ISLAMABAD: A tiny hideaway in F-7 Markaz on Bhittai Road, The Little Eatery is perfect for a break between errands or a a quiet moment to yourself.
With just four tables inside and perhaps just as many in the outdoor seating, the space, or lack thereof, may put off a lot of diners. One certainly cannot have heart-to-hearts while dining if any of the other tables are occupied.
However, the size of the restaurant and the way it is decorated also make it a cosy respite and a good place to take a break, write or read a book.
“I designed the place myself and I wanted it to be conformable and cosy because I wanted this to be a place that families can enjoy,” said the owner of the restaurant, Asad Niazi.
Also compensating for the size are the huge windows and greenery, with one wall of the restaurant made of glass, supported by sea-green window frames.
The menu at this Little Eatery is just as limited and focuses more on drinks, including various milkshakes, mochas, hot chocolates, espressos and various teas and mocktails. The restaurant is also home to one of the best strawberry lemonades in Islamabad. Made with concentrate, the strawberry lemonade comes perfectly chilled and is just the right blend of tangy and sweet.
Available until noon, the breakfast section on the menu is somewhat unconventional and includes low-fat yogurts served with fresh seasonal fruits, plain and banana chocolate waffles, French toast, Nutella toast – both served with half a caramelised banana, pancakes, and Eggs Benedict, which are two poached eggs served on an English muffin and topped with turkey bacon.
Though served almost everywhere in the city, the Greek salad is a must try, with generous pieces of grilled chicken tossed in with seasonal greens and cubes of cheese.
Only one kind of pasta, the Fettuccine Alfredo, is served at The Little Eatery. The serving size is surprisingly small, though the sauce is delicate and the flavours well balanced. Strips of grilled chicken sit on top the creamy pasta mixed with mushrooms and raisins and is sprinkled with grated cheese.
Breaking away from the tradition of buffet style high teas, The Little Eatery brings a desi version of English afternoon teas to Islamabad. Served on a three tier afternoon tea tray, the service for Rs945 serves two and includes two each of crispy chicken strips, wings, mini sandwiches, mini cheesy pizzas and chicken skewers as well as four desserts and two cups of tea. A welcome change from the large mugs that seem to be trending in most eateries across the city, the Little Eatery serves tea is dainty, patterned china cups and saucers, which makes the whole afternoon tea business seem very formal and very English.
However, most of the dishes at the outlet are predominantly chicken-based and the restaurant does not offer a choice for another meat, which one can miss, especially when ordering a steak, for example, or a pizza. When as ked about why they don’t serve many other meats, Mr Niazi said: “Our kitchen is very small and it will be difficult to handle other meats at the moment. We are looking to relocate to a bigger space, which will also mean more space for customers.”
All in all, the restaurant makes for a good dining experience and despite the limited menu, offers something for any time of day. Service is quick, with most dishes ready within 15 to 20 minutes and the staff are friendly and helpful. Except for the Fettuccine Alfredo, which makes up for the small serving in taste, the restaurant offers good value for money, with prices ranging from about Rs200 for fruit teas to about Rs800 for a steak.
Originally published in Dawn, August 29th, 2016