ISLAMABAD: Anyone who hasn’t been to Burning Brownie is missing out on a lot of wholesome, baked goodness. This cosy little confection-factory, located on the ground floor of the Beverly Centre in Blue Area, serves the dual purpose of a bakery and a coffee shop.
Stepping into the Burning Brownie outlet, one is severely disappointed at the lack of enflamed brownies on display – the barista will also not comply with any requests, just for kicks, to douse brownies in kerosene and put them on fire, mind you. Burning Brownie had humble beginnings, from a Facebook page. After which the owner, Ammar Mumtaz, began to supply the goodies to a petrol station shop in F-7 Markaz. The business slowly expanded and now the brand proudly hosts itself in a stylish outlet in the heart of the business district of the city.
According to Adeel, one of the staff members at the outlet, what sets the desserts apart is the fact that Mumtaz imports all the chocolates that are used to make the cakes and the pastries – something, which Adeel says, is also appreciated by the customers.
The place itself is a beautiful amalgamation of chic, classic and funky. When you enter, the first thing you notice is the front wall lined up with Hotspot-esque vintage posters printed on thin metal sheets. However, the rest of the ambience is completely different. The outlet has huge windows, which make for a brilliant view on a cloudy day, enough to make you forget that three of the walls and the ceiling are not even painted.
The prospect of a Burning Brownie should leave your mouth watering
The furniture is a mix of sofa chairs and stools, with one table that can seat six people at a time on bar-stool style chairs. There is a bookshelf in the corner stacked with classic fictions and non-fictions. There are also a few random items, such as an afro-hair wig, that make great props for your Instagram photos. The place is generally quiet, has free WiFi and offers a good place to study or work, in dire times.
But that’s enough about the business itself; let’s get down to dissecting the food (pun intended). The menu ranges from different types of coffees to shakes, smoothies and even tea. The little display near the cash counter houses several kinds of sandwiches, pastries, cupcakes and brownies, along with an array of cheese and chocolate cakes, which you can order as whole or by the slice.
One of their most famous cakes is the chocolate fudge cake. The moment you are served a slice of that cake in a plate, you realise that this is nothing ordinary. The three-layered chocolate delight is tough to resist. With fudge icing that tastes like a refined version of the popular hazelnut spread Nutella, the cake itself turns out to be a little heavy on the stomach. Though the sponge itself is very moist and soft, after a few bites, one finds it hard to get the cake to go down the oesophagus without taking a sip of a side-order drink.
The cake also has the potential to make you realise you need a partner to finish just one slice – just a little caution for the loners out there. Despite that, this chocolate filled glorious fantasy is enough to make you forget the sorrow of the world with just one bite. And the slightly bitter aftertaste leaves you with a fuzzy feeling of fulfilment.
The chocolate shake is, again, a little heavy, but it makes for a good refreshing drink during the summers. As far as the smoothies are concerned, they are nothing exceptional.
According to the staff at the counter, the drink contains real mangoes, yoghurt and milk – the standard ingredients. However, your mother can probably make a better smoothie at home, for a considerably lesser price. That being said, the coffees are to die for. Very unique and fresh, with a distinct taste that you cannot compare to other international coffee shops in the city.
“We come here almost every day,” said Mehreen, one of the regulars at the shop, looking at her friend Hajra, who nodded in agreement.
“I mostly order their cupcakes or the cheesecakes, with black tea,” she continued. “The food reminds me of what I used to have abroad that is why I have to come back here, again and again.”
For Hajra, the food was “simply outstanding” and that was something that set this eatery apart from all other places in Islamabad.Saad, who works as a freelance travel journalist, was here since a few hours.
“I like the atmosphere, its quiet. This is why I prefer to come here for my research and writing,” he said, adding, “I consider this place as my office.”
For Saad, the food at Burning Brownie was great. “So far, I have no complains.”
But he did suggest that the outlet should start serving desi-style chai, to compliment the desserts.
Mr Zubair, who is managing the outlet while Ammar Mumtaz is out of the country, said the outlet deals with more than a hundred customers on a daily basis.
“The most famous items are the chocolate cakes,” he said, adding that the outlet also makes customised cakes on order, which are delivered within two days. “Sometimes the customers complain that the space is too little, maybe we need to work on that,” he jested, talking about the success of the Burning Brownie outlet.
Over all, Burning Brownie is a great place to hang out with friends. If you like peace, calm and seclusion, this is the place for you. With a variety of mouth-watering desserts and drinks, which are not even that burdensome on the pocket, one can spend hours here just forgetting about the vicissitudes of life.
Published in Dawn, Aug 11th, 2014