Islamabad - As November chill makes its presence felt in Islamabad, activities in the tinsel town have also turned cold. The only activity going on in this winter is the political activity in the shape of protest by religious leaders and by the House of Sharifs.

These are the only two parties keeping the temperature high in the town. The streets are empty but the courtrooms are full of activity. The offices are empty but the containers are full of activity.

Islooiites managed to kill the boredom by organising an eventful weekend at the Convention Centre by the name of Islamabad Eat.

“It’s being done on the likes of Karachi Eat which has been a huge success in the port city for the last two-three years,” explain Bilal who has been managing a tea stall by the name of Chai Junction.

His little tea shop is located in Bahria Town, Rawalpindi so he wanted to make a mark in the Islamabad food scene.

The organisers have charged Rs15000 per stall fee for three days and only yesterday I started at 5pm and my sale was Rs30,000, he informed joyfully.

There were more than 25-30 stalls in all and a mix of homemade kitchens, kiosks, five-star hotels and bakery showcase. There was something to eat for everyone. Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Dosas, BBQ, Halwa Puri, stall of homemade pasta, food from Hunza, Maki and Saag, smoothies, Italian, burgers so on and so forth.

We were seven in number and we shopped till we literally dropped. All seven of us brought different items to the table we managed to spot it.

The food was reasonably priced and nothing was over a price tag if Rs300 on most of the stalls we went to. The arrangement at the venue was superb. There were round tables, neat and clean table tops and jumping castle for kids, art exhibition by Nomad Gallery for art lovers. The stall drawing most of the visitors was “Noor’s Kitchen” selling freshly made Masala Dosas, Samosas and a few other novelties. The Dosa was crisp and the shell crunchy enough to make a noise. The fillings were chicken and vegetable with a variety of homemade sauces. Dosa is a South Indian dish and liked by people with an acquired taste. It’s not very filling but can be served as a full meal along with assortments. Samosas were middle-sized, cheese jalapeños and potatoes. Both were golden fried with a right amount of stuffing.

Chattha’s was the other stall where one could spot a beeline. Maki Roti and Saag with the Desi Makhan topping, it was lethal. Hot puris coming out of the wok and served with seekh kebabs and chicken boti right out of the skewers was irresistible for many. It was the sign but the aroma which was pulling the foodies to the stall.

In one year of its existence, the joint has made its presence felt. All credit goes to its owner Waqas Chatta who makes sure to serve all organic food at his joint in F-10 and keeps on trying and testing new desi items. Chatta’s is known for its desi ghee tandoori paratha and channa daal.

For dessert, we did want to try something new and went with the usual, jalebi and gajjar ka halwa. Jalabi was good, thin and crisp with a balanced sugar dip, halwa though could have been better if cooked well. It seems that be half done. Tea from Chai Junction came handy as it was the need of the hour. After consuming so much food, cardamom tea did the magic. Well-brewed and the right amount of evaporated milk, ginger did the trick to cut down the milk fat. Every sip of the tea brought soothing effect to the pallet.

There cannot be two opinions that Islamabad Eat has all the potential to grow every year and bring the food scene of the capital a must visit the event.

–The writer is a freelance contributor