Dhaba-style BBQ meets fine dining at Baradari, a seasonal restaurant that opens its doors on summer nights at the pool-side gardens of Islamabad's Serena Hotel.
The buffet at Baradari, though highly priced, is a BBQ haven, and also offers a spread of local dishes and desserts.
The restaurant opened for spring recently, and I decided to take my friends to dinner. It was a treat. Here's how:
What to order
The menu at Baradari is what we call "wishful thinking”.
The four of us split up at the buffet and reunited to discover that each had brought back something different.
There were pakoras and haleem in one plate, biryani, tawa machli and nargassi koftas in another. Potato cutlets, mint chutney and mutton nihari was on a third, and I was the only calorie-conscious among the lot who opted for BBQ. How's that for diversity? Baradari checked out on this first buffet essential.
As for taste, the biryani tasted a bit bland despite the right mix of veggies and garnishing of dry fruits. The nargassi koftas, however, were a winner! The dish got full marks for presentation: hard boiled eggs, coated with minced meat, were laid on a bed of tomato curry. And it tasted like a grandmother's classic recipe on the very first bite. Piping hot tandoori roti and melt-in-the-mouth kofta was an experience that makes Baradari worth the second trip.
“Whatever you eat here, is our own recipe, which you will not find in any other restaurant, even in Serena,” claims head chef Rehmat Karim Hunzai.
We were also served two fresh cheese naans on our table as appetizers. The naans were thinner than the usual varieties, and the marriage between cheddar and mozzarella with a light sprinkling of coriander was a success.
After the first course, a cascade of meat - skewers carrying fish tikka, seekh kebab and chicken boti - soon descended on our table. It was the mutton seekh kebab that's worth recommending to others. The kebabs were tender and spiced just right. It had us going for seconds.
I feel it's hard to get fish tikka wrong, unless it's marinated for too long, which was not the case here. There was nothing special about the chicken boti.
Although the sound of 'kat-a-kat' and aroma of chicken sajji tempted us to eat some more, we thought it best to now round off our meal with dessert. Kheer in clay pots, kulfa falooda in rabari syrup, mithai made from figs and pumpkin halwa were just some of the options.
“Fig mithai and kulfa are our two most popular desserts. It takes a lot of time and effort to cook these desserts,” Rehmat told us as we helped ourselves.
Damage on the pocket
The buffet at Baradari comes highly priced at Rs 2350+tax.
Baradari is open from 7pm to 11pm. The restaurant is closed on rainy days.