An out of the box take on the standard dinner menuArchive
ISLAMABAD: Islamabad finally has a restaurant which has dared to venture farther than limited Italian continental dishes, and that too the usual Fettuccine Alfredo, a few select soups and the same burgers and sandwiches.
The Pavement opened for business just a couple of weeks ago in the F-7 Markaz, and like the name suggests, serves food out on the pavement, after an order is placed at the small indoor outlet.
The restaurant has set up a few wicker chairs and tables under a canopy of fairy lights right on the pavement, and some on the veranda, which gives it a very festive look.
The menu is very broadly continental, and though there are not any innovative dishes, they are certainly not offered in many of the city’s restaurants.
The bill of fare starts out with three soups, including the standard mulligatawny and cream of mushroom soup as well as the Laksa Singapora, which is heartier soup and includes noodles, Thai spices and laksa paste, seafood and tofu and is perfect for starting off a meal on a cold winter night.
The salads themselves could constitute a meal, with the serving size enough for two to share. They include The Pave Love Salad, a fresh fruit salad that can easily rival those offered at Juicy Gossip – the restaurant to go to for fresh salads in the city.
It contains diced seasonal fruits with curried chicken and topped with caramelised almonds, pecans, raisons and granola. The mix is so flavourful it does not need any seasoning.
The chipotle chicken salad contains chunks of pan grilled chicken seasoned with a chipotle rub set on a base of fresh lettuce, sundried and fresh tomatoes, olives, slivers of fresh papaya, feta cheese and pine nuts, all soaked in a vinaigrette.
This salad is more savoury and has a lot more crunch, and the sundried tomatoes complement the crisp lettuce leaves with their rubbery, chewy texture.
A salad with an even more varied texture is the Mexican quinoa salad, in which chopped fruits and vegetables are tossed with quinoa, herbs and kidney beans and dusted with diced dry fruits.
The Pavement has outdone itself with its burgers and sandwiches and the collection may be from the owner’s vast experience in the fast food industry when he was studying towards a degree in the United States and then later in Singapore.
The Pave Spotted Cow features double beef patties stacked on a large, un-toasted bun along with melted red cheese, caramelised onions and turkey bacon.
A bite into the large burger releases a medley of flavours, with the turkey bacon crisp and salty, the beef patties well done yet juicy, and the melted cheese lending a creamy kick.
The main entrees include pastas and meat dishes and the usual fettuccini has been revamped with a Bolognese gravy.
The house special, the Pave Hen, is a deep fried portion of chicken stuffed with spinach, mushrooms and cheese soaked in a generous helping of melted cheese.
The chicken is tender and well done, the stuffing holds its own and the seasoning does not drown in all the cheese – the dish comes flanked with mashed potatoes and buttered vegetables.
The Meatballs alla Parmiagana contains traditional Italian meatballs in gravy served with buttered rice and the run-of-the-mill country fried steak has been given a peppery kick and the two steak pieces come with different sauces, one with a red, tangy sauce and the other with a creamy white sauce.
The owner of the restaurant, Shehrum Hai, said he was inspired by European outlets to introduce an eatery with outside seating in Islamabad.
However, that may also be one of the restaurant’s biggest drawbacks, especially in this weather.
Mr Hai said he realises that many people may be deterred from eating at the restaurant due to the cold and that with this in mind, he has decided to acquire inside seating space now.
Published in Dawn November 21st, 2016