Other than being a steamy 90’s film noir starring "Big Don" Johnson that most people have long forgotten, The Hot Spot is outwardly just an ice cream shop, nestled away in a quiet corner of the otherwise teeming metropolis, Islamabad. However upon closer inspection there are far darker and more sinister happenings than just ice cream at The Hot Spot.
Essentially though we started out as an enormous mess in the kitchen. Two maniacal brothers and one persistent aid - we grappled long and hard with our wooden buckets till the wee hours of the morning, producing dollops of yucky looking and equally yucky tasting mush. One muggy summer night when the terrible twins were scraping the depths of despair in a last gasp attempt at salvation it was agreed to go for broke. Plan 9 was thus put into motion for one last attempt at creation. Then... lightening struck!
We had somehow produced a concoction that we, avid lifetime devourers of ice cream, deemed to be as good as we had experienced anywhere. Elated at what we thought was the magic elixir of life, we began churning out more and fortunately it didn’t taste half bad either. Could it be that this was a signal from the gods?! We had our doubts...
For the next crucial experiment we needed a healthy supply of guinea pigs and luckily they happened to be waiting like sitting ducks in the form of the young and unsuspecting students from the school across the road.
One fine, suitably hot and humid August day, we dragged out a rickety old blackboard with a couple of flavours scratched on to it. This was strung up from the tree that overlooked the road outside, and thus our introduction to the world of high finance and enterprise.
One or two of the more rebellious kind of kids with a particularly devil may care (some might even say death-wish like) attitude were the first to step up to the window to sample the mysterious wares. There were initial whispers and mutterings here and there but gradually, what was a trickle of brave customers became most of the small school.
Soon, the little monsters did what they do best and dragged along their brothers and sisters, as well as Mom and Dad to that notorious "last house on the right" in F 6/3’s Street 60. Soon we made a discovery of our own – we needed more freezers and more ice cream buckets in order not to run out each day! We also needed a larger blackboard on which to write our growing "array" of flavours.
All those nights churning away till the mad hours of dawn now appeared to have been well worth the pain and so the story really began. The ugly, nonsensical dabbling followed soon after.
The Hot Spot Cafe started off as an experiment in the hands of two brothers and a wife toiling away into the wee hours trying out different combinations in the effort to finally arrive at what we had set off to achieve - A gourmet product using the very finest and freshest ingredients wherever and whenever possible. Many years on, we still stick to our basic principles of keeping it simple and down to earth and relying on quality rather than gimmicks..
The Hot Spot Story
JULY The Hot Spot is delighted to open our flagship outlet in Lahore at the Gaddaffi Stadium with an expanded menu.
JULY The Hot Spot and Bubonic Films produced a Horror Feature film Zibahkhana that has played at several Film Festivals around the world. The DVD will be released in Spring 2007.
FEBRUARY The Hot Spot is very happy to announce that our three main outlets in Islamabad, Lahore & Karachi are now fully operative "Wi-Fi Hot Spots" as well. Our customers are free to place their orders and browse away while they tuck in....absolutely FREE!
NOVEMBER The Hot Spot is delighted to announce the start of an extended menu that now includes a "Lo-Calorie" option for those who are inclined and also an extensive Delicatessen Menu in the basement at our Lahore branch featuring delicious home made pastas, Fresh sandwiches and Bagels with a variety of options to choose from. Our range of Coffee has also been broadened to include a choice that sets a new benchmark for the region - don't believe us, just check out the range of beans for yourself and prepare to be equally amazed and maybe even confused.
OCTOBER The Hot Spot upgrades the Shapes outlet in Gulberg, Lahore and is now able to offer additional seating, the complete menu including the legendary Squidgy Cakes...and also a dramatically improved interior and a wider range of bizarre Cult and Horror film posters to gawp at!
JUNE The Hot Spot is very excited at holding our 3rd major poster exhibition - this time the hand painted "desi" poster exhibition is to be held at the NIFFF (Neuchatel International Film Festival) in Switzerland from June 29 - July 4th.
MAY The Hot Spot is delighted to add a 50's style Wurlitzer Jukebox to our outlets in Lahore and in Islamabad!
MARCH The Hot Spot (Lahore) was hugely honoured when Dina Wadia (Jinnah's daughter) decided that she would like to tuck into some ice cream at The Hot Spot after her meal at Cuckoo's Den. She tucked into a scoop each of Fresh Strawberry and French Vanilla ice cream and polished both of them off without any trouble at all. She only nibbled at her Brownie though! Contrary to some press reports Dina Wadia did NOT stop at a adjacent shop (however much they would like people to believe) and went directly from The Hot Spot to her temporary residence at the State Guest House.
