Progressively more, Islamabad has developed a longing for the ‘trendy’ and nowhere is this more obvious than in the restaurants that have opened up quite recently.
For a foodie who wants to escape from the hip teens and the selfie crowds, however, there are still some haunts in the capital that offer you solitude ambiance.
If you do fancy a more old-fashioned approach to food and want to break the uniformity of traditional sit-down establishments, you may want to step into – The Cave.
Located in Blue Area, walking down the dimly lit steps, one emerges unexpectedly into a space that may as well be modeled on the inside of a cave somewhere in Tora Bora, although with far more creature comforts.
The decor stays true to the restaurant’s name – from the ceilings hang the occasional stalactite and the dimly lit interior gives one all the sensation of being in a subterranean cavern.
In fact, so contributing to is the environment to conversation that most of the crowd here at lunchtime consists of corporate-types or university students on their lunch break.
The menu boasts simple dishes but there are a number of different cuisines to choose from. You can find Italian, Continental, Pakistani and American food here, most of whom are time-tested. The selection is the same one would get at any desi continental restaurant, which works well if you are not looking for something too unconventional.
According to restaurant manager Tariq Shami, their steaks are the most popular item with regulars. “The American Beef Steak is most people’s all-time favourite,” he said. Served on a hot-plate, the sizzling chunk of beef arrived flanked by broiled vegetables on one side and mash potatoes on the other.
The restaurant has been around since the 1990s, but has not seen many additions to its menu. But, Mr Shami revealed, The Cave would be expanding their menu soon and a greater variety of Pakistani and Mughlai dishes could be expected soon. The restaurant, he said, will also restart its popular buffet, which had been discontinued for some time.
Amna Owais and Maleeha Khan, students who were polishing off a Fettuccini Alfredo during their lunch break, said they enjoyed coming to The Cave as it was cozy, affordable and offered a good range of various types of cuisines. “The fact that it is close to our hostel also helps,” they giggled.
Another young man, Zahoor Khan, told that he frequented the restaurant because, “Their food is light and tastes good, so you don’t feel bad even if you eat out here every day.”