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Meraki’s menu offers a little bit of everything

Meraki’s menu offers a little bit of everything

ISLAMABAD: Overlooking Bhittai Road in F-7, Meraki – Islamabad’s newest fine dining restaurant – greets customers with soft lighting and an ornate interior done in creamy pastels.

An almost floor to ceiling, beige shelf lined with various breads, which are highlighted by warm lighting, stands at the front of the restaurant. Diners are served warm bread from the selection paired with smooth, rich honey butter. A live kitchen stands to the right, busy with hairnet adorned staff, setting woks alight tossing stir-fries and dicing vegetables to be blanched.

The dining space is divided in two halls, a large hall at the front and a smaller one in the back, which is cosier and more private. Glass windows are installed on two sides of the restaurant, giving panoramic views of the markaz, and a brightly decorated tree just outside.

Like other places around the city, the menu consists of a little bit of everything, but unlike other outlets, the various recipes stay unapologetically true to their origin.

The menu opens with an around the world breakfast section, offering various eggs made as they are in Tuscany – where eggs are stuffed with sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms and ricotta, Santorini – in the form of an omelette with olives, feta, pepper, cherry tomatoes and onion, to Spanish, New York and English versions.

The starters are served in generous portions. The golden fried onion rings are crispy on the outside and fluffy and silken on the inside. The spices in the fried fish fingers play hide-and-seek with the palate and can be tamed with the various dips, ranging from spicy to a mustard-based sauce. The mozzarella sticks come heavily stuffed with cheese and the supersized chicken wings are served fried in a richly spiced batter.

Diners are then served small servings of iced, salty lemonade while they wait for their main course, which also includes a little bit of something from everywhere.

The menu has been divided into chicken, fish, beef, pasta and fast food sections, each of which then includes dishes from around the world.

The Chicken Tournedos are spiced pieces of chicken breast stuffed with English spinach, cheese and mushrooms drowned in a luxurious tangy, buttery sauce flanked by blanched vegetables and a serving of white rice.

The dish offers a medley of flavours- with dried herbs offering an earthy taste and whole black peppers lending a fiery kick exacerbated by the citrus in the sauce, all of which is smothered by the butter. All the tastes complement one another and race for prominence at the same time.

The Thai Beef in Oyster Sauce features thin pieces of beef crispy fried and tossed in oyster sauce, garlic, chilli and black pepper and is served with steamed rice. The dish is sweet, with a hint of caramelised onions, but the Thai chilli makes it more interesting and spicy.

The Moroccan chicken is two pieces of chicken marinated in traditional spices and then chargrilled and served with brown rice and smothered in a fiery red sauce.

The eatery also offers hand-tossed flatbreads from around the world, with some flavoured with tomato sauce, cheddar cheese, grilled chicken and buffalo sauce while others come baked with pepperoni, mushrooms and olives, and also serves lobster doused in rich, creamy Gruyere cheese.

The service at the restaurant rivals that offered at The Butler and Brown’s and one almost feels pampered, with the waiters bringing in a small table just for you to keep your handbag on.

The good service, food and ambiance make for a fine dining experience as well as a good place for a heart-to-heart.

Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2017

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