It is a general perception that a business investment in a school or restaurant is a guaranteed profitable venture. Those who have been successful in these endeavors can vouch for this statement!  The owner of a newly opened eatery HashTag at Bahria Town, Rawalpindi in the vicinity of Arena Cinema is one such example. With absolutely no experience in the culinary industry, Ehtisham Chaudhry, the successful owner of a pharmaceutical store, recently launched HashTag.

“I am offering Halal Ostrich meat at my restaurant; something no one has offered to date in the twin cities”, says Ehtisham.  With steak and burgers as a specialty, HashTag accommodates more than 60 guests in an open air patio adjacent to Arena theaters. The wooden tables and chairs, gazebos, Turkish lanterns and continental menu offer a mix of everything. The road side restaurant offers a panoramic view making for a pleasing ambience. Located in a cul de sec, the guests can enjoy fresh air, warmth of sunshine and shining stars on a clear night sky. The bristling shopping activity around the eatery is an additional incentive for the foodies.  Apart from Ostrich steaks and burgers, Ehtisham and his chef have experimented infusing “Pizza” and calling the dish Chizza.  The taste of Chizza is the polar opposite of a traditional pizza but looks exactly the same.  The flour dough is substituted by a chicken meat base whereas the rest of the recipe remains the same. “We take boneless chicken and hammer it into fine thick 8 inch flat bread like shape. Once it’s simmered and half done in a pizza pan, the rest of the topping as per the guest’s choice go on the top”, informs the chef. With a one-person serving, the dish, although not very presentable, carried a taste of its own. The chicken base was well marinated and simmering had done the trick.  It was not as soft as flour dough but the thought of eating meat instead of dough was itself very healthy and appeasing.

After having chicken Buffalo wings for appetizers, the anticipation for the Ostrich steak and burger increased. Although the choice of appetizers was limited, baked wings received highest number of votes.  The six wings tasted slightly bland but were baked to perfection. The dip sauce too was tangy and silky while the garlic bread, which was on the house, tasted usual.  The ostrich steak arrived with a bang.  A square shaped white platter, carrying two portions of ostrich meat, 100 grams each laying comfortably on a bed of pasta and topped with melted cheese, black olives and mushrooms gave the ostrich a place in the executive category of the meat family.  Green beans, broccoli, peas and cucumbers, all stir fried sitting next to thinly cut French  fries  made the dish our most favourite . Ostrich meat carried more of an ebony color then a normal beef steak. The meat was very tender and well marinated but still a bit chewy.

“Do not confuse it with beef or mutton. The ostrich meat tastes very different and stands separately when presented with either of the two”, claimed the chef.  The steak however was indeed a dish to be ordered on our next visit too. The ostrich burger was quite filling and loaded with assortments. Much to my surprise, it tasted the same as meat steak.  The bun and the marinade of different seasoning and sauces made it different in taste but not texture. The steaks and burgers are classified into three categories based on the spice level.

HashTag offers a limited menu. But there are plans to extend it once the eatery gains popularity among the residents of the twin cities. The prices of the items are nominal thus making the experience of eating here worth every penny.

–The writer is a freelance contributor.