Sunday, January 29, 2017

street burger

street burger
beverly center basement, islamabad, pakistan

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!


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!

online (and, soon,

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!


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.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

dumpling zhang

dumpling zhang
F-8/3, street 8, house 32A
tel: 03145236918

what was consumed: dumplings! fried and steamed, chicken, beef, and veggie. also hot and sour soup, lotus root (for roughage), eggplant ... and a series of other chinese dishes

i love dumplings! and i love that, as far as i can tell, there are versions of dumplings in all cultures. i mean, what's not to like?

almost immediately upon arrival, people were talking about some placed called "dumpling zhang's" and how they have the best dumplings. i had them at a few house parties (yes! they deliver!) and loved each and every bite. so, when friends decided to check out the brick and mortar location, i prepared for an evening overflowing with delicious delicious chinese-style dumplings. yaaassssss!!!

when we were dropped out at dumpling zhang's, i asked, "are we here? is this it?" this isn't out of the ordinary, though, because lots of restaurants are housed in actual houses. we were, indeed, at the correct location. and we proceeded inside.

once inside, i felt like i had entered a chinese restaurant back home, fluorescent lights, chinese newspapers strewn around, little kids running around, and all. we were escorted to a private room (we had a large group) and the table was equipped with one of my favorite things: a lazy susan :D

we knew we were going to order LOTS of dumplings, but were pleasantly surprised with the great variety of other chinese dishes on the menu (until then, i had only had the dumplings!). we looked through the photos and picked a couple of other items, mostly veggie. they even had lotus root! love lotus root.

and the dumplings! there were quite a few of us, so we ordered A LOT of dumplings. in addition to all of the other dishes, it ended up being something like 15 dumplings per person. my favorite were the fried chicken dumplings, with a bit of chili oil and vinegar soy sauce. the crisp shell would hold the dumpling together as i poked a small hole for the oil and soy sauce before devouring each dumpling bite. the steamed ones are also delicious and i'll take any of them any day. 

must enjoy again!

Monday, January 16, 2017

arz lebanon

arz lebanon
college road, F-7 markaz, islamabad
tel0333 3333170

what was consumed: hummous, dolmas, taboulelh, falafel, artichoke salad, grilled halloumi, etc. we basically looked at the photos in the menu and started pointing at things ... and we had great success. 

i spent two years living in kuwait. i ate a lot of "general" middle eastern cuisine and loved it all. like really really loved it. so when i get a chance to enjoy delish middle eastern cuisine, i'm all for it. friend j told me her favorite was lebanese at arz and i couldn't resist.

so, friends and i got together for one of j's last meals in town. we head to arz at a pretty late (for me - 8ish) and arz was already starting to pick up (they have both indoor and outdoor seating. sadly, we had to sit inside. and while we waited for the rest of our party to arrive, we ordered some hummous to enjoy with their warm (and delish) lebanese bread and some grape leaves.

where is the rest of our group!? ugh. so hungry.

as folks started to arrive, we kept adding to our order. some of my favorites (like falafel, taboulleh, grilled chicken) and some of others' favorites (that salad with artichokes was amazing!) and then multiples of other dishes (i mean, is there ever such thing as too much grilled halloumi? the correct answer is no). arz has a large menu; there will be new things to try and the old favorites will always be there.

i understand that arz lebanon doesn't deliver. sad day! but that won't stop me from enjoying their fare. let's go to there!!!


Saturday, January 14, 2017


3rd floor, Chaudhry Plaza, Bhittai Rd, Jinnah Market, F7 markaz, islamabad
tel0333 1904050

what was consumed: chicken briyani

i love briyani. like looooove it. my love might be unhealthy. but that's ok because it's just so delicious. so if there's a place that does it well, i'm all for it. and if they have other things (other delicious dishes, comfortable and open seating, convenient location, for starters), i'm totally in. this, friends, is qishmisch.

BJL and i head to qishmisch for dinner and, unlike pakistanis, we eat dinner early. maybe even earlier than americans (yes, i prefer a dinner closer to 5pm than 8pm. take note, folks). and so, the restaurant was totally empty. but that didn't deter the wait staff from giving us all of the attention (as, i assume, they would at any other time of the day). we sat next to the window and enjoyed a little snack as we decided what we were going to order.

qishmisch has a large selection of pakistani dishes. some with meat, lots of stuff for veggies, the whole gamut. the servers were knowledgeable and able to answer questions we had - things they recommended, things that they preferred over others, things they felt their kitchen was good at, things they felt that we must definitely try. 

and their briyani is ... YUM. as our meal progressed, i still couldn't stop eating. and i was tempted to order more. how is it that i haven't been back? that's a mystery to me right now ... 

qishmisch is pretty easy to find (in F-7 markaz). and even if you can't find the stairs that takes you upstairs, don't give up! they're there. and you won't be disappointed. oh, and take me with you please.