The Hot Spot is delighted to introduce an authentic 50's style Wurlitzer Jukebox at our outlet in Karachi and hope to have similar Wurlitzer's in the branches in Islamabad and Lahore shortly.
JULY The Hot Spot Web site goes off the air for the first time since inception two years ago since we were forced to switch "Servers"...but three days later it was back up and running ...sadly with our hit counter all the way back to zero after it had reached 137,000.
The Hot Spot is delighted to be formally opening a new outlet in Gulberg, Lahore within the Shapes Health Club.
JANUARY The Hot Spot held its second major Poster exhibition following on from the exhibition at the Commonwealth Institute in London. This time around a selection of Lollywood posters were displayed as part of the Sheraton/Karavan Artfest. The exhibition, from the 1st till the 20th, also featured one of Lollywood's finest contemporary billboard painters working "live" as well as some very rare and obscure posters.
NOVEMBER The Hot Spot is delighted to open up a little corner shop within the brilliant SHAPES HEALTH STUDIO in Lahore from Saturday the 16th of November.
SEPTEMBER The Hot Spot is featured in TIME magazine - Sept 11th Anniversary issue!
The Hot Spot is thrilled to be able to welcome our Karachi customers to the newest Spot...the third Hot Spot is delighted to open its doors to Karachi folks as of September 30th, hopefully the start of a long and happy association!
MAY The Hot Spot changes location once again and returns to the old place in the train ka dabba at Gol Market, leaving behind some good memories at the basement...but we are thrilled to be heading "home".
Meanwhile further exciting news for The Hot Spot as we finally acquire a location in Karachi which will soon be transformed into the third official Hot Spot in the land. An opening is being planned for late august, that is if our government and that of our neighbours don't drag us all down into a nuclear holocaust first.
MARCH The Hot Spot's Billboard Exhibition makes appearances in various towns in the Manchester region as well as a reappearance in London ...still going strong!
JANUARY The Hot Spot is delighted to announce the establishment of its subsidiary BUBONIC FILMS which on the 29th of this month signed it's initial agreement (at Wagamama's - London W.1) and soon we are to unleash both Zinda Laash and Aurat Raj on DVD for the unsuspecting, unknowing world-wide audience. A new trailer for Zinda Laash's DVD release is currently in preparation.
OCTOBER The Hot Spot is delighted to announce that we have acquired the Rights to the classic Lollywood horror film ZINDA LAASH as well as the brilliant Monty Pythonesque Satire AURAT RAJ by the deranged genius of Rangeela both of which are being prepared for future DVD release through Pagan Films (UK).
The Hot Spot's 3rd Annual Horror Film goes ahead in abbreviated form in Lahore for the first time with a special screening of Zinda Laash on Halloween Night itself. This occasion sees yet another metamorphosis of the basement...this time into "The Nuclear Shelter & Coffee Shoppe".
SEPTEMBER The Hot Spot is delighted and equally proud to be able to hold an Exhibition of Lollywood Billboard Art by the street artists of Lahore at the prestigious Commonwealth Institute in London from Sept 15th - Nov 5th.
MAY Just days after its opening....the plug is pulled on The Lahore version of The Chop Shoppe due to lack of adequate space. June should see the basement transformed yet again, this time as a Video Cafe and extension of The Hot Spot upstairs.
THEHOTSPOTONLINE.COM website is a year old and going strong! (40,000+ hits so far) Named recently as one of the "best pakistani sites" by Dawn.
APRIL On Friday the 13th, The Chop Shoppe opens up in the basement in Lahore...note the date!
FEBRUARY On Friday the 2nd, The Hot Spot opens its very first official branch in the Defense area of Lahore. Just one week later on the 9th of the month, The Hot Spot launches its new venture,The Chop Shoppe in the outdoor green belt where The Chai Shoppe already exists.
Operations at Decaff Internet Cafe wind up as The Hot Spot officially arrives in Lahore.
SEPTEMBER The Hot Spot welcomes its old friends and customers to its new subterranean location with an overwhelmingly positive response. A sigh of relief is breathed all around!
AUGUST The Hot Spot's little kiosk called "The Chai Shoppe" begins operations on the evening of the 14th. The Hot Spot introduces the Crepe to its menu as well as Fresh Homemade Lemonade, Smoothies...and BBQ-ed Hot Dogs are revived.
