NAANS AND NON STOP EATING

Karachiites are weird people; they put up a facade of being modern when they are die-heart desiis at heart. They dine at French and Italian restaurants, but never miss an opportunity to secretly indulge in spicy biryani, parathas and tikkas.

Eateries in Karachi have always made amendments to suit the tricky palates of these trickier people and from thence have come the trend of stuffed parathas and naans. We desiis LOVE chai (tea) and are constantly looking for improvised munchies to go with it. What better way to enjoy a steaming cup of tea than to have it with a cross between desi and modern, stuffed naans?!

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Serving delectable naans with innovative fillings ranging from mashed potatoes to spicy and cheesy chicken, Naan Sahab, a new eatery, has become the talk of the town! Hand-tossed and fire roasted in tandoor with a touch of butter to give them that beautiful, charred look, Naan Sahab’s naans are definitely not something you would want to miss. They lack the infamous greasy touch that parathas sport, but are not dry or doughy that you might expect from some naans.

I tried two of their naans, namely Steak and Cheese and Chicken reshmi paneer, on my last visit. One bite and I was momentarily transmitted to a land of bliss; the naans were super fresh and crispy, cooked to perfection!

STEAK AND CHEESE NAAN:

Their steak and cheese naan was rich and flavourful, with a generous stuffing of ground beef (much to my joy!), sautéed mushrooms and caramelized onions. Served with rich BBQ sauce and chilled 7up (I’m no chai lover), the tiny naan was definitely heavier than it looked I was full but I still wanted more! Get yourself a cup of karak chai and you’re ready to go.

Price: Rs.325

Rate: 7.5/10

CHICKEN PANEER RESHMI NAAN:

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True to its name, the naan was steaming hot with creamy cheese oozing out, and the chicken only added to its pleasant taste. Its crisp and cheese strings made it seem like I was gobbling on a really good pizza. Definitely trying it again. I got myself a glass of chilled mint lemonade with shaved ice and I was a happy, happy person.  Naan sahab’s paneer reshmi naan is a total show-stealer!

Price: Rs.280

Rate: 9/10

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They also serve fries and onion rings as snacks so if you are not into eating naans, you can also go for something lighter (although I assure you that I did not find their naans  greasy at all). Their menu also has apply cinnamon and Nureo (a collab between Nutella and Oreo) naans as desserts, which I have not tried, but trust me, I have only heard good things about them.

Does not matter if you are a tea lover or not, because Naan Sahab has it all covered! You can also order in fresh and refreshing lassis or gulp down these beauties with kehva or a huge glass of lemonade. Either way, this place is a win-win and is surely worth a visit!

xx

Aliza Anees

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/foodieshoodie/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/foodieshoodie.a/

 

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MIDSUMMER ARABIAN NIGHT’S DREAM

I am still thanking my stars for the moment when I got invited to ‘Arabian nights’ at Nadia Café of Marriott, Karachi.  The décor was resplendent to the point that I stopped in my tracks for a full minute to take it in entirely; Canopied entrance with crimson carpet and lights, Arabic show pieces including a horse torso and a fancy sheesha with a matching playlist to inspire an Arab in you. Even the waiters were dressed in traditional Arab outfits called thobes! The only thing lacking were some belly dancers and the picture would have been complete.

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From their cutlery to menu, everything exuded opulence that Arabs are so famous for. The buffet, consisting of Middle Eastern dishes, was set in most exquisite a manner; with fruit and vegetables nicely arranged and cut to complement the royal delicacies.

There was a vast variety of everything edible; from salads to cold cuts, main courses, breads and desserts. A lot of people in the dining hall who had been to Middle East said Arabian night’s falafel and bakhlava reminded them of their good, ol’ days. Be it Arabian night’s Kehva or chilled Milk Jam e Shireen, creamy hummus or melt-in-your-mouth cottage cheese, I honestly could not decide what to eat. After a long food photography session (because everything looked so darn good!), I tried chicken salad with mayonnaise, which was so delicious in itself, I honestly did not want to move on. I also tried Arab’s special, steamed rice with lamb meat which was a little less salty for my palate but delicious nevertheless. Falafel was my favourite from the lot; prepared with both beef and lamb’s meat and aptly crispy and gold, I could not keep my hands off them!

