FeatureHeaven on a Plate

Bonding Over Food – O’Play

Written by Naila Binte Zakaria

A dream project of four mothers; an architect, a luxury event planner, a makeup artist, and an apparel executive, O’Play is the new Italian bistro and cafe in town, emulating a sense of homely ambiance with rich accents, plush interior and a sumptuous menu.

The idea of setting up O’Play came into being when three friends Azrin Alom, Sausan Khan Moyeen and Navin Ahmed sensed the lack of a children-friendly eatery in Dhaka. “For long, we had wanted to start a venture together.

One day, as I was taking my kids to grab a bite, I realized that there weren’t any kid-friendly places in Dhaka, where parents could drop by with their children and enjoy a good meal. I discussed this with Navin and Azrin, who agreed with me. As mothers, we wanted to promote the concept of family outings by bringing forth an eatery that offered a play zone and a kid-friendly menu.

That way, both parents and children could enjoy family outings and engage in fun activities. Thus, the idea of O’Play sparked in our mind”, explains Sausan Khan Moyeen.

“Our fourth partner, Samira Musabbir, came as a blessing in disguise. Since all of us were extremely busy with our own separate lines of work, we needed someone who could look after the bistro like her own baby.

We couldn’t have asked for someone better than her!” Located at a quaint spot of Gulshan 2, the bistro captures cosiness, comfort and style; all in the same setting. “We wanted to evoke the feeling of a lavish fine dining restaurant throughout the bistro at a reasonable price so that people could visit with their children whenever they wanted.” says Navin Ahmed.

“Our bistro is the evocative of a luxe and comfortable family picnic spot”, she adds. In terms of food, the menu consists of a tantalizing selection of Italian dishes such as pizzas, pastas, steaks and desserts and a delectable kid’s menu. O’Play also offers a high tea arrangement with a vast array of tea collection. Syphon coffee brewer has also been recently introduced. “Making tea and coffee is a fun activity enjoyed by most of our guests”, says Azrin Alom. With 22 years of experience in Italian cuisine, the chef ensures all the dishes taste as palatable as they look.

Since the owners Azrin Alom and Sausan Khan Moyeen come from architectural background, they designed the bistro with meticulous attention to every detail, keeping the sophistication factor in consideration.

Comprising of an outdoor lawn, different sections of dining space, counter sit-ins and a fun play zone on the 2nd floor, a contemporary mix of colours and materials was attempted. “Every furniture, decorative accent, cutlery and toy was either handpicked or custom-made by us. Our goal was to make every nook very Instagrammable. Each section of O’Play provides the perfect backdrop for an Instagram photo”, exclaims Azrin Alom.

“There is an easy flow between every room as the areas function together, each with distinct but complementary aesthetics.”

Upon entrance, the soothing lavender flowers over the 2- storied building welcomes the visitors. The outdoor lawn has an open air feel to it and is ideal for hosting birthday parties or high tea parties. The indoor dining has different colours to loosely delineate different zones.

Trendy hues like dusky pink, teal, emerald green are predominant in these zones while wooden floors run throughout. Tall casement windows have been painted white to complement the interior impeccably. “There is an easy flow between every room as the areas function together, each with distinct but complementary aesthetics”, explains Azrin Alom.

A stylish affair is knitted out with velvet sofas and chairs, marble table tops and edgy neon signs. The golden brass accents help to give the space a distinct Art Deco vibe which is in trend at the moment. Some areas feature large mirrors that help to bounce the light around the space.

Paired with the vibrant furnishers and wooden accents, plants were placed on top of each table, adding to the colour scheme. A selection of chic hanging lights were installed in the bistro, keeping the private seating area a bit subdued and the rest of the dining area comparatively bright. The overall design reinforces a sophisticated 1920/30’s vibe across the venue.

The play zone of O’Play is equipped with wide array of rides and soft toys, a small library, an outdoor sand pit and many other features. “Every ride here was tried and tested by us, picturing our kids playing in them. We ensured all the rides and toys were safe for kids”, says Samira Musabbir. Each play room has an O’Play appointed nanny and the areas are closely monitored through CCTV cameras. The facilities for children were all well thought out so that the parents could remain stress-free and enjoy a romantic dinner downstairs. If you’re looking for an eatery in Dhaka where fun is compulsory and food is indulgent, then O’Play is the ideal spot for you and your loved ones.


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Naila Binte Zakaria

Lifestyle/Art Journalist who revels in the joy of eating spicy ramen, painting and watching absurdist films.

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