Food & Drinks, Now + Beyond

Covering Lahore, a day in the life of Community Fellow Arsh Khan

For a place that sounds like it could be nothing more than Chinese, it's definitely way more...

For this edition, we’re writing from Lahore, Pakistan.

Tech-Nomad Stop: Jade Cafe by ChinaTown

Let me start this piece by confessing my undying love for discovering new places.

My independence as a young Pakistani woman has been on a gradual but nonetheless wonderful increase over some years, resulting in me taking advantage of any given opportunity to explore the metropolitan liveliness and, of course, the new culinary delights that the city of Lahore has to offer. It was on an escapade with some university friends, searching for a place to work AWAY from the academic hell of university life, that I discovered Jade Cafe.

Jade cafe logo
Source: Google Images

Fully known as Jade Cafe by ChinaTown, I bet the name itself brought some fancy oriental restaurant with golden dragons on its walls and paper lanterns on the ceiling to mind. But in reality, it’s a fairly small sized cafe taking up a little of the lower portion of a double story building; with the rest of the building being taken over by the dominant schezuan restaurant called ChinaTown.

The cafe itself is a little hard to spot initially, but if you ask me in terms of quality, I’d say the little one definitely outshone the big guy here.

The interior is unlike any Chinese-themed place you can think of. 3 out of 4 of it’s walls are painted a turquoise/Jade hue (befitting to the place’s name) but one wall is entirely rustic with a smooth brick appearance, on which a giant hand painted mural of a beautiful and bad-ass looking woman serves some SULTRY BOSS LOOKS to you upon entering!

The Boss Lady on The Wall
(Original Image)

The two smaller Jade walls house a variety of vintage metallic posters, but the larger wall is adorned with NUMEROUS black and white photos of the most random things ranging from Darth Vader to vintage motorbikes to Steve Jobs. I call it The Great Wall of Jade.

The Great Wall of Jade
Source: Dawn News

There’s also seating space on a little porch outside for a bit of fresh air, with a canopy of lovely little fairy lights hanging above. Thanks to our notoriously humid weather, I haven’t had a chance to sit outside much, but what can really go wrong with fairy lights??

Thanks to the cafe’s size and seating space, it’s never too crowded and devoid of the usual hustle and bustle hungry Lahoris tend to bring in, making it a perfect place for someone who’s easily distracted (like me) to work. The staff’s efficient helpfulness can be described by one employee agreeing to comfort a shrieking infant by showing it around the place to indulge its fascination.

And did I mention their WiFi is amazing? I have now.

And the food? Oh my God, THE FOOD!!

Being a Lahori automatically makes you quite a critical culinary connoisseur who finds at least one dish that doesn’t tickle the taste buds. Jade Cafe serves a great number and variety of dishes at the most reasonable prices, and not one of them has disappointed me to date. Their mint margaritas served in mason jars have saved my life (and my motivation to work) numerous times from the outside heat. In all honesty each of the dishes that I’ve tried, ranging from chicken parmigiana to the fettuccine pasta, have all taken me to the moon and back. My personal favorite is the Chicken Cordon Bleu; Cheese, chicken, tomato sauce and mashed potatoes. Enough said. Although their Shashuka egg skillet definitely looks like something worth trying out the next time.

Shakshuka Egg-Skillet
Source: Dawn Images

Obviously, no cafe discussion is ever complete without noteworthy mention of its coffee and desserts! The mochaccino and hazelnut lattes look and taste every bit like the love we all deserve, especially with the foam hearts on them. The blueberry pancakes with maple syrup are the absolute lightest and fluffiest things to have if you can’t help but get one of their heavier main courses. But by far, my absolute favourite creation of theirs are their Nutella French Toasts. It’s served with a little bowl of more Nutella dip, as if it doesn’t have enough in it already. And they’re absolutely right! In all seriousness though, that dish has just the right amount of Nutella: not too much, not too little, just perfect. Having that with a cup of mocha is an ideal combination like no other.

Now that I think about it, this place would be my first choice as my makeshift office (a close second after the comfort of my bed, of course) for my work as a Community Fellow for The Tempest. I can picture it now: taking over one of the comfy seats with my laptop and headphones, sipping on a coffee as I look out for some bad-ass writers to bring  into the company, treating myself to some tasty food as I work on an article draft for publication, and letting the Boss Lady on the wall sass me back to work if I begin to procrastinate.

Moccachino - Love in a Mug
(Original Image)
Nutella Toasts (with more Nutella)
(Original Image)

Everything about that place is so tasteful, artfully done, and at the same time, it’s not distracting at all. Makes you feel right at home, and if I remember the rules of cinema correctly, one always finds their way back home.