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The main course consisted of an array of steamed meat and a variety of rice, some plain while others with nuts and more meat. Meat is a recurrent word here so it is safe to conclude that Arabian Night is essentially a meat lover’s heaven. While some chicken entrees were exceptionally tasty, super moist, creamy and flavoursome, some were a tad bit dry. The tuna slices for me were, hands down, the best! I am not much of a sea food fan but when it comes down to prawns and tuna, I am never saying no, nope.

Veg lovers, please do not be disappointed because Arabian Nights have something in store for you too; there were stuffed vegetables, steamed and/or otherwise, smelling great. I tried one and it tasted greatly different from vegetable dishes I had been eating in Pakistan. But I can certainly say that I love Arabian food from now, because if they can make vegetables taste so good, they legit can cook everything delicious.

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The dessert table was a whole magnificence of its own; gloriously gold with fancy platters flaunting the most heavenly looking mithaiis and naan khataiis! Cashewnuts, sweet samosas, Arabian kheer …you name it. My favourite has to be the kheer, which bore close resemblance to custard and was packed with nuts (yummers!) Particularly interesting (not to mention, very scrumptious) were these tiny pancakes filled with cream cheese and nuts. They were the only thing on the table which was not excessively sweet but they tasted great as well.

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Kudos to Arabian Nights’ organizers for this splendid culinary extravaganza for their customers. They are sure to love it!

Lots of love,

Aliza Anees

xx

SAYING HI TO THAI

Do you call yourself a food fanatic? You can never be a sincere food enthusiast until you try your hands (quite literally) at a variety of cuisines. Yes, you heard it right. A foodie dares to be experimental.

I have always considered myself to be a safe eater; if it sounds and looks tempting, I would eat it. But if it does not ring a bell for me, I would definitely not go for it. The Thai food festival at Marco Polo, Pearl Continental, Karachi, was a night as packed with experiences for me as a pomegranate coat with ruby-red seeds.

The hall exuded an aura of festivity. Immensely good looking food was laid out on long tables, causing everyone’s mouth to salivate profusely. There was an overwhelming variety of gorgeous Thai fruits, cut and shaped to look nothing less than pieces of art, and so huge in size I swear I could not tell mango and papaya apart for a second.

I am not much into starters, but the starters at the Thai food festival were definitely my favourite part of the evening (after desserts). The Thai chicken salad was a bit cold but I loved how chewy it was. It could have been a bit moister but its taste was undoubtedly pretty good. Thai Beef Salad was my highlight of the day, being succulent and flavourful, with a bit of tanginess, I could have only filled my plate with it had my friend not instructed me to be more ‘experimental’ and try other things on the buffet table too. Prawn salad was also really delicious, with the trademark Thailand salads’ tanginess. My desi heart did a somersault when it saw a tray full of fried rolls on the table next to a platter with mixed fruit.

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“Is it Ramazan all over again?” I asked my friend who indicated me to hush up, while we both helped ourselves to a roll each. And boy, oh boy, were they delicious? They were every desi’s daydream (minus all that oil, ahem).

There were myriads of Thai main courses, consisting of dishes like Red curry prawns, Pad Thai noodles, Green curry chicken, Fried Garupa with spice sauce, Beef Pad Thai with mint leaves amidst others. While the meat was steamed and cooked to perfection, one thing vividly distinct about Thai curries is that they are super creamy. I could even feel a tinge of coconut in them, which lent my meal a healthy touch. You need to have versatile taste buds to enjoy these. If you are particularly into red chilli powder and other similar spices, Thai food is not for you. What distincts Thai food from others is its use of special Thai spices and herbs, which renders this cuisine range to be less spicy but not flavourless. There was an array of breads to pick from too, so I just hastily went for the one that looked the best and was certainly not disappointed; it was as fresh as I would want any bread to be!

Last, but definitely, definitely, not the least, were Thai desserts, which looked so fabulously exquisite I could not keep myself from taking their pictures! They were sugar delicacies too pretty to be eaten but also, ironically, too scrumptious-looking to be missed. The chocolate maniac in me hastily piled up everything and anything remotely chocolate on my plate. One bite from it and I was in a food coma.

