Weekend grub: The humble flatbread gets a tasty upgrade at Naan Stop

Weekend grub: The humble flatbread gets a tasty upgrade at Naan Stop

From Nutella Naan to olive, cheese and achari varieties, this Islamabad-based eatery serves up naan as a complete meal
Updated 02 Jan, 2016

While Karachiites are spoilt for choice when it comes to stuffed parathas, it seems that naan is all the rage in Islamabad.

Inspired by Lahori venture Maro Naan by LUMS students, four young graduates from NUST University and Lahore School of Economics pooled in their ideas and money into Naan Stop, a Tandoori café/dhaba in the capital.

Where to go

Naan Stop is a small eatery squeezed into a 15x12 corner plot in the first block of F-10 Markaz.

You may have no need for landmarks, as Naan Stop's vibrant truck art theme is sure to catch your eye. Everything from the cafe's furthest wall to its cutlery and decor (brought in from Taxila) bears the rich colours and designs painted on the nation's trucks.

Naan Stop's vibrant truck art theme extends from its walls to its serving dishes – Photos by author
Naan Stop's vibrant truck art theme extends from its walls to its serving dishes – Photos by author

While their dine-in area can seat up to 20 customers at a time, Naan Stop takes full advantage of the ample parking space surrounding it, and easily accommodates a large number of foodies who prefer to be served in their cars.

When to go

Naan Stop opens for lunch at 1pm and closes shop at 2am.

Its busiest hours last during lunch time from 1pm-3pm and in the evenings from 6pm-9pm. “We cater to 50 to 60 customers per hour during peak time,” claims Ahmed, one of the four partners of this food venture.

At peak hours, the waiting period can even exceed 30 minutes. At all other times, customers should come prepared for at least a 20-minute waiting period.

“We have one tandoor (clay oven) which can bake 25 naans at a time. While customers wait, their naan's dough is filled, baked and served on their plate,” explains Ahmed.

After 10pm, the young owners are seen serving university students out on a study break or bachelors from the nearby room sharing apartments hungry for an affordable bite.

What to order

Ten different varieties of naan compete for your attention on Naan Stop's handwritten menu.

Chicken Cheese Naan, Beef Naan, Aalo Cheese Naan, Achari Naan and Besan Naan are some of the items on offer.

But what piques one's curiosity are the out-of-the-box options, like Dry Fruit Naan, Flavored Olive Naan and Nutella Naan.

All naans can be cut into 8-inch slices, except for the 6-inch Nutella Naan and Cheese Naan, which are stuffed with more filling, making it difficult to manage in the tandoor.

Ten varieties of naan compete for attention on Naan Stop's menu – Photo by author
Ten varieties of naan compete for attention on Naan Stop's menu – Photo by author

I ordered the Chicken Cheese Naan with Jalapeno as add-on. (The option of Add-On for a price tag of Rs50 and Make You Own Naan is also available at the eatery.)

The 8-inch naan, sprinkled with sesame seeds and oregano, was served on a white disposable plate, accompanied by chutney made with paste of green and black olive, chili flakes and homemade sauce.

It had arrived piping hot from the oven, and its first bite took seconds rather than minutes to melt in the mouth. Evenly spread chicken, thinly sliced jalapenos and oozing cheddar cheese makes every bite close to divine.

I polished off my plate in a jiffy, but a cup of doodh patti would have upped the value for money of the naan.

However, it’s the Nutella Naan that has become a customer favourite.

Nutella Naan is the hottest selling item at Naan Stop – Photo by author
Nutella Naan is the hottest selling item at Naan Stop – Photo by author

The eatery hit a jackpot on the fourth day of its opening when a union council ordered 400 Nutella Naans as takeaway, sending the young entrepreneurs were all over the moon.

“We were buying Nutella from wherever we could get our hands on it,” tells Ahmad, "And we went nuts."

Nutella Naan's popularity is understandable as it can be eaten as both a midnight snack and dessert.

The party of four keeps experimenting with different combinations like Mushroom Cheese Naan, Nutella Nuts, Cheese Cabbage Naan, so you never known what you might find on the Specials menu!

Damage on the Pocket

The average naan costs around Rs 200-Rs250 per head, along with a cup of dooth patti.

