Eighteen Stories Kitchen

Some set up restaurants for a living and some as a pastime. Then there are those truly passionate ones, who pour their heart and soul into a place for the sole purpose of adding to the city’s culinary experience.

You may have heard about Eighteen Stories Kitchen or read about their opening on May 13th 2016 in Islamabad. It may also have caught your eye during one of your trips to F-11 markaz. It definitely caught mine.

I stumbled upon Eighteen Stories during a trip to check out a new milkshake place in early May. There was an understated elegance about the place, an honest grandeur; welcoming and tranquil like morning daisies. It drew me in and moments later, I found myself having Peach Tea while in complete awe of their decor.

This has to be the best Peach Tea I have had and I’ve had plenty. Sweet peach infusion with light citrus and floral undertones!

A couple of days later I sat down with Asadullah and Tazeen, the  owners of this innovative place and got some of their story. Here it is:

Tell us about what drove you to enter the restaurant business? What’s the story behind it?

We eat out often. My culinary experience includes about 18-19 countries. Same goes for my partners, Tehzeen and Irfan.

I am from Karachi originally and our food streets are like a taste treasure. My work brought me to Islamabad permanently 3 years ago and I i realized of all the places around the world I have known, this is the dullest city and when it comes to food, there’s no value for money.

I spent 3 years craving good food and then I decided to do something about it myself. We hired the best team in the business and aimed for 3 basic objectives; Hygiene, Taste and Affordability.

Our menu designer, Samad, came up with 32 different sandwiches from all over the world. This was followed by ingredient filtering. We wanted everything to be fresh so we grew ingredients such as Basil, Lemongrass, Cherry Tomatoes, red & yellow bell peppers at home. There were still so many ingredients that were not available fresh or all year round so we decided to take those sandwiches out of the list.

This left us with 18 sandwiches, which gave the restaurant its name. We were then presented with the challenge of setting up our digital and physical presence. It took 8 months; we first started only home delivery for E and F sectors. The response was great to say the least. We expanded to a take away and then finally this cafe.

How do you see your business model panning out in the next few years?

This is an interesting question, we have not opened the restaurant yet and we already have an offer to open up franchises in Bahria Town and Karachi. We are not planning on franchising it, we will open branches ourselves and do it properly. 

I thanked the owners for their precious time and brought the riveting meeting to a conclusion with Mint Margaritas!

Cool and refreshing margarita elevated with mint.

Good food is often about respect and care which you can usually taste on the plate. There’s that at Eighteen Stories. I think Asadullah is doing something admirable and entirely laudable. I am heartened to see progress like this in Islamabad. In my very humble opinion, this is one part of a larger momentum that paves the way for the industry to up its game.

Have you been here? Share your experiences below!

Anum Sadiq

Published 11 Aug 2016 by Anum Sadiq @ foonaReview

Anum loves food and hopes to be able to separate the timeless from trend, understand how palates change with age and why people react to it in such different ways. She has been blogging for foona Review since October 2015. You can follow her on Twitter or instagram!


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