I do not remember what happened next. What I do remember, however, is that I dreamt of exotic Thai beaches and its mouthwatering food that night.

Lots of love,

Aliza Anees

xx

 

Boun Cibo bites

There are places you go to only to see if all the hype surrounding them is real. Boun Cibo (pronounced as ‘bwon chee bow) happens to be that place for me. Being a food blogger, I had heard plenty of good reviews about the place (also some bad ones), so when my friend asked me where I wanted to eat, I did not think twice before stating Boun Cibo.

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The restaurant mostly offers a range of Mexican and Italian cuisines but also has something for others as well. Situated in Badar Commercial, DHA, it is a food place that you do not want to miss out on if you are looking for a peaceful and secluded spot with decent food.

The first thing which struck, and pissed, me on reaching the place was how inconspicuous it was. I almost missed it while driving through the restaurant. All thanks to my friend’s eyes-of-a-puma, that we spotted the place. Our troubles, however, did not end there. I was ravenous after a long, hectic day of work but the door just did not budge to let me in. I almost mistook the place to be shut and half turned to go until my friend gave it one last budge to reveal down case stairs. (We realized later that it is a basement restaurant) I guessed it to be congested from inside, but the place was surprisingly spacious (not very, but quite) and serene from inside.

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We were greeted by their good-natured manager and immediately attended by a waiter. Picking on a dish is always the hardest task for me. I mean, why can’t restaurants have an option of serving a bit of everything on a plate for indecisive people like me? Anyway, so I could not really decide between a chicken entree and a burger, so I went for pasta instead. My dish for the day was Parmesan Chicken Spaghetti.   My friend, who is much, much better at making important decisions in life on time than me, ordered a Mongolian burger for himself. (Much for my sake than his own; that way I could try their Parmesan chicken, pasta AND their burger too! See what I did there?)

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Our food took a while to get served but we were presented complimentary olive bread with olive oil. It took me a while to get used to its taste but it surely was not bad. Our food came 20 minutes later, beautiful and steaming hot!

Chicken Parmesan Spaghetti: 

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I could not get over the pretty design on the side of my plate, first off. The second thing I noticed was their generous serving size and how cheesy my spaghetti really looked. I could not wait to dig in but since they were so scalding hot, I had to patiently wait for a while. But it tasted divine! So cheesy, with everything blended perfectly.
My favourite part, however, was the well-grilled parmesan chicken fillet on top. It added a crunchy element to my otherwise soft dish. Their olive bread, (served with my spaghetti as well) was just an ordinary bread, so that was quite meh. It was overall, a really good dish, a perfect pick for all pasta lovers out there!

Price: Rs.765+tax
Rate: 8/10
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Espe-TADA; Taste the Carnival Event by Nando’s Pakistan

It’s succulent. It’s spicy. It’s Chicken Espetada from Nando’s Pakistan! Yes, you heard me right. Espetada. The star of the evening I was so graciously invited to by Nando’s. And please do not be mistaken; it was no ordinary bloggers’ meet up, nope. In fact, they had a whole scavenger hunt lined up for us. What fun!

The hunt was to start from their Sindhi Muslim outlet in Karachi and end in their  Khyaban-e-Sehar branch. I had been so busy at work that I only managed to join the crew at their final destination (boo!) but I was, luckily, just in time for the final round of some fun activities. From speedily pronouncing my name to doing as I was told, the activities channeled the child in me in an instant. This sesh was also incredibly interactive so I got to befriend some other bloggers (Yay for new friends!)  In a nutshell, I felt weirdly refreshed after a whole day of exhaustion.

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And then we were finally made to sit and try the aforementioned delicacy, Chicken Espetada. This meat-on-a-skewer monstrosity is a total must have if your palate is bored of those chicken entrees with sauces every other place serves these days. I, for one, have gotten bored and espetada served as a perfect distraction!

Served piping hot with my choice of sideline (Fries. Duh.), it was a treat for both my tummy and my eyes. I got mine in hot flavor and trust me, I ate the whole of it without any additional sauce because the taste was just so spot on. Creamy, spicy and sliiiightly tangy, it was a whole carnival of flavours in my mouth. I was also really glad that they did not put tomatoes with my chicken and bell peppers,like a lot of places serving similar dishes.


