An Interview With Kamil & Sikander: The Brains Behind Evergreen Health Food Cafe

By Komal Malik
November 29, 2017
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While most of us around the globe are on the lookout for healthy recipes, the year 2014 witnessed the outsourcing of healthy meals to Agha’s & Farid’s in Karachi. And in no time, the health-conscious Karachiites were raving about them. This gave birth to the idea of a Health Food Cafe in a city that welcomes a new eatery ever so often! Kamil Rahim (a Graphic Designer by profession), and Sikander Rizvi (Owner of Xander’s Cafe in Karachi) have been friends since their teen years. Kamil wanted to expand the catering and canteen business, while Sikander wanted to convert his healthy recipes to Evergreen – a cafe/salad bar where they serve healthy food which is both fresh and affordable. FUCHSIA brings to you, the story of 2 friends who create fresh and healthy recipes for our palates as Evergreen health food café opens its doors to the health-conscious clientele in Karachi.

 

You open at 8.am. An Evergreen breakfast is …?

Kamil: (While adding how he’s actually NOT a morning person) ‘An egg-white omelette and a green juice.’

Sikander:’ Oatmeal pancakes with a small smoothie bowl, with fresh fruits.’

I NEVER eat salad as a meal. Will you convince me to try a healthy recipe because …?

Kamil: ‘If you have an active day/night ahead of you and want to feel light and energized after your meal, I’d definitely try and convince you to give healthy recipes a go and try an Evergreen Salad Bowl. You can add extra chicken or beef to it if you’re looking for something a bit more substantial, so there’s really no reason to not consider it as a whole meal.’

‘So did I convince you’? (Asked Kamil)

I laughingly replied: ‘Not really, I prefer chicken nuggets.’

Sikander: ‘Besides adding your choice of protein to it, our salads aren’t the typical run-of-the-mill salads you’re used to, but have unique dressings and flavours. You can also take upto three on a plate from the menu to get a taste of what we have to offer that day. Also, if you don’t want the salad on the plate, you can always convert it into our spinach and whole-wheat wraps’.

Your go-to salad dressing recipe! 

Kamil: ‘I’d probably go for a classic French Vinaigrette – it pretty much goes with any type of salad you’re making. Red/White wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, shallots, salt, pepper and olive oil.’

Joe Wicks – heard of him? He’s presently giving online classes with healthy recipes and fitness training to curb obesity in schools. Do you see yourself as part of such a movement in Pakistan?

We’ve dabbled in serving some local school canteens in the past but are yet to pursue it seriously. We’d love to talk to some schools about this, so if you’re in the education business and are reading this, please get in touch with us!’

(Get in touch with them)

Salad bar or cafe? Which one are you to the core? 

‘We’re a salad bar AND cafe, so there!’ Kamil responded with a big smile.

Do you plan on opening a health-food store in the coming future? Do you believe N’eco’s healthy recipes paved the way for you?

‘We consider retail as a natural extension of our business and brand. We love what N’eco’s has done with their brand in this regard, so yes, they have definitely paved the way for us.’ (Kamil gives a thumbs up).

And what about a gym and/or health coach to go with the health-food idea?

‘No fixed plans as yet, but Evergreen is such a versatile brand that it may not be too far away from becoming a reality. Even if we didn’t do it on our own, we would consider collaborating with experts in this space.’

Ever thought of growing your own organic food? 

‘Yes. In fact Evergreen originated from a failed experiment in Urban Farming (long story for another time)! We are extremely interested in sourcing and growing the highest quality ingredients for our customers, so I can see us venturing into the farming game at some point in the future. Again, any potential collaborators reading this, get in touch!’

What do you think of Mr. Tofiq Pasha? A joint venture? Green eating, green farming? 

Do you believe you deliver value for money?

Kamil responds confidently: ‘I think so. We’re not a lot more expensive than most fast food outlets in the city, and we only use ingredients that are really top quality. I think a lot of people can benefit by eating our food multiple times a week without it burning a hole in their pocket.’

An amusing anecdote?

(Kamil laughed for a full minute before responding to this one): ‘The first day we opened, we had only five customers. Sikandar and I spent most of the day offering each other cut-price deals on our share of the business. I should have taken him up on one of the last offers he put forward, would have been a super deal, dammit!’ (We wonder what the deal was … hmmm)

Does Evergreen deliver at home? 

‘We don’t deliver right now, but will start very soon and expect deliveries to be a big part of our business going forward. Right now we’re doing takeaways though.’

A perfect day’s menu (Evergreen healthy recipes)? 

Three Top Picks from the Evergreen menu?

‘Mint Coconut Milk Lassi, Yalla bowl and the Sesame Snapper.’

Do you come up with your own healthy recipes?

‘Shamirah Mahpara does! She’s our head of Food and Recipes. We do some research for her and give her the general flavours we prefer and then leave her to do her magic.’ 

This poster on the Evergreen Facebook page caught our eye! Why is the guy with the bad posture wearing glasses and the guy with the good posture wearing shades? Are they supposed to resemble you two? 

Kamil and Sikander laugh for a good 5 minutes, and after analysing the photo, Kamil responds: ‘Not on purpose, but thanks for the compliment, I’m off to slit my wrists now…’ (and they both continue laughing).

(FYI: The poster was designed by Kamil himself)

The lovely Evergreen Cafe located on Khayaban-e-Seher, opened its doors to the public in September 2017.

Look out for the FUCHSIA Review of Evergreen Cafe, coming soon!

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About Komal Malik

Komal Malik is self employed as a Fashion Curator, Stylist and Retailer. She has Vj'ed for Indus Music, acted in sitcoms and television serials, is a voice-over artist, a former stockbroker, a teacher, a certified Reiki healer, a Neurolinguistics programmer, and if that's not all...her crowning glory, in her own words, is her ability to 'Hoola Hoop like there's no tomorrow'! Komal is a self proclaimed fitness freak-a gymmaholic, (she coined the word for what describes her best). She secretly wishes we lived in a peaceful world. Her motto in life? 'God helps those who help themselves,...be humble and be kind always. Learn and grow from life experiences!' If you love to follow the latest on Fashion trends in Pakistan, look forward to reading more from Komal on FUCHSIA Magazine.