Qaim Amin Suhail, who manages and oversees marketing for Food Souk — Kashmir’s uncommon café, says the concept of launching the outlet was to develop something “uncommon and extraordinary”.
“We aimed to run a place where taste and ambience feel different,” he says.
“The concept of Food Souk first developed to do something extraordinary and uncommon,” he says. “My father, Suhail Ahmad Reshie, who is also the founder of the Mummy Please chain of restaurants, is a passionate and patriotic Kashmiri - who has always strived to invest and to bring the best of food outlets in Kashmir.”
He says that the concept is that, any customers that come to Food Souk should not feel monotonous and get a taste of different cuisines and ambience in the four different outlets available in the building.
“We, at Food Souk also aim to acknowledge and cater to the different crowds in Srinagar. For example, ‘Marine Dining’ is for anyone looking for a luxurious dining experience whereas ‘Garage Café’ has student-friendly prices and the vibe is generally set to the liking of the Millennials and Gen-Z with hip-hop music playing in the backdrop,” Qaim says.
He says that another set of cafés, ‘Fusion Feast’ aims to cater to the fast food needs of the customers with its uniqueness being the variety of items available.
“So basically ‘Fusion Feast’ is for anyone looking for a quick bite,” Qaim says. “The concept of ‘French Talk’ comes from the passion of bringing world-class bakery to Kashmir.”
He says that all in all, ‘Food Souk’ strives to be a ‘happy place’ for our various customers by providing them with a wholesome experience.
Jawahar Nagar, one of the happening localities in the upline area of the summer capital, Srinagar, gets busy on weekdays when office-goers grab a bite on the move and also couples and families go for proper fine dining.
“We are hoping that the customer base gets enhanced day by day and we get more and more orders,” Gowher Ahmad, a staffer at the café said.
Ahmad, who manages ‘French Tree Bakery’, says that the outlet is getting immense response from the locals and visitors.
“We are aiming to provide quality products with the best packing and taste,” he says.
Munna Manji, another staffer at the outlet, says that the food is uniquely designed with an amazing ambience and taste.
MARVELLOUS MARINE DINE
‘Marine Dine’ is the underwater-themed restaurant at the Food Souk that provides a blend of food and fun.
Situated in Jawahar Nagar, the restaurant has been witnessing a huge rush of people owing to its tasty food and serene ambience.
Kais Suhail, a budding entrepreneur and the Managing Director of the restaurant told Greater Kashmir that the theme was the first of its kind in Kashmir region.
“It took us a lot of time to work on this theme. The theme is unique and offers a different experience to the customers,” he says.
Kais says that they wanted to provide people and visitors in Kashmir with a theme, mostly seen abroad.
While entering the restaurant, one could spot the seats designed like Shikaras, rocks, and logs of wood, while starfishes and swimming tubs adorned the walls.
“Seashells are hung at various places to offer a feeling of being underwater and, most importantly, the temperature is maintained to give an underwater ambience,” Kais says. “The seats are made by the Shikara makers from Dal Lake in which eight people can comfortably sit. This is done to provide customers with an essence of sitting in a shikhara and relishing their favourite food.”
The massive aquarium at the restaurant has exotic fish.
The ceiling is decorated with a 3D wallpaper of big and small fish.
“We have opened this outlet with high hopes. So far, we are getting good responses. People of all ages come here and cherish their time here,” Suhail says. “We are also maintaining hygienic standards and want people to come to have food they want.”
According to customers, this multi-cuisine restaurant is offering “amazing food”.
“The ambiance is perfect, the service excellent, and the staff perfect and professional,” writes Menaz Fernades in the visitor’s review book of the outlet.
Another customer, Ismail Shafi writes, “The stuff was amazing and the food yummy. I just loved the service.”
Another customer, Ali, says that the food and service were satisfactory.
GARAGE IN THE HOUSE
Food Souk also offers a unique café outlet, the Garage Café, where customers get enthralled with wheels, alloy barrels, and other accessories of any normal garage in the town.
The café serves customers with their favourite foods and drinks while sitting on the real parts of the vehicles and antique machines.
Also, the food is served by staffers dressed as mechanics.
“The customers enjoy sitting on real seats of cars and scooters,” Qaim says.
He says that the American, Italian, continental, and Mediterranean food is being served along with beverages including flavoured tea, coffee, and a variety of drinks on the menu.
“Most of the drinks are not available anywhere in the market. We import the ingredients from outside Kashmir. Keeping in consideration the taste of the people, we don’t want to compromise on the quality of the food we serve,” he says.
The chefs and the staff are also from outside Kashmir.
“Our staff has worked with reputed hotels and restaurants across India and Dubai,” he says.