Naila Naqvi is definitely a pioneer in bringing the bakery café concept to Pakistan – Pie in The Sky (PITS) and Chatterbox being the very first. And not just the concept but her bakeries’ and cafes’ interiors have always been talk of the town. She has an eye for detailing and together with her architect Asad Omari, Naila has been doing wonders with her great food and delicacies amidst a rustic and cosy setting.
Naila is a trendsetter having introduced the white bricks in her bakery interiors. “I wanted to experiment with the white bricks and when I saw the result in one of my bakeries I loved it and so used them in my Chatterbox Café and later Pie in the Sky, Zamzama,” enthuses Naila who is the brains behind the vast PITS and Chatterbox empire.
Having entered professional life at an early age, Naila’s career took off when she joined Avari Towers as a management trainee straight after her A Levels. And that’s when the grind began. Naila worked in all the departments in the hotel business working her way up. In between she won a scholarship from the Singapore government and ended up enrolling herself for a three-year hotel management course. This was followed by another course in food and beverage in Singapore from an institute that was affiliated with Switzerland.
Once through with her studies she came back to Pakistan and once again joined Avari only to resign after some time to join the cellular giant – Mobilink.
A restless soul by nature, Naila has always felt a need to evolve with time. And so while still at Mobilink she started serving desserts to hip outlets in those days like the Coconut Grove and Cactus to name some. Soon after Naila got married and entered a new phase in her life.
“It was actually my husband’s idea to do something of my own. He believes women should keep themselves busy and that’s when my passion for desserts took on the shape of Pie in the Sky,” Naila’s boutique bakery which was a novel idea at that point in time in Pakistan.
Ever since there was no looking back for the dessert connoisseur – Naila went on to expand her bakery business opening up outlets in various parts of the city. It was around this time that she felt she should establish a café as well and so Chatterbox was born. After running two successful branches of Chatterbox Naila recently took the plunge yet, once again and opened up the hip ‘n’ happening Chatterbox Deli.
Be it the bakery or the café, Naila has been known for her rustic and cosy interiors. Warm and welcoming it’s a place you can call your own – a place that can become your regular haunt. Her outlets have an old world charm that makes them endearing to her regular customers.
“When I was discussing the interior of Chatterbox Deli with Asad, he came up with the idea of doing away with the white bricks. We had introduced the bricks and the same idea had been copied by many others. Now it was time to move away from that. Asad and I have a great understanding; he knows exactly what I want for my interior. And so when I told him I wanted a place where people could come, hang around, get merchandise he came up with the idea of this chic and classy outlet. Since we were moving away from our hallmark bricks, Asad suggested we opt for a blend of gray, black and white.”
The walls of the outlet are gray with a smooth plaster-like finish which is again quite intriguing with the tile inlays and mirrors that instantly add class to the interior. As you enter the shop, you feel refreshed with the sunlight streaming in from all the windows. Sunlight plays a very important role in Naila’s life as she is insistent on there being natural sources of light in all her shops.
The wooden tables and chairs have been set strategically offering enough privacy to all customers yet not placed too far apart. “We have seating capacity for 34-36 people and that’s as much as I wanted,” shares Naila.
Towards one side are elegant showcases for desserts and merchandise like sandwiches, breads, cheese, butter, granola, etc. You can even shop for colourful pottery while at the outlet, or simply grab a quick bite and perch atop a stool at the bar towards the end.
While for those desirous of a quiet and cosy corner, there’s a niche for about eight to ten people where you can have your private party. The beautifully designed, successfully runningChatterbox Deli is yet another feather in Naila’s cap. The lady is currently focusing on her latest venture. “I’m going to give Chatterbox my all,” she signs off.