On a sad note, The Hot Spot closes down operations after four and a half happy years at the Gol Market location to open up in a few days time at a nearby subterranean location.
JUNE The Hot Spot Ice Cream is available in Lahore for the first time as we open our counter for sale at the Decaff Interactive Net Cafe in Defence
MAY The Hot Spot Online becomes a long awaited reality.
JANUARY Edhi donations top 30,050 rupees.
DECEMBER The outdoor chess pieces are completed at long last dispelling forever the rumour that the chequered floor outside was a dance floor – for ants maybe?!
OCTOBER The Hot Spot Islamabad Horror Film Festival – a landmark in Islamabad’s "culturally" emaciated calendar manages to notch on a few thousand more rupees to the Edhi Fund. The event is organized as a fitting tribute to the Millennium’s last Halloween. It is hoped that the Horror film Festival will become an annual event.
JULY Having been inundated with complaints for having discontinued The Scream, serious thoughts emerge about transferring the project onto the Web.
MARCH The Hot Spot think tank, after days of scrutiny and analysis, deem the Caramel Almond Crunch a worthy flavour of the Month. It proves to be an instant success and thus from being a one off, it is made a permanent part of the flavour list.
The third ISI American School Fun Fair is a remarkable success despite miserable weather conditions.
FEBRUARY Bamboo fencing constructed around The Hot Spot mainly to provide a little sanctity and relief from street side oglers as well as jumped up stuntmen doing their idiotic thing.
AUGUST The 5th (and last) bumper issue of The Scream arrives checking in at 50 pages!! An instant hit even if the locals are a touch taken aback at the weirdness of it all!
JULY Second issue of The Scream comes out.
APRIL The Scream re-launched.
MARCH Included in The News' 10 Best restaurants of Pakistan.
OCTOBER The Hot Spot participates in ISI American School Fair and tops its performance of last year.
JULY Ice cream and Movie Club are given coverage in the Dawn newspaper and Herald magazine.
JUNE The Hot Spot becomes the first ice cream outlet in Pakistan to offer fresh fruit sorbets.
MARCH The Hot Spot is "Again the Hottest Spot in Town," says Pulse Magazine.
FEBRUARY The Hot Spot Cafe re-located opens up officially on election night at its new home in F-7/3's Gol Market.
OCTOBER The Hot Spot celebrates Halloween by having Michael Myers appear in person (not Austin but the demented killer!).
OCTOBER The Hot Spot invited to take part in ISI American School Fair. Ice cream sells out in most successful performance to date. Sugar cones are an instant hit until cone maker burns out due to non-stop demand.
OCTOBER The Hot Spot participates in Foreign Office Fair.
OCTOBER Hot Spot's homemade sugar cones launched following end of monsoon.
AUGUST The Hot Spot celebrates it's first birthday.
JULY Voted by Pulse magazine as best ice cream in Islamabad.
JUNE Interview with Voice of America during heatwave, subsequently broadcast in their world bulletin.
MARCH Vanilla Oreo launched. Rapidly becomes becomes one of The Hot Spot's flagship flavours. Short supply makes Oreos the most sought after commodity and advance orders begin.
MARCH The Hot Spot invited to set up stall at LRBT Charity Fair. Makes bucket full of waffles mix and runs out half way through. Re-inforcement is sent over to meet demand.
MARCH Strawberry ice cream launched.
FEBRUARY The Hot Spot's (ad)venture into the world of publishing, The Scream, makes its first appearance, mainly as a movie club and ice cream newsletter.
DECEMBER The Hot Spot logo launched.
NOVEMBER Litre packs launched.
OCTOBER The Hot Spot sets up stall at the Foreign Office Fair. One of the first customers returns claiming that ice cream had egg shells in it, which were in fact bits of Snickers Bar!
Peanut Crunch is the first flavour to sell out as The Hot Spot empties all its buckets with customers returning for more and more. That despite Isakhelvi (popular Pakistani folk singer) causing an electricity breakdown due to high voltage concert.
SEPTEMBER First mention in print media - The News International - followed closely by articles in The Friday Times and Pulse Magazine.
AUGUST The Hot Spot opens in Islamabad, House 15, Street 60, F-6/3. First customer hates peach frozen yogurt but loves lemon. Mango is the most popular flavour. The Hot Spot is the first ice cream outlet in Pakistan to offer frozen yogurt.
JULY First ice cream made in Islamabad. Vanilla. Extensive experimentation and re-working of recipe follows.
JUNE The Big Bang: First ice cream made. Maple Walnut in a pint sized machine.