BEIRUT: There’s no greater feeling than packing bags and going on an adventure. It’s even hard to capture in words the moment when one steps off the plane overwhelmed, excited, happy and carefree.
It’s the moment the soul cracks up from its comfort zone feeling completely ready to live new experiences and discover more about the world.
This was the case of Lebanese fashion designer Ryan Houssari, who, after coming back from Los Angeles, turned his vision into Candyfornia Café.
Snuggling in puffed unicorn cushions, glittery ribbons hanging from the ceiling, rainbow-colored inflatables and a dazzling pink glow that brightens up the scene, no this is not just a fantasy, it’s a fairytale transformed and re-designed almost two months ago from a photography studio visited by professionals such as Pointure, Aishti, Yeprem jewelry and many more, into a coffee shop.
This might be the smoothest hangout place, where one can work while enjoying the artistic ambiance, “I always wished to have my own hangout similar looking place, there are spaces for eating, taking pictures and enjoying the music, and spaces that are quiet for group studying and meetings, it just covers everything”, said Aya Majed, one of the customers, to Annahar.
This cozy coffee shop has four rooms: the first is purely a studio, with a changeable background, various outfits, and props that are used for photo sessions. The second one is called design, and it has big screen PCs where one can modify and edit their pictures, or for regular computer work, and next to the big table hangs a board on the wall filled with post-it where people have written all kinds of wishes and thoughts.
As for the third one, it is called candy, but the name is not related to the room because it’s for any kind of group gatherings, from meetings to conferences, or just regular board gaming. And finally, the last room is just a hangout spot to enjoy food and music.
“Everything you see in the store is mostly built from a previous photo session, nothing goes to waste, we use everything, including some things we got from our travel adventures,” shared Andrew Atamian, the business partner, with Annahar.
“You can notice that we don’t have small tables in our shop and that’s because our main goal is to let people get together and hang out, and that’s actually happening, random people are actually meeting and becoming friends by playing board games, or even reading a book, and we have all kinds of good books,” Atamian said.
Food is like a magnet that brings people together, and when one has the access to homemade cooking and pastry, it’s even better. From saucy sandwiches to salads, desserts, and smoothies, everything on the menu at Candyfornia is homemade, and some might even seem unusual, but the concept adopted is all about sweets.
The menu has what is called a Unicorn Toast that is made out of different layers of cheese in the form of a rainbow.
The coffee shop also offers strawberry Roca salad, pink labneh, and even a pink café latte, each is made out of natural food coloring.
People might think that the place, being all covered with pinkish designs and colors, is not a destination for men, but the ones that have enjoyed the concept, “the mood and the ambiance are very pleasing, it’s a new concept adopted full of colors and positivity,” said battoun.lb, a verified blogger on Zomato, to Annahar.
However, concerning the food, Battoun had a different say. He said: “The cupcake I ordered was far from what was posted on social media, there was no good presentation nor good taste, and the smoothie I tried was very sour."
The idea of this store is not a business deal only, both Houssari and Atamian aim to create a fun environment for everyone to enjoy, including well-known designers, like Rachel K Designs; along with starter designers that have the chance to display their funky products, whether it's clothing, phone cases, or inflatables.
Atamian stressed on the fact that the scene has to be modified every once in a while, “It’s annoying to be stuck in a rut, this is why we change the decoration and the display of the furniture almost every month, because we don’t want the customers to get bored, we also use the products of the designers to shake the place up.”
The owners are also aiming at spreading more artistic vibes. They are working on popshops and exceptional exhibitions that, as they claim, will blow one’s mind.
Annahar is pleased to introduce the debut of “Dish,” a new section for all things Food. The section includes Recipes, Chef Interviews, new eating venues; restaurant profiles concepts; eating interviews, and dining options ranging from kitchen to clubs. Dish - Reach Out and Taste the World.
For recipes, food and dining tips send to Dish Editor: [email protected]
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