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Bella Ciao Continues The Trend of Pop Culture-Themed Restaurants in Pakistan

Restaurants or cafes based on popular culture themes are gaining widespread traction all over the world. In this day and age, the most common kinds of pop culture are movies, T.V. shows, gadgets, music, and cricket. Many cafes have started to capitalize on fan culture and build their concepts around similar themes to gain traffic. The most prominent example is the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. cafe from the classic T.V. show, which has been rebuilt in several countries. Pakistan also has its own fair share of such joints that take inspiration from the content customers consume throughout their lives. One of these is the Bella Ciao cafe in Peshawar, which is designed in the spirit of the world-famous T.V. series Money Heist. This particular eatery has taken social media by storm, considering the omnipresent popularity of the show. Several TikTok videos have been making rounds on the internet, showing the unique setup of this restaurant.

Money Heist Inspired Cafe in Peshawar

The Bella Ciao Cafe in Peshawar is a total crowd-pleaser. The videos shared on social media show the aura inside the restaurant, which reminds visitors of the similar tense setting in the T.V. show. The service staff is covered in red overalls with Salvador Dali masks, just like the robbers in the show. They also serve the meal in large briefcases, which film and drama characters use to stash stolen money. Customers can also take pictures with the costumed staff and pose like hostages as they pull a prop gun to their heads.

As far as the menu is concerned, it is mostly Italian, ranging from Pasta, Lasagna to Pizza and Steaks. There is also Chinese cuisine for oriental lovers and a bit of fast food as well. Special items are named after popular Money Heist characters such as ‘Professor Burger’. In drinks and beverages, customers will find all sorts of popular shakes, cold drinks, tea, and coffee. The cafe also provides dessert options, like Ice Cream and Sundae, after a hearty meal.

According to the reports, the cafe has been open since October 29, and the fever continues. Pakistanis have been visiting Peshawar from across the country to see the decor in this place. The quality of the food and service was unable to get flowery reviews on Google, but there was no criticism of the cafe’s ornamentation. It looks like the real deal, as shown here in one of the viral videos.

Here are some other theme-based cafes in Pakistan that carry the trend to another level.

Smokey Cauldron in Islamabad

The pioneer of pop culture theme-based Pakistani restaurants is Smokey Cauldron in Islamabad. This Harry Potter-inspired cafe was established in 2016 by two brothers, Hassan and Haider Khan. Initially, they opened ‘Hogwarts Cafe’ and changed the name later. However, this time it took the Potterheads by surprise with its accurate complement to the original theme imagined by J.K. Rowling.

Everything from the building structure to the sitting areas makes the visitors feel like they are inside the Wizarding World. The outer walls maintain the original features of the world’s buildings, with pointed roof towers covered in snow. A creaking set of stairs takes visitors to the restaurant hall, divided according to 4 houses in Harry Potter lore. Kids are welcome to wear the robes of the houses they like and pick a wand as long as they stay. There is also plenty of memorabilia in the decor where customers can take photos. Some of the themed objects are also on sale.

Unlike Bella Ciao restaurant, there are actually good reviews regarding the food in Smokey Cauldron. Although its menu contains the usual continental cuisine, the name of each item is a nod to the lore. Here is one customer feeling right at home at the Smokey Cauldron.

King’s Landing in Islamabad

Just like Harry Potter and Money Heist, Pakistanis are also crazy about the world Game of Thrones introduced. The 8-season medieval fantasy was the biggest thing in the country when it was running. King’s Landing was the first restaurant in Pakistan to take advantage of that fan following. University graduates established this cafe in 2017 in Bahria Town, Islamabad. However, according to reports, it has been permanently closed. The owners once told the media that the business was only good whenever a new GoT season came out. Otherwise, they were struggling to make money.

In terms of theme, it was nothing short of a tribute to the original setting by George R. R. Martin. The entire joint was decorated with posters, phrases, and symbolic artefacts inspired by the show. A near-accurate map of Westeros gave the fandom something to talk about as they kept ordering stuff, while an Iron Throne replica provided a perfect photo session opportunity. To make things dark, there was even a model of Ned Stark’s head on a pike lying on a shelf.

The menu contained both grilled and fast foods with hilarious names inspired by the show’s characters and places. There was a butter-fried chicken with cheese called ‘The Cheesy Khaleesi’ and grilled chicken with tarragon sauce named ‘The Targaryen Chicken’. This cafe was also famous for its Mighty Mountain Challenge, an ode to the character of Gregor Clegane, an unbeatable knight called The Mountain due to his gigantic size. This challenge involved eating a huge beef burger within the given time limit. The reward for the winner was a 50% discount on the burger and a 10% discount on everything on every future visit. The perks remained until a new winner beat the challenge in less time.

The Cricket Club Cafe in Karachi

Cricket beats all when it comes to pop culture. Pakistanis are obsessed with the game and support their team with extreme feelings. Nothing could make their day more than a cafe fully dedicated to cricket and also playing the ongoing matches. Unfortunately, the cricket theme of the cafe could have been better, but only a few could complain about the quality of the food. It is quite a decent place in Karachi to watch a match with friends and have some snacks like sandwiches, fries, burgers, and chicken.

The decor is usually made of portraits showing the greatest cricketers of all time and record delivery of the fastest bowlers. Props like bats, balls, and wickets are also present, along with an average-sized screen displaying the matches. It is located in D.H.A. Phase 6, Karachi.

Aladdin Lounge in Lahore

The trend is yet to pick up in Lahore, but it looks like this Aladdin Lounge in Gulberg is a start. Inspired by Disney characters, the Arabian-themed restaurant offers many ways for customers to enjoy the experience. They can sit inside the comfortable royal pods or under the sky in wooden cabins. The ambience can take the breath away of every Disney fan. A special thing about this restaurant is that besides junk food and continental, customers also get to enjoy the desi menu.

Sometimes customers can also find a magic lamp on their table. However, rubbing it won’t summon any genie, hopefully.

A I Butt
A I Butt
The purpose of my writing is to record the same voices that are repressed by manual systems.
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