However, the priciest naan is the Dry Fruit Naan for Rs400. Almonds, pistachios, walnuts, cashews are crushed together to make a fine paste with cream, and once the paste is settled on the base of the dough, another round of dry fruit chucks are sprinkled before the naan is good to go in the clay fire.

Cheaper options include Besan Naan for Rs110, Aalo Naan for Rs 120 and Chicken Naan for Rs 180.


sudhir Jan 02, 2016 02:24pm
wow. Yummy. This alone is enough to get a tourist visa and travel to Pakistan in the new year.
Hassan Jan 02, 2016 02:32pm
250 for a nan for affordable bite, lot has changed in Islamabad since I left 10 year ago
Fahim Jan 02, 2016 02:47pm
Great innovation to pizzas!
Asif Jan 02, 2016 02:56pm
Good advertisement.
Adeel Saleem Jan 02, 2016 03:11pm
Mouth watering, can wonder when I am going to get my hand on these delicious.
ASAD Jan 02, 2016 04:15pm
Chicken cheese kulcha costs AED 6 in the ISL is expensive...but the public is rich!!
Ali Jan 02, 2016 06:29pm
Dhabas word is used in India, in Pak these are called 'hotels' which means something entirely else around the world. confused? Anyway, the naans in the photo by author look burned but menu is mouth watering. will give it a try.
mariam Jan 02, 2016 07:35pm
nutella naan/paratha seems a new trend in pakistan from now onwards..i remember there was a bakery who also put nutella paratha in karachi few month ago(but close due to some reason)..i had it there...but this looks more tempting.!
Indian Jan 02, 2016 08:04pm
Yum... Why dont you start something similar in Mumbai!!!
Muhammad Arshad Jan 02, 2016 09:04pm
Pricy but great innovation.
GA Jan 02, 2016 09:54pm
Cheema 'and' Chattha. 'And' written in Urdu. They couldn't have used the Urdu word 'aur'??
Syed Ganga Din Jan 02, 2016 10:13pm
Innovative name, Naan Stop. Forget the truck art theme.
mariam Jan 02, 2016 10:16pm
@ASAD in terms of enjoying good taste,we can spend handsome amount of money.:')
Figaro Jan 03, 2016 01:23am
Give me the aloo nan, chicken nan and besan nan (coated with Sesame seeds) with doodh patti any time. I'll finish off my lunch with Nutella nan. Oonh! (licking my fingers)
mumtaz shah Jan 03, 2016 02:19am
Avtar Jan 03, 2016 03:09am
Looks delicious! Seems to be a take on Pizza (even looks like Chicago style deep dish Pizza). There is a Parantha franchise in India serving more than 100 pranathas and why not Naan! Welcome to fast food!!
issak Jan 03, 2016 04:36am
This is one of the best ways to create employment and be productive on the long basis ...something that was lost way back is now coming back in full force ..people have to eat and will always be needed as creativity is king that makes competition healthy so as to come up with innovative recipes ..
GAWAL MANDI YA Jan 03, 2016 09:24am
Speaking of change,I remember back in the day when I would go to the tandoor by Sadiq's gali on Nisbat road Lahore,I remember getting 10 naans for one rupee lol,well it was back in the early 70's,the good ol days when you could buy kites,run all over Gawal Mandi and not worry about anything bad happening.Yes,a lot has changed since than.In todays world,spending 200 rupees on a naan is no big deal considering how expensive everything has become.
Parveen Sadiq Jan 03, 2016 11:20pm
Appetizing,i can taste every bite vicariously .I feel like coming to Pakistan,just to taste and smell the aroma of naans.Pakistanis have become very creative and created a fusion between Pizza and naan. The result is outstanding,and the price is like you are paying in dollars. Very well written description of food,which makes it more appetizing .Thanks.
rashid zaidi Jan 04, 2016 07:03am
@sudhir Please do that you are certainly welcome as are all Indians. Come and experience the hospitality of the average Pakistani. Eat really good food in Lahore and there is lot to see too.
Meanz Jan 04, 2016 02:36pm
What is wrong with people!!!... Slathering Nutella onto everything
Asim Sagheer Jan 07, 2016 12:05am
This is awesome.Specially the truck art. dont know why i have not been to this place. This Sunday Done:)