As for my fries, they were soft and thick with the right amount of salt. While I like mine thin and crispy, those were pretty edible too so I’m not complaining (besides, if it’s potato, it’s in my mouth)

The dinner was followed by a gift giving ceremony for those who participated in the scavenger hunt (yep, not me) but they still gave me a goodie bag to take home, so I walked out a happy person. Also, guess who we met at the event? Faiza Saleem! The famous, stand up comedian I totally admire, so it was surely a sweet, SWEET end to a wonderful evening.

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Me (middle) with my blogger friends, Shehzeen and Abdul Aziz

Thumbs up for Nando’s Espetada! Try it yourself to believe it.

MAKE UP CITY ERA CAMPAIGN

As a kid, I always fantasized about Cinderella’s story. Not that ‘finding your Prince Charming and living a happily ever after’ part, nope, but the part where she is given a spectacular transformation by her fairy godmother.

I had, since then, retained a crazy obsession with magic makeovers. You can imagine the somersaults my heart performed when I got invited to the Era Look Campaign by Make up city at Lucky One mall in Karachi.  Make up City is a beauty-retail brand which unites top notch International brands under one roof. Brands at MC ranges from Kryolan, Framesi, Sweet Touch to BaByliss, Janssen and you name it.

The shop does not only contain skin and hair products for both men and women but is also offering gorgeous make overs based on looks from different eras! Yep, as their tagline goes, they sure do beautify the world.

Entering the spacious Make up City outlet was a real sight for sore eyes; I had spent an unbearable number of hours in a news room so watching rows and rows of colourful make up, complete with their comforting fragrance, was sheer bliss.

There were myriads of looks to pick from but I picked on Sassy 2010 (I’m a neurotic, so I just picked on the first look that even mildly interested me). The other looks included Sleeky 50’s, Glossy 80’s, Classy 90’s (my friend’s pick) ans Sensual 2020’s.

You can find out more about these looks here:

 

SASSY 2010:
If I could describe this look in one word, it would be ‘bold’. The make up artist gave me a thick, winged liner with a brown eye shadow and heavy mascara coat to my lashes. I was given a matching pout too. Technically, pronounced eyes do not go with an equally conspicuous lip shade (it’s either dramatic eyes OR a dramatic pout) but I have slim lips so it didn’t look so bad on me.
I also have some acne marks on my face but the foundation concealed them like magic. A little highlighter to glam up my look and I was ready to go!!

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My ‘before make over’ look

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And this is how I looked after my make up

Hair:

I have straight hair so the hair artist tried giving me a semi-sleek side pony with a pink ribbon on my crown to complement the look, but that flattened my hair so I went for soft curls with a puff instead. And if truth be told, I LOVED it! The puff could have been neater but I was too busy beaming at my curls (it was my first time!) to complain about it.

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Me in a semi-sleek side pony, plus a pink ribbon hair band

 

All in all, I was honestly really glad about my pick and, more importantly, the final outlook!

 

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Loved my curls!!

Way to go, Make up City.

CLASSY 90’s:

90’s era consisted of lots of glitter and sleek hair looks so that’s mostly what they did on my friend. They gave her pretty almond shaped eye line with some glitter on corner and red lips to uplift her entire look.
As for her hair,I think they could have done something better. My friend has long, silky hair so giving her a puff with some side braids and letting rest of her fall just like that kind of suppressed her entire look. Some loose waves or a messy, high pony could have greatly enhanced her make up.

 

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That is my friend on right. I am sorry I do not have her solo picture

But the gist? We LOVED our make overs!

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Thanks for spoiling us, Make up City! ❤

Allow me to say that there’s something immensely healing about make up. I speak from experience, so do not try contradicting me.

How do you like our looks?

Love,

Aliza.

ROAD TO ROAD STOVES

First day of university after never ending summer vacations and no hang out with friends? That cannot be. Having already tried all eateries near by, we were on a look out for a new food place which serves finger licking food, and that too in an affordable price range.

Our prayers got answered when we spotted Road Stoves cafe, tucked in between other shops, with a big Mcdonald’s outlet near by. For anyone who loves MCD, they would disapprove Road Stoves’ (a start up in Karachi) choice of location, with an established competitor so near by. However, for someone like me, who would only go to Mcdonald’s if there was no other choice, their location is ideal. The cherry on top was this young cowboy, waiting to welcome you inside:

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The inside was small but I was glad about the cool burst of air that instantly embraced us on entering. The place was also well-lit and minimal, which makes it somewhat more spacious than other places I have visited of the same size. The ambiance was peaceful and I loved how we spent hours there without feeling exhausted.

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Coming down to the food part:

CURLY FRIES:

As an appetizer, we ordered curly fries with sauce. The fries got served almost immediately and were fresh (not re-heated or re-fried), crispy and flavourful. The dip was thick and nice too, except it lacked some salt.

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Rate: 9/10

ROADIE PIZZA:

We got one of this in 9 inches on the suggestion of the person who took our order. He said it was their speciality and pretty popular among their customers. So we obviously had our hopes high when this pizza got served. It was piping hot and cheesy, with a topping of mushrooms, olives, chicken sausages, capsicum and tomatoes.

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While its taste was top notch, I found it a little too spicy for my buds. My friends absolutely loved it though. Its best part was its crust, which was perfectly crispy and was not too thick nor too thin.

Rate: 8/10

BBQ BEEF BURGER:

Being a beef burger fan, I always get one when I have to determine whether the place is good or bad. This one here left a lasting impression on me; The bun was toasted to perfection, with the top being crispy and its inside soft. The patty was well-grilled and well-seasoned, suitably moist and thick. Not to mention the cheese, which was a telltale of its high quality, and the mayonnaise only added to its splendid taste.

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The only thing I don’t like in burgers is tomatoes but I forgot to mention it during my order so I conveniently removed the slices from my burger and devoured it with pleasure.

Rate: 8.5/10

GRILLED CHICKEN BURGER:

This too had an equally pleasing bun and cheese. Its chicken patty was grilled perfectly but the sauce in it gave a burst of sweet flavour on the very first bite, which can be a turn off for some people. As for me, the sweet and spicy taste grew on me. It was quite a good burger, except for the sauce part.

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Rate: 7/10

JALAPENO BURGER:

This is mon salwa for all spice lovers!  Moist chicken patty combined with jalapeno peppers, infused in a spicy jalapeno sauce, served in the same amazingly toasted bun with the aforementioned cheese, it too was tasty but it definitely is not for a person who enjoys normal spice like me.

Rate: 7/10

All the food was served hot and we did not have to wait for a lot of time either. Their manager himself came to us after the meal and asked us how we liked our food. He listened to us attentively and promised to work on their shortcomings.

It was a pleasant experience overall. Enjoyable and very pocket friendly. Anyone who is a junk food fanatic should definitely pay Road Stoves Cafe a visit. The also serve shakes and desserts, which I am leaving for next time.

Bon appetit!

Date at “Date Night”

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Looking for a pleasant night out with your date in this sultry Karachi weather? Well, fret no more because Dawar Lashari is back with a bang! Having already made its name in Lahore, the director makes his way to the city of lights with his play ‘Date Night’ to revive its theater scene. Easy, breezy and cheesy, ‘Date night’ is a musical farce that is sure to put a smile on your face, even inspire a laugh or two.

The play is set in a hotel away from city, where two couples arrive to escape the monotony of their married lives, but without each other’s knowledge. The rest of the play is built on a series of tangles, confusion and cat and mouse chase as characters struggle to keep their dirty little secret hidden, but not without making us laugh in the process. The play quite dangerously edged on being a drag had it not been for some refreshing dance performances in between. The only downside was the clumsiness with which the characters performed. The same show could have been improvised with careful choreography and a little more heart from the actors.

While the attendees were suitably amused, I could still spot some vacant seats. Perhaps while trying to present an English play, Lashari lost onto some potential audience. However, those who did attend the play were thoroughly entertained.

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Most of the audience comprised of adults; people in their late teens and middle age. The script writers played on lewd jokes and sexual allusions (which I definitely deemed unpleasant,if not unnecessary), so you might want to leave behind your kids.
 Nevertheless, amid the cinema going culture, a theater performance was definitely a breath of fresh air, for which Lashari deserves a pat on his back.
In a nutshell, ‘Date Night’ is a play that could and should not be missed. Mind you! You can still catch the play till 27th August 2017 at Arts Council in Karachi. 

