Wednesday, March 29, 2017

social

social
plot #2, ensemble plaza, street 48, F-8/4, islamabad, pakistan
tel0320) 6862783

what was consumed: loaded fries! mexican rice bowl! others had the korean bowl, burgers, sandwiches, fish and chips ...

looking for a place to eat with a nice rooftop and delish food? if yes, check out social!

after reading about a new restaurant in one of the papers, and after we'd passed social quite a few times going to m's house, we finally made it out there, on a nice evening. and with it being nice, we opted for the rooftop seating (and we're glad we did! for those who get chilly easily, they had quite a few heat lamps to keep you cozy).

we started our meal with some loaded fries because ... well, why not. and as we were sharing among quite a few people, we all got just a taste (i could've eaten the whole thing by myself. no surprise there). we also received salsa and toasted bread "on the house." we didn't know what to make of the combo, but enjoyed the slightly spicy salsa.

social has a diverse menu, so you're bound to find something you like. m and i split the mexican rice dish and the korean bowl. the mexican rice was served in a tortilla bowl (likely a fried chiapti, but let's face it: they're variation of the same). i'm also glad to see that korean flavors are making their way on to the islamabad food scene. social's korean bowl was pretty good. a  bit on the sweet side and more teriyaki than korean, but ... that's just me.

thanks, social! we'll see you again soon.

onlinehttps://www.facebook.com/socialcafeisb/



Sunday, March 26, 2017

qiao yuan business hotel

qiao yuan business hotel
street 42, F-7/1, islamabad, pakistan
tel: 0312 9757785

what was consumed: chinese food! to include scallion pancakes, veggies, dumplings, noodles, and chicken with real szechuan pepppers.

another chinese restaurant! and perhaps one that is more authentic than others (aka not americanized - ha!). there's something about chinese food that makes it so crave-able, and it's not the MSG. so when we heard about this secret chinese restaurant, we had to try.

qiao yuan business hotel has quite a large menu. dishes, i am told, are pretty darn authentic (and super delish!). but don't be fooled - not everything there is available. thank goodness for my chinese speaking friend (who busted out some amazing chinese. note: she is neither a chinese language heritage speaker nor of chinese descent altogether. i want to be her when i grow up :) who was able to successfully communicate with the cook! otherwise, i think we would have gone through the entire menu looking for options.

we ultimately settled on a hodge podge of things: some veggies (we went from broccoli to eggplant to (finally) spinach), some noodles (not what we thought we were ordering, but delish all the same), and a spicy fried chicken dish. we couldn't figure out what all of the peppers indicated (beyond the fact that 4 peppers was likely to be spicier than 2 peppers), but were pleasantly surprised to see that one of the "4 peppers" was authentic szechuan peppers, tongue tingling and all!

so, no. you don't need my chinese speaking friend (though helpful). but if you are looking for some good chinese cookin', be sure to check out qiao yuan business hotel!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

des pardes

des pardes
saidpur village, islamabad, pakistan
tel: 051) 2320008

what was consumed: naan, lamb chops, chicken curry, biryani, helwa ... 

des pardes! one of the restaurants in saidpur village ("we" regularly go to andaaz), one that i've been meaning to go to. luckily, a work-related opportunity took me here (we also produced a short video about it. hilarious, right?). yes! work! YUM.

des pardes features desi/pakistani food. the naans, the rices, the curries, the works! the naan came out first, and its delicious. we thought we could eat it all day long. and then the rice (chicken biryani in our case) along with a delicious chicken curry (i wish i could remember which of the curries we ordered. all i remember is that it was delicious).

that said, people have told me that when at des pardes, you really want to enjoy their meat dishes, to include lamb chops (so we did). the lamb chops come grilled, having been seasoned with pakistani spices. each chop has the bone end wrapped in foil, making it easy (and inviting) to grab one with your hands to enjoy. 

we ended our meal with a few bites of pakistani sweets - carrot halwa and gulab jamun. turns out, i really enjoy carrot halwa.

i hear that, on the weekends, there's a guy who plays traditional pakistani tunes for your enjoyment while you dine. i'll have to come back to check it out and eat more delish food!

onlinehttp://despardes.com.pk/

    

Sunday, January 29, 2017

street burger

street burger
beverly center basement, islamabad, pakistan
tel0321-5181818

what was consumed: jalapeno poppers, strawberry shake, halloumi and pomegranate salad, jalapeno cheese burger (with black bun!), triple fried fries, onion rings

the beverly center is turning in to one of my go to places for places to eat and a bit of shopping (what's up polly and other stories!). the ladies who dine, and i, were looking for our next dining adventure. after i had saw a review online and after one of my staff mentioned this new great burger place, i knew that street burger was it.

as there was going to be a large-ish number of us, i called to make a reservation. this was a good thing in that street burger, inside, seats about ... 20. this was an unnecessary thing in that we, unlike other pakistanis, enough eating around 7 (i.e., there wasn't really a crowd until we were just about ready to go. works for us!). anyway, a couple of us got there first and we ordered a few appetizers while we waited.

so, street burger is more fast food than it is sit down restaurant. we didn't really know this and sort of sat at our table until one of the servers, from whom we tried to order, told us that he was a food runner and that we should order/pay at the counter. okie doke!

