menu that consists of many unique dishes. In the sandwich department, besides the usual beef and chicken burgers, Café Headlion’s Brandwich is their speciality. It is a Club Sandwich with a Twist, served with a choice of potato wedges, fries or baked potato. Venturing away from typical café fare, there is even a seafood menu. The names of the dishes are reference the famous marketers to help tie in the theme of marketing. Items on the menu include a fish and prawn dish with the name Lever’s Marketing Mix inspired by William Lever, founder of the multinational giant Unilever; a succulent fish fillet dish named Mademoiselle Innocent, inspired by Richard Branson, the mastermind behind the Virgin Group; an Egyptian dish, named The Egyptian Beauty, inspired by Mohammad Al-Fayed, the man who defines beauty with Harrods. They have a delicious chicken menu as well which again has names inspired by famous people. Dishes include the Chicken Alfredo (Giorgio Armani: a dish with creamy light Alfredo sauce);  Rupert Murdoch, a creamy chicken curry with kaffir lime leaves and crunchy peanuts; Swoosh Steak (referencing Nike, the popular sports clothing store), a hearty chicken steak with sautéed veggies, gravy and mashed potatoes; Trip to Morocco, spicy chicken kebabs served with ratatouille. The entree menu also follows the naming fashion, with items such as Warren Buffet, buffalo wings with a tangy sauce; CSR – Caesar Salad Revisited, a light, crisp and fresh salad; The Greek Tycoon, rich greens with fresh feta cheese, ripe tomatoes and a mouth-watering vinaigrette; Designer Skins, hot potato skins stuffed with crunchy herb and olive oil tossed croutons, topped with cheddar cheese, mushrooms and a creamy spinach sauce. They also have cocktails; Leo’s Colada, a coconut and pineapple mix; Material Margarita, inspired by Madonna is a tangy drink; 360 Punch, is a dynamic blend of 6 fruits. For desserts, they have Forrest Gump, a dessert made from caramel, chocolate and layers of biscuits; Apple iPie, inspired by Steve Jobs or finally the Monroe Cheesecake, just as fashionable as its namesake. To top it all off, everything is well priced.

If I could give an Ebertian thumbs up, I would give two. Despite the wide number of eateries in the area, Cafe Headlion stands out among its peers in excellence.