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2 Nov

Death by chocolate, well almost…

The new Lal’s Cafe on Shahbzaz, after about a hundred people had left.

The opening of the Lal’s Cafe on Zamzama could have caused a mini stampede had things gotten out of hand. Oh, but wait, they were quite out of hand! Traffic pile ups outside and absolute congestions inside. If nudges, shoves and foot stomps were on the menu then I’d say it was a success. But I expect they they weren’t, which is why it would have been more palatable had the cream from the caramel eclairs ended in my mouth instead of in my hair!

Marketed as ‘luxurious’ and ‘intimate’, the event was anything but.

On the bright side (and yes, there is one), the desserts were absolutely lip-smacking. The caramel eclairs, the cup cakes and truffles and the gelato – served in strawberry, chocolate and pistachio – was incredibly yum. I did get enough of a whiff of the product to want to go back. And I will, knowing that 500 people will not be crammed inside the petite capacity of the cafe next time I go.

I’m pushed to wonder why so many people were invited? I know every event manager wants to have a ‘well attended’ event but then there’s always too much of a good thing, which is worse. It would be great if this were a general public opening and there was more space, but as a media event it just didn’t serve the purpose. I can’t see how any journalist could have been able to critique the cafe or the product fairly. To top it off, several fashion models, moonlighting as waiters (why?) kept complaining of the crowdedness and that they were dying to sit down for a while. They complained about a lot more, but I’ll keep that to myself. I really can’t blame them at all.

It also throws my memory back to the opening of Snog on Zamzama. Before the main launch a handful of food journalists and bloggers (only ten or twelve) were invited to the parlor to sample the menu leisurely. Everyone got great pictures, full information great sound bites and got to sample and critique the variety of yoghurts and their toppings. We were able to absorb the ambience of the place without getting crushed for it. Here at Lal’s, the effort to generate any insightful food critique, failed completely.

It would have been nice to have met Lal Majid or her daughter Madiha. It would also have been nice to have experienced the ‘Make Your Own Chocolate Bar’, as mentioned on the invitation card. I don’t even know whether there was one or not. There was something about the Magnum brand council being around and I caught a glimpse of Deepak Perwani, Nabila and Kiran Aman but I can’t say I knew what the angle to their presence was.

What I can say is that this was one lost opportunity.

The event was managed by Catalyst, PR and Marketing Company.

The Haute Team