i went half-sies on a meal - salad + hamburger + fries + onion rings (this was after the strawberry shake and cheese-stuffed jalapeno "pepper" appetizer). the salad was a bit heavy on the dressing (i like my salads lightly dressed), but it was a pretty tasty cross between french and honey mustard. and of course, the leafy greens, fruit, and CHEESE were delish. loved the thick-cut fries that were crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and lightly salted with thick chunks of salt. the burger was well cooked, and there was definitely enough jalapeno and cheese for each bite - yes! and the onion rings. whatever batter they are using and whatever methods they're using, i'm all for it. i want to go back and just order multiple orders of onion rings. light, crispy, well seasoned, and super delish.

street burger, though, is pricier than most other restaurants. that said, as is the case in lots of countries i've lived, western food is more expensive than "local" cuisine. but if you've got a hankering for a burger, be sure to put street burger on your list!

onlinehttps://www.facebook.com/StreetBurgerIsb/

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

the butler


the butler
school road, F-6 markaz, islamabad, pakistan
tel0321) 585-9494

what was consumed: hummous, cheese sticks, burgers, sandwiches, and shakes!

a cute little store front appeared on the outer edge of F-6 markaz. it caught all of our attention, but it wasn't until more recently that i got a chance to make my own visit to 'the butler.'

it's dark inside, and all of the waitstaff are in uniform (note: NOT in stereotypical "butler" attire, whatever that might mean, but more ... newsboy-ish?). while this would be offputting elsewhere, for whatever reason, i found it to be cute and a nice touch by the butler.

all of the good seats (aka with couches) were occupied - sad for us - but we were nonetheless seated quickly and comfortably (the butler also has an open rooftop, i hear. we went when it was a bit too cold for outdoor dining, but i will look forward to enjoying the rooftop in the future). then started off with a few appetizers: delish hummous and really cheesy cheese sticks.

we all opted for sandwiches (mostly because we wanted fries. i could go for more fries, that's for sure) and will look forward to trying out there other dishes.

i also hear that the butler is totally wheel-chair friendly. you wouldn't think so (so many stairs!), but it is! how wonderful! hopefully more places will take that into consideration when entering into new construction. very important! and very impressive, the butler. yet another reason to visit!

onlinehttps://www.facebook.com/thebutlerisb/ (and, soon, http://www.thebutler.com.pk/)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

wild rice


wild rice
serena hotel (khayaban-e-suhrawardy, islamabad)
tel: 051-287-4000

what was consumed: east (chinese and japanese) and south east asian favorites! fried spring rolls, tom yum soup, kung pao chicken, salads, noodles, etc. so many bites of delicious food! but no papaya salad (they didn't have it, not that it wasn't on the menu) :( and, really, only bites because there were so many of us! still - works for me.

the ladies' dinners strike again! with everyone back from holiday, and before others go out, the ladies got together to have a nice dinner. so many folks come to wild rice for work-related activities, but this was my first time! the first for a few of us, in face. i was ready.

wild rice sat us in a nice back corner, maybe because we were so large, maybe because we were a bunch of women, who knows. it was fine for us, though. we looked through the menu and were overwhelmed with the options. they have a nice sampling of dishes from all over "asia," interesting only in that i thought it was a thai restaurant (not sure where i got that idea). we decided that we'd all pick one and share. works for me! we ended up with a hodge podge of stuff - chinese kung pao chicken, japanese sushi rolls, thai soups and salads, indonesian noodles ...

the service was also quite good - the servers know what they're doing. that said, we had a big group and our server was overwhelmed (and we could see it). still, he slapped a smile on his face and did the best job he could. that's all we ask! fab job!

people who'd been here before say that they haven't had anything they didn't like. and i believe it! i'll have to go back to try more. happy eating!

onlinehttp://www.serenahotels.com/serenaislamabad/dining-en.html

Friday, January 20, 2017

kabul restaurant

kabul restaurant
F-7, college road, jinnah market, islamabad
tel: 051-2650246

what was consumed: mantoo (beef dumplings), qorma gosht, rice (pulao), afghan naan, aubergine (eggplant) fry, and, of course, kabob (chicken and afghan).

the ladies' dining group head out to kabul restaurant, a place we had heard a lot about, but had not yet gotten a chance to visit. we were the only group of only women in the place, but this isn't too out of the ordinary. that said, def a place to go with a group. we were seated upstairs and immediate put in our order (it takes a bit of time for your meal to arrive).

what do i know about afghan dishes? not a whole lot. luckily, there were others in my group who had been to kabul before and they took care of ordering. lots of meat-heavy dishes, lots of tomato-based sauces, and all delicious. as our dishes slowly started to come out, we regularly said things like, "it might be bad for you, but dip the naan in the oil. it's DELICIOUS!" and "i could eat a plate of the mantoo by myself. maybe two plates." and no, i wasn't the only one making these comments.


the highlight of the meal is the kabobs. each serving comes with a couple of skewers, so be sure not to over order (though, that said, you could probs take leftovers home and make some pretty solid omelets in the morning). also note that the chicken pieces in the chicken kabob are separated by small pieces of fat. genius! this ensures that the chicken doesn't get too dry and, rather, is seasoned with more deliciousness. YUM.

kabul restaurant in F-7 is right next to the afghan bakery. we talk about the afghan bakery a lot as it is what people say is the preferred location to get bread. they have great baguettes and a raisin braid bread. they also sell pizza dough and some locally made yogurts and cheeses.