ISLAMABAD - This success of this year’s Islamabad Eat festival can be gauged by the increase in the number of food stalls. “We had 55 stalls last year during the festival’s debut in the city and this year we have 70 kiosks” informed Ms Cyra, one of the organizers of the event.

Islamabad Eat being held at the Islamabad Convention centre lawns is a family event where entry tickets priced at Rs250 per person can be purchased by a female member of the family only. This good omen has contributed in a making Islamabad Eat a truly family occasion rather instead of an event  crowded with stags. 

Most of the stalls this year made their debut and only a few repeated from last year. This rise in “out of home” outlets which came to Islamabad Eat to show case their products is a testament to the success of the event. 

Having said that, one could find old goldy stalls with a beeline and the new ones giving a deserated look. Shakespeare Lounge , Chattas , Bauz,  Tuscany, which are  established  and well- known  in their individual capacity, managed to pull the islooties  for  their usual picks whereas Noor’ s Kicthen famous for its Doosas, Pop Nosh  for its , Choco  Loco  , kettle corn and  salted caramel  flavours were all time hit. 

Pasta , chicken bites  and sandwiches from Shakespeare Lounge were a rage. Priced between Rs200 to Rs299 they were worth all the money.  Moving on to Chattas,  the piping hot Puri’s swimming in oil filled wok, tantalizing aroma of bbq chicken chunks, and saag  with makai roti  was  sinfull  enough for the  foodies who settled down across the stall. 

Zams Kitchen, Sugar Plum cupcakes, Sinfully Sweet, Batter Up  won on the sweet tooth.  CrazEat selling a pot puri in the likes of chicken corn soup, Beef soft tacos, khatti daal chawal looked hungry for customers. However it won’t be fair to blame the customers when the menu on display is offering a odd combination of everything under the sun thus missing on their flagship dish or hot seller. 

One thing which the organizers failed to learn from last year’s experience was the lack of seating space. If Islamabad Eat is a family affair then it would have been wise to provide ample amount of seating to the families as well.

Many families were seen searching for a table to put their food and eat like a civilized family but failed in their endeavour. Visitors were grabbing chairs from empty tables, leaving others with an only option of a buffet style meal or challenging them to a game of musical chairs though without a music.  It was indeed regretful to see some senior citizens especially children tired of walking around in search of a table or a chair. Islamabad Eat is surely a success as the crisp winter afternoons provide an excellent opportunity to the denizens of Islamabad to consume vitamin D while enjoying a delicious variety of meals.

–The writer is a freelance contributor.