There are few places in Islamabad that offer all-day breakfast, and that too with a decent variety of breakfast items.
Opened with exactly that vision, Baramda in F-11 Markaz is a hideaway perfect for a lazy weekend morning.
The restaurant itself is tiny, with the picture window along the front wall giving the illusion of being a bit more spacious.
A long wooden bench runs along two of the walls and fake creepers climbing up the walls gives the interior a more relaxed vibe.
A bar has been established at the right of the room, with the menu emblazoned on a board on top, the writing on which is too small to read from afar.
The seating in the corridor outside is more interesting, with crater like stools serving as seating at low tables, a trellis lined with fake creepers and fairy lights adding a touch of festivity, and lending the air of being seated in a small, private garden.
Though by no means extensive, the all-day breakfast menu pulls in diners on weekends, with the omelettes being one of the fluffiest in Islamabad.
By far the best omelette is the cheese, jalapeno and sausage omelette. Served with a side of baked beans and toast, the omelette is well done and fluffy, every bite laced with smooth, melted cheese.
The Mexican crepe, which comes sprinkled with olives and jalapenos, is a spicier option for starting the day.
Desi breakfast items, including Pakistani omelette, aloo paratha, aloo cheese paratha, qeema paratha and various kinds of eggs are served with sides of mint sauce, achar, maple syrup, honey or Nutella.
The pancakes, on the other hand, are a risk because of the inconsistent quality.
At times, they turn out soggy and tough, with the syrup placed awkwardly on top of the sweaty stack accompanied by preserved blueberries or strawberries.
Diners can while away the time they have to wait for their order playing various board games stocked at the restaurant, which makes it a lively place to be at, with customers laughing and shouting over one another to be heard.
The music, however, is always playing too loud for such a small space, and the restaurant’s staff is insistent on keeping it that way even when asked to turn it down a bit.
For the main course, the restaurant serves a few steaks, pastas, soups, salads and variations of the beef chilli dry, though the dry part is taken far too seriously and the portion size is far too small.
The steaks are a better option and are more standard.
However, the chef’s platter offers more variety and also makes more economical sense.
Served for Rs750, the chef’s platter includes a serving of hot and sour soup for starters, either chicken or beef chilli dry, fettuccine alfredo or Mediterranean fish and side options of vegetable fried rice or seasonal veggies followed by a scrumptious hot chocolate brownie.
Any main dish will go well with the mint margarita, which Baramda seems to have perfected.
The portion size is just right, there is just the right amount of crushed ice and is sprinkled with just the right amount of salt.
Though by no means innovative, the Nutella crepes and Nutella French toast a must try.
Unlike the pancakes, the quality of the crepes is consistent, with the chef managing to keep the crepe from not getting soggy, even though it is filled with and spread with hot Nutella.
The Nutella French toast is a stack of three slices of French toast, completely covered with melted Nutella, giving the dessert a double dose of sugar.
Every Sunday, Baramda also serves a different desi dish including karhais and daal chawal.
Originally published in Dawn, October 10th, 2016