A PANCAKE STORY

I usually keep myself away from kitchen, more for its well being than mine. So you can imagine my surprise when I felt like preparing my own breakfast today. It is highly unlikely of me, trust me, but the recipe I saw on a fun food blog seemed too easy, even for an amateur like me.

And so I got down to making chocolate pancakes, the recipe of which is as follows:

INGREDIENTS:

  • An egg
  • 2 bananas
  • Peanut butter
  • 2 tsp ugar
  • Half a cup of lour
  • Chocolate/cocoa powder (I used milo powder as a substitute)
  • Chocolate sauce (optional)
  • Vanilla ice cream (optional)

STEPS:

  • Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend them into a viscous batter.
  • Add some butter to a frying pan and put a scoop of your batter on it.
  • Let it heat until it is properly cooked and bubbles start forming on the surface. That’s when you know that it is time to flip it.
  • Cook from the other side in the same manner until the pancakes are a nice brown colour.
  • Pour chocolate sauce on them and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

So that is how it should have gone, except I was a first timer so my pancakes turned out pretty out of shape and really dark ( but that is probably because I went wild with milo). In my defense, they tasted just fine! My sister, who is a picky eater, liked them too, so that is a score. Also, I did not have any ice cream so I made use of whipped cream instead.

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Relevant stuff in between 

It was a fun experience overall and I think I might just befriend my kitchen from now. I am sorry I cannot share my pancakes’ pictures, but they really did taste good. Take my word on it. That is all for now, let’s hear your kitchen stories?

DEL FRIO DRAMA

There are not many places I visit as often as Del Frio in the Sindhi Muslim society, but that is always for dessert. There is something about the cafe that makes me feel awfully at home. Be it the welcoming and courteous staff, the tantalizing aroma of baked goods or merely the book stand (it lacks variety) you encounter as you enter the place, Del Frio promises food for both your tummy and soul.
We ended up there for my friend’s birthday lunch on my suggestion (even though I kept clarifying that I have only just tried desserts at Del Frio). Being one of the few customers there, the waiters were quick to come to us to take our order. The ambiance was peaceful as usual, and my favourite cake-y smell was wafting in air as usual (That’s a bonus!) My friend had already decided on their orders (Penne Arrabiata and Chicken tikka pizza) but I was really indecisive, so I sought the waiter’s help. He recommended me their specials, out of which I picked Chicken Fajita.

While we busied ourselves in taking pictures, another waiter placed complimentary garlic bread basket on our table. I do not want to sound ungrateful, but they were a bit too try for my taste. The taste was fine though.

We got served with our meals 20 minutes later. The dishes were piping hot and looked good enough. I could not wait to dig in!

CHICKEN FAJITA:
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Served in a sizzling wooden tray with a side line of Mexican rice (I am not a fan), a wheat tortilla, sour cream, salsa and veg salad, it was just too spicy for me and the rice too bland. I could not eat more than a bite so I complained to their manager, who was really helpful. To make the dish edible for me,he served me some white rice and they did drown spices a bit, but the dish failed to leave an impact on me. The fajita was a bad experience and I left it half way through.

Rate: 4/10

PENNE ARRABIATA WITH CHICKEN:
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Penne Arrabiata with chicken was a much edible meal than my Fajita, but it was still a disappointment: Its sauce was too spicy and the chicken too dry, but at least the pasta was well-cooked and quite filling.
Rate: 5.5/10
CHICKEN TIKKA PIZZA:
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This piping hot, thin crust, chicken tikka pizza was deliciously satisfying with a suitable amount of chicken chunks and lots of threads of cheese! I particularly loved the dip (it’s not in the picture) that came along. Yum!
Rate: 8/10

After having a rather disappointing meal, we finally got to the dessert part and THANK GOD it was as the former!

FERRERO ROCHER CAKE:
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The slice of Ferrero Rocher cake was every chocolatey sin you would willingly commit. Sweeter than your sweetest dream, super moist and decadent, with chunks of hazelnut coming into your mouth, it has to be my new favourite indulgence at Del Frio now.

Rate: 9.5/10

The cake was a total saver and it boosted my foul mood (read: post bad food depression) in no time. Definitely going back to Del Frio. Just not for their main course!