Monday, 26 April 2010

pizza vom

my parents now live in bani gala, an extended suburb of islamabad near rawal lake. there is a little market a short distance from our house (which i call the bg high street) that sports necessities such as a general store, a pharmacy, a butcher, a tea and juice stall, a grocer and a tailor. amidst all these is a small pizzeria strangely named ‘pizza vom’ – hot as hell.

pizza is one of those foods that has universal appeal that allows itself to be appropriated by the tastes of the country in question. pakistani pizza’s come in all shapes and sizes. most people here prefer a thicker, greasy crust but you can get thin ones too at the likes of luna capresse and al forno. they are usually topped with generous amounts of melted cheese, are heavy on spice and some meat. pizza vom happened to be surprisingly good. a thin slightly crispy crust that was not over burdened with its toppings (what i mean to say is that the pizza didn’t collapse under the weight of them) – there was capsicum, chicken, sausages and black olives and quite a lot of spice. a very local version of an italian staple!

i must confess. i do so love a pakistani pizza once in a while.

shop 4| mughal plaza| main road bani gala

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

khaas art gallery cafe

mum and i lunched at khaas today. this is an art gallery-cum-cafe, one which i had frequented in the days when i lived in islamabad. often friday lunch breaks found me at khaas with colleagues or family. khaas has always stood for good food and really good coffee. it’s menu is chalked onto a blackboard and i often found ordering a little discomfiting, since if you happen to be standing and trying to make up your mind it can be distracting for those dining near the menu.

often deciding what to eat can be difficult as the entrees and salads are all tempting. i recall how the flavourful the japanese beef was and the burgers too. today, i was in the mood for thai and settled on red curry. mum and i usually share an entree so that we can split guilt (that is dessert in our speak). the red chicken curry is served with steamed rice and vegetables sautéed in a light soy sauce flecked with sesame seeds. the bowls are arranged on a thali. i love the attention to presentation at khaas. the rice is garnished with some chilli chips which are a deep fiery orange. the entree is preceded by brown and white bread accompanied by a shallow dish of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. the curry is quite mild but rich with coconut milk and a hint of chilli. the vegetables are crunchy and taste really good. i’ve always found the rice to be boiled a little too dry.

although we deliberate over dessert, our choice of chocolate mousse is very predictable. khaas’ mousse holds pride of place even in comparison to abroad. it’s decadent and dark with a hint of bitterness in the end. and most importantly the flavour of the chocolate isn’t diluted by cream. it’s texture is dense and feathery at the same time. mum of course had a cafetiere of coffee.   

house one| street two| f-